The Coming Out Chronicles #1: Gareth Orr

If, like me, you grew up in the depths of the British countryside, you probably had an idyllic childhood, but one lacking in any sort of diversity. Curtains would definitely twitch if someone new arrived on our street who didn’t look like the rest of us.

So that’s the backdrop to my coming out story; but happily, I met my best friend at the age of 6, and through a shared love of disco but a shared hatred of PE lessons, it became apparent that we were both gay. It was incredibly reassuring to grow up with someone by my side who was going through the same doubts and missteps as me.

There was one fundamental difference between us though; after returning home from university in his fresher’s year, he chose to come out to his parents. I on the other hand chose not to, avoiding the inevitable by inventing fictitious girlfriends in London. And so a few months later, after too much wine was drunk, his parents did the job for me, outing me in no uncertain terms.

It all worked out fine in the end and my parents always showered me in unconditional love, but on reflection, I wish I’d claimed that moment for myself and done it my way.

Coming Out Resources

It looks a bit dated now, but the film My Beautiful Laundrette is a brilliantly funny depiction of 80s Britain, where ethnicity and sexuality collide to comedic but heart-breaking effect.


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Gareth Orr

Head of OMD Create

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