Shane's story

Shane's story – 17 Years old updated at 22 years old.
Living as a homosexual person in Somerset in my teens could at times be hard and sometimes it was easier to put a façade up and pretend that thing were alright when it fact inside I was terribly upset and alone. I am an openly gay person now however when I was younger going out drinking used to be very daunting not knowing whether there were going to be homophobic people out there, perhaps this was because of the names and negativity I heard towards homosexuals whilst growing up. I can honestly say I have been in incidents where people have started on me because of my sexuality, but at the time I had the attitude of just letting it go because I was the minority within society, however since growing up it has opened my eyes that there is actually nothing wrong with being gay and over the last 5 years I have seen a real change in society towards acceptance.
Coming out was initially hard for me as it would be for any young person however my family were supportive in the sense they didn’t judged me for who I am and my friends were also fantastic at being there for me, to be honest I made lots more friends once I came out because I could be the real me. I found that once you told one person they kind of helped to tell everyone (in a good way), it’s weird how some people in my life have never actually formally been told of my sexuality but they know I am gay and they have never had a problem with it.
My school didn't help in any sense or form, but perhaps attending a catholic school didn’t particularly help. Whilst at school I did hear a few teachers use homophobic terminology so it wasn't something I would talk about openly to teachers and I had also been discriminated from some activities including physical education. Teachers need to understand that students sexuality becomes testing and clearer at KS3/KS4 and all students should be given advice even if they don't want it, a few years down the line that information could help. I never actually had proper sex education lessons at my school; we probably had roughly 2 lessons in the full 5 years of attendance. I found forums and support networks like 2BU to learn more about my sexuality and sex however I believe it is the schools duty to provide this information with the amount of teenage pregnancies and with the increase in sexually transmitted infections. The local authority really needs to tackle these issues.
Being homosexual has not made my life any different to that of a heterosexual person and I wouldn't change, as I am no different to anyone else, this is me! The only thing that I do find frustrating is when I'm referred to as 'Gay Shane'. I really do hate stereotyping, there just no need for it. The support from 2BU led to me changing my aspirations in life. I initially was money mad but I moved about 2 years ago to Sheffield to attend University to study Youth and Community Work and now support lots of children and young people to develop holistically from adolescents to adulthood. Sheffield is a very diverse city and I have been able to be myself and have so far had no problems. I have spent long periods in London and Manchester and if you want the scene and party wild it’s fantastic, however I have been fortunate to find someone who loves me as equally as I love them and I want to settle down and foster or perhaps adopt and have a successful career in working with children and young people. Life is different being a homosexual male, having a family is a lot harder than it is for a homosexual female couple but what’s great is that you can choose when the time is right for you to have a family or not as the case may be.
My advice to anyone that is reading this and they are not out, 2BU has been so helpful not just me but to everyone that has accessed it’s service’s, there are many people that are not out and this group helps them understand their sexuality further. The group is completely confidential and everyone who joins has to promise to not ‘out’ existing or new members. You are going to be in safe hands. I have also had the pleasure to meet people that I perhaps would have never spoken to before. Remember to be safe online and not let people take advantage of you. Be who you really want to be. Be yourself! The world is a big place.

Shane's story

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