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I’m Coming Out

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Article by: Stacy McWilliams

I’m coming out…

As an older fan of Harry, Louis, and all of the One Direction boys, I thought my life was settled. I was comfortable and confident in who I was, who I loved, and who I was attracted to, but a while after joining the fandom world I started to open myself up to questions that I’d never allowed before. 

Was I bisexual? Was my always finding girls attractive deeper than just thinking they were pretty? How do I accept that I might be anything other than straight when that’s all I’ve identified as in my entire adult life? 

To explain this fully I need to explain that I am not, nor have I ever been, homophobic, biphobic or any other way that would cause myself to think that I had internalized homophobia. I’ve been supportive and accepting of my queer friends, but I’d never considered myself to be anything other than straight and when I did, I began to panic internally, hearing a loud voice in my head telling me I wasn’t bisexual, that I was wrong. 

When I was younger (in my late teens and early 20’s) I kissed a lot of my friends who were girls and there was one girl in particular I liked kissing most of all. I didn’t recognise my attraction to her as anything more than friendship, but looking back I think I was more attracted to her than I ever willingly admitted to anyone. 

Now I had some life experience, I was able to  look back and see that I was suppressing my sexuality by not acknowledging it, and it impacted on my self worth, my self confidence, and my self love. If I didn’t accept who I was, how could I expect others to?

I fell in love with a wonderful man who is my world. I adore him and his support has been incredible, especially over the last year as I’ve grappled with accepting my sexuality. He hasn’t once looked at me differently and it’s helped me come to terms with being queer immensely. He has helped me to accept the parts of myself that I never had before and while he acknowledges my sexuality, he doesn’t hold it against me that I didn’t tell him before or expect me to run off with another girl. We are happier and more in love than ever and since I’m happier it’s definitely had an impact on my relationship for the better.

I’ve also been exceptionally lucky in that I’ve had incredible support from family and friends, both in person and online. Coming out wasn’t easy and I struggled a lot with accepting it, but my family and friends were wonderful and so supportive, so what was there to fear? 

I asked myself that question constantly and, while I pushed through my fear of not being loved or accepted, I’ve also found that I don’t care about those who can’t accept me as queer or those who belittle my queerness as something that is a result of my experiences as a youth. (Yes this is true.)

On my journey to acceptance we have to circle back to my joining the Larry fandom in 2021.  I was a casual One Direction fan and loosely followed Harry and Niall post-One Direction, until I was scrolling on Tiktok two years ago and saw a video of Harry and Louis touching gently. This video threw me and I immediately called my younger sister and asked about Harry and Louis. She assured me that it was a well known not-so-secret that they were a couple, so off I went to Youtube.

What I found blew my mind and I consumed every single video I could find. I watched video after video, read Tumblr post after post, and realized that the media had been playing the GP for fools and hiding this very real love because of the labels. 

It took a while but, after knowing about this and following Harry and Louis and then by extension all of the other One Direction boys, I found bravery inside myself. I realised that if these boys can be so brave and show their love for each other in a world that punished them for it with false narratives and false relationships then I could be brave and accept my own very real queerness. 

I found a community online in others who, like me, hadn’t accepted or realized that they were queer until their late 30’s or early 40’s. I’ve since spoken to many of them for their coming out stories and a lot of the fans I’ve spoken to have come to terms with their sexualities as a result of falling in love with Harry and Louis love. 

The fans told me and I agree fully that their love gives us bravery, courage, and support because it gives us a place to belong without judgment to be completely free to be who we are. The boys have given us a safe space and I hope we give at least some of that back to them. 

Like Harry said, we listen, we accept and we know. We all love each other and trying to explain to others what it feels like to have these incredible fans not only supporting our boys, but supporting each other is something that is incredible and we are so so lucky to be part of this amazing fandom. 

Many fans don’t have this kind of safe space that we have and shouldn’t take it for granted, but with my first Harry concert coming up I’m so proud to be out and I hope that my coming out story helps others feel comfortable to share theirs too. 

So to paraphrase Harry, thank you for reading, thank you for listening and thank you for accepting.

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