I didn’t glide out the closet flanked by unicorns with rainbow following behind


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I dodged a bullet slightly by simply announcing I had a girlfriend.

But once those enlightening ten months were over they were swiftly swept aside as “a phase.” But would you believe it, history repeated itself and at the end of my first term at Cambridge I returned home to announce I had a girlfriend – again.

Guide me my unicorn friend.


Up until a few weeks ago all had been going smoothly:

  1. Mam: I told her as she watched Last Tango in Halifax to get her acclimatised. I also stressed the new girlfriend had very little English blood in her and a fair bit of Welsh. This was enough.
  2. Dad: Awkward, monosyllabic, but successful and concluded with a heartfelt “I love you whoever you love.”
  3. “Best” Friend: Peculiarly homophobic so I took pepper spray with me but no shots were fired: she was surprisingly overjoyed. The outing was shortly followed by a trip to Waterstones to explain the familial literary connections.

Embracing life outside the closet.


I had glided over all of these hurdles until I discovered my Dad had failed to tell my little brother “about me.” He was and still is under the impression that [insert girlfriend’s name here] is my “bestest friend in the whole wide world.” I approached the parents quizzically.

Yours truly – “When are you going to tell [little brother] that [girlfriend] isn’t my best friend but my girlfriend.”

Dad – “Not yet! He’s too young to know about that sort of stuff.”

YT – “That sort of stuff? Dad, it’s not illegal any more, we’re everywhere: media, sport, politics!”

D – “You’re best friends for now and it can stay that way.”

YT – “Well, you narrow minded…”

I wish this had been my response. Instead I avoided the conflict with a “well I’ll tell him soon enough” and Dad returned the sentiment with “I’ll talk to his Mother.”

I struggled for a few days in bemusement. Up until this point I had thought my relationship with the parents was good, but now I felt we were worlds apart. I tried to empathise with my Dad and the possible thoughts he was having. My brother goes to a ‘Free School’ in a nearby village with about seven children in each class, the parents are nearly always encased in Land Rovers and when they’re not they are living in the pockets of the other parents. This might be a world far from my own, but it is not a world so cut off from twenty-first century England that rioting and a serious PTA (Parent Teacher Association) intervention would be needed in the case of queer activity in the area.

Les Poofs and moi. (Credit Lichfield District Council)


I wanted to write a musical of my struggle and parade it through the village accompanied by the Four Poofs on a Piano of The Jonathan Ross Show fame. Instead I opted to write this column and publish it back in the safety of Cambridge surrounded by fellow young people with fluid sexualities.

But my quest for [insert little brother’s name] to know the truth without me having to actually tell him myself does not stop here. Oh no, to be sure that the message made it back home I turned to an equally cowardly option. As I type, a batch of LGBT+ friendly children’s books are winging their way to my as yet naive little brother. Soon he will be enlightened and racing through the delights of ‘Mommy, Mama and MEand ‘Heather Has Two Mommies’. I just hope they don’t assume I’m pregnant…