I’m sure if you talk to most LGBTQ people, they will say that coming out is an ongoing process. We come out to our friends, our family and our co-workers. Not necessary in that order, sometimes over the course of several years or maybe all at once. Having come out in my late teens and early 20’s, I didn’t realize I would have to face that fear of rejection again in my early 50’s and it would be to a bunch of 5th graders.
Liverpool England 1996. Coming out for me was a joyous experience. I’m not talking about coming out to family, that was a shared open wound that would be continually picked at, in fact a few months after coming out I was forced to leave them behind and begin a new life without them.
I’m sitting here reflecting on the last ten years as an adult. As a teenager, I grew up watching Sailor Moon and DragonBall Z. I played a lot of videogames as a kid and I didn’t like physical games/sport. But I was also the kid that sat alone for lunch. I was the kid that no one would talk to.
I knew at a very young age that I was not like other boys my age. I never liked the typical “boys toys, ” and I would always rather play with dolls and other toys typically associated with girls. Then when I was 12 years old, I told the ﬁrst person I knew at a very young age that I was not like other boys and when I was 12 years old I told the ﬁrst person that I was gay, and it was a huge relief.
I knew it. Or at least, I believed it could definitely be a possibility.
One day, as I was walking down the street, I randomly entered this little bookstore. It was colorful and charming, and it didn’t just have an awesome book selection but also paintings, photographs and pottery from local independent artists. There weren’t many places quite like that where I used to live back then. I felt tempted to buy so many things, but it was the end of the month, I had almost no money and had already impulsively bought a bunch of books on Amazon the week before.
This piece was written by Danny Watts, who is a recently-retired racing driver. He has a long and illustrious career, including winning the legendary Le Mans 24 Hour endurance race.
There isn’t any one moment that stands out in my mind as the moment I realised I would need to live in the closet if I wanted my motorsport career to go anywhere; it was just a general feeling I got. There were enough gay jokes and homophobic slurs to go around, and I felt like if I lifted my head out of the trenches, I’d be immediately annihilated.
My mother was 37 when she fell in love with a woman, the same age I am now. It was 1974, I was 14, and the woman my mother fell in love with was the principal of my brothers’ and sisters’ new grade school, a nun who also happened to be my mother’s boss.