ZIGZAG.MY (ONGOING!)COMING OUT STORY. BY STEVEN BENSON

First thought; this is corny. Yet, it is the

All too

True

Self-

Narrative Of
Gay

People………………………………………………………

{self-reportage}.

Stage 1

In 1981, at university in Aberystwyth, I endeavoured to come out and half made it:furtive visits to the gay bar(Tuesday nights only), beset, concomitantly, with feelings of love and lust for a Catholic, possibly gay(well, there was ONE sign he gave me!)man, with whom I had a weird, intense friendship. The greatest strides were made by my friend, J, loaning and recommending gay male content novels, such as “The City and the Pillar”(Vidal) and “Maurice”(Forster); so I, partly, came out and reached SOME kind of self-understanding of this absolutely crucial part of my psychological and emotional make-up through literature: always the academic sublimist! Yet, it helped.

Stage 2

I returned to my birth town , Liverpool, and back into that psycho-socially built closet, I withdrew: J and my gay flatmate had gone and there was no context; or so I thought.

Stage 3

I worked in Swansea and I am amused to own-from the vantage of NOW- that I took the job primarily because I fancied one of the interviewers: I since met him on a Gay Mens’ Holiday! However, apart from distant yearnings for him, wholly unfilled, I remained in that wardrobe. I left the job; it merits a short story/reportage in itself: horrendous but had its humorous moments.

Stage 4

Back to Liverpool again(December 1983); about 9 more months in the wilderness. Then -and it all gets a bit hazy here- I made friends with a gay male couple, one of whom became a substitute father for me ; or-I am lost in the memory mists-{and unoriginal imagery!}- I rang the Samaritans and they gave me the number of Liverpool Friend, an lesbian and gay{the nomenclature of the time}support/counselling group; I cannot remember which first. But more pieces of the jigsaw began to fit together, and I zagged back towards psychological wholeness and personhood. They counselled me-in a phone box  near Grassendale Park. I turned up at the erstwhile “Link” lesbian and gay centre (R.I.P), up 3/4 flights of stairs, breathless with anxiety; and for the first few weeks had to see a “Friend” worker before I could even join the group; though I, sooner or later, did and made some friends.

Stage 5

It went smoothly and the disjointed zigzag motion mainly ended, as I developed a network of gay friends, got my own first(bizarre) “studio” flat-with the bed on a sort of plinth over the kitchen!-met a stunningly beautiful Irish man, with whom I had sex once (and wanted to be his boyfriend but he preferred others; heartbreak);went to Sadie’s, Jodie’s, the Masquarade, McMillans, all either above or below ground level, with my gang of new brothers/gay friends.

Stage 6

I learnt from my beautiful, now seven years dead, mum, that if you help yourself first, it is then good to help others : I became, briefly, an l and g activist(around the pernicious clause 28) https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2015/09/05/section-28-the-fight-against-it-in-merseyside-reportagelgbt-archiveunwritten-histories-by-steven-benson/

(1988 now); I got sick from exhaustion, an illness I still experience; and then, after a long gap, remaining throughout(mainly)comfortable with my sexual orientation and supported and supporting many close friends,I

Stage 7(ongoing!)

Set up three lgbt groups (with the help of two, recenter friends); one aim being to give a social context, like I had had myself, to the coming out process for SOME lgbt people; and a nonscene alternative social milieu for others.

This is a simplification of a long, winding, at times tortuous process.

Recommended reading on coming out:
Donald Clark: “Loving Someone Gay” {including yourself}

Riggle/Rostosky:”A Positive View of LGBTQ:Embracing identity and Cultivating Well-Being”{more recent}

{Both the above deal, magnificently and helpfully, with internalised homophobia and family/friend support/issues}

and a wonderful novel{a few copies extant on Amazon}, part of the classic Gay Mens Press imprint-now defunct-“That Other Realm of Freedom” by Barry Nonweiler, very of its time( the period I came out in, the early/mid 80s, and quite tortured, but ending in positivity).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About decayetude

ENTHUSIASMS: CLASSICAL MUSIC, ESPECIALLY OBSCURE ROMANTIC COMPOSERS; BACH/HANDEL LITERATURE, ESPECIALLY THOUGHTFUL, WELL-WRITTEN(STYLISTICALLY)NOVELS W G SEBALD WALTER BENJAMIN THEODOR ADORNO(JUST BEGINNING!) AESTHETIC PHILOSOPHY GAY MEN'S WRITING;QUEER THEORY STIMULATING DISCUSSIONS(EMOTIONALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY) GOOD RICH THICK ESPRESSO MICHAEL PONTI SPRITUALITY/LIFE'S "AURA"(BENJAMIN), WHATEVER TRANSCENDENTAL THING YOU WANT TO CALL THIS MEMORY-the elusiveness thereof. LOST TIME AND AN ATTEMPT AT ITS REDEMPTION(NON THEISTICALLY/RELIGIOUSLY)
This entry was posted in "Pride", a la recherche Benjamin gay queer archive assembalge, alterity, ecriture cuir, gay, gay affirmative writing, gay literature, life mirrors art, other, Re-envisionning, Section 28 protest traces memory reportage, Self-actualisation, Uncategorized, Utopia, wordcount, working outside hegemonies. Bookmark the permalink.

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