Owen's Story I'm Coming Out


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Owen's Story

Documentary in which 19-year-old Owen films himself coming out as bisexual to his parents after struggling throughout his teenage years with his sexuality.


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Transcript


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This programme contains some strong language.

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I'm Owen, I'm 19, I'm bisexual,

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and I've decided to come out to my parents.

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But I'm worrying about it.

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I want to just be happy.

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And I want to love who I love,

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whether that's a guy or girl.

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OK.

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I love you.

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-VOICE ON PHONE:

-I love you, too.

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I am bisexual.

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Now I can be who I want to be,

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which is myself.

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Coming out's going to be tough

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because people just don't seem to get bisexuality.

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-CHRISTOPHER BIGGINS ON TV:

-I think the worst type, though,

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is, I'm afraid to say, the bisexuals.

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People think, because you're bisexual, you're really slutty.

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"You must get so much more action."

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Like, no! Just because I like both doesn't mean I like everyone.

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It's ridiculous.

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I know I'm into both guys and girls, but because of all of this hate,

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it's taken me a while to accept myself.

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I'm not like everybody else.

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Why am I not like everybody else?

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You just feel, like, fractured.

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You don't really know who you are any more.

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I'm tired of hiding it, so I'm going to come out to my parents,

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and I'm going to film it.

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But, because they're not together, I'll have to do it twice.

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It's not going to be easy.

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I'm not going to do it.

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I'm not going to do it. Just...today's not the day.

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So, here goes.

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How will they react?

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Is this recording? Let me just check.

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Right. Here you go.

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Are they black enough?

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This is the question.

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Are they dark enough?

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Do they reflect the inner workings of my soul?

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Since I was, like, so much shorter than everyone else,

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and I wasn't really tall or muscular or anything...

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Oh, it's quite long.

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..I got myself into kind of a headspace where I just thought

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I wasn't really very masculine and I felt quite weak and quite, like,

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kind of vulnerable and stuff.

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I'd feel like people were looking at me a lot, even if they weren't.

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So, I had lots of weird and insecure thoughts like that for a while.

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No. That would drown me.

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I mean, some insecurities still affect me now,

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but I just kind of learned to deal with it a bit more now,

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rather than just kind of worry about it all the time.

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I do like it. I just wish they did smaller sizes for me.

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When I was about 15, 16,

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that's when I first started to kind of question my sexuality.

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Because a lot of people at school,

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they'd talk about, like, sex and people they liked and stuff,

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and I wasn't really comfortable doing that at all,

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which made me think, "Why am I not comfortable talking about this kind

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"of stuff with people?"

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But I used to play this game, where if I was in assembly and stuff

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and people were walking in, I used to think, "Do I fancy them?

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"Do I like them? What about them do I like?"

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And I'd do it with both, like, guys and girls as well.

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But that's when I started to realise, like,

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oh, yeah, I definitely like both, but, at that time,

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I wasn't really ready to confront that or admit that.

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I think you have to be in a quite stable and comfortable place

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with yourself first about wanting to come out.

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So, for a long time, I didn't really accept it about myself,

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but then I realised that nothing's going to change

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if you don't make an effort to change it.

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I've come to the realisation now that I know, absolutely,

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that I am bisexual.

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It's not something for me to question any more,

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because only I know me.

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I'm a student in my first year studying psychology.

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I've put a few pictures up.

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You can have a look if you want.

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Oh, it's so cringey.

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I've joined Tindr and I've made it clear on my profile that I'm bi.

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You can set your preference for, like, men and women, or just men,

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or just women or whatever.

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I really want to date someone or be with somebody who is absolutely

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fine with who I'm attracted to.

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I don't want to, like, mislead anyone and I didn't want to

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get matched with somebody who would be, "Oh, you're bi."

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So, I didn't want to get matched with somebody

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who wasn't accepting of it.

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You're my only gay best friend.

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I'm not even gay, mate.

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All right, you're the only person who's not straight.

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-I'm just your non-straight best friend.

-Exactly.

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Look at this. Just look. Just...

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Like, that's been there a week!

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That's not edible any more.

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-MAN ON RADIO:

-You get people saying things like,

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"Have you ever met a bisexual?"

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I mean, is anyone actually 50-50?

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-WOMAN ON RADIO:

-Decide. Get off the fence. You're greedy.

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Blah, blah, blah... There's all these assumptions about people

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who are attracted to more than one gender.

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We have to teach people not just that you can be straight

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or you can be gay, but there's so many different ways that you can be.

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-VOICE ON TV:

-If you're gay, you know it.

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I think the worst type, though,

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is, I'm afraid to say, the bisexuals.

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-That upsets me.

-Yeah.

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-You have to pick a team.

-Yeah.

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What it is, is people not wanting to admit they're gay.

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Please pick a team.

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You can pick any one you want.

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I totally agree.

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His logic is just baffling.

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He doesn't know how I feel.

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And he doesn't know what I experience,

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so how can he say that all bisexuals just need to pick a side

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because they're really just secretly gay?

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It makes no sense.

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Online, you can start to see a lot of hatred.

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I saw more and more and more of it and I was in this kind of emotional,

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emotionally vulnerable place.

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"If you come out of nowhere and all of a sudden you're saying,

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"'Oh, I'm bisexual, take it or leave it,'

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"then you deserve a slap in the face."

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Oh, "No such thing as bi. They're just horny."

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They're calling it an epidemic, that we're coming out as bisexual.

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So, making us sound like a disease, so thank you for that.

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To see this crap, basically, can be quite damaging to somebody

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who's so vulnerable and still kind of figuring themselves out,

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and they're going through puberty and, you know, still working out

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the world and where they fit into it.

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I kind of internalised a lot of that kind of stuff.

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So I was saying things to myself in my head like, "I think I'm bisexual,

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"but what happens if I'm just pretending?

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"What happens if I am just secretly gay and I don't want to admit it?

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"What happens if I am just being this, you know, kind of promiscuous

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"person where I just want more than I can have or whatever?"

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You just kind of feel, like, fractured.

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You don't really know who you are any more.

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We should probably go that way, cos that's where all the action is.

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Oh, all the action!

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This is G-A-Y bar. It's, you know, really well-known.

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I've never actually been to a gay bar, to be honest.

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-You've never been to a gay bar?

-No.

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Oh, my God! You're in for such a treat.

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I'm looking forward to talking face to face with bi activist Lewis

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about being bisexual.

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"It doubles your chances on a Friday night."

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Like, I've heard this one so much more. Like, ah, people think

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because you're bisexual, you're really slutty.

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You must get so much more action, like, that kind of thing.

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It's like, no! Just because I like both doesn't mean I like everyone.

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It's ridiculous. Of course not.

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A few of my friends have said that.

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Like, "Yeah, you've got twice as many people you can date."

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I'm like, no. If you think about it,

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I can only date someone who accepts bisexual people.

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Try and find the fraction of people that is.

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Yeah, exactly.

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A lot of people say, "Oh, I'm bi,"

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and then come out as gay a few years later,

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and I think that's where a lot of the stigma comes from.

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So many, like, gay guys think that me being bisexual isn't true.

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They'll try and convince you it's a phase.

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I was at this, kind of, house party and there was this girl

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who identified as a lesbian there,

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and I was talking about how I was bi,

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and she said, "Oh, yeah, I used to identify as bi

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"and now I'm a lesbian."

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And then she started trying to like throw herself at me

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and touch me as much as possible

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and I felt really, really uncomfortable with it.

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And she was like, "Oh, honey, you're gay. You're gay."

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And I'm like, no, I'm just uncomfortable with you thinking you

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can come into my personal space and test me for your own amusement.

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That's not OK.

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I think there's a lot of that, where people are like,

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-if you're not attracted to me, you're obviously the other.

-Mm.

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Meeting Lewis was really helpful and useful to me, actually.

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That's because a lot of the things I could identify with.

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It was good that we talked about some of the issues that we think

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bisexual people face.

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I still feel in the dark about how to actually tell Mum and Dad

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about my bisexuality.

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I've looked online at other people's coming out experiences and stuff,

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and one thing they don't necessarily go into a lot of detail is, like,

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the actual practicality.

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Like what do you, literally, say to someone.

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What do you say? What do you do?

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How do you just like, present it and frame it?

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They'll probably respect you more for being yourself than trying to be

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this person that you're not...

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I've joined the university's LGBT society and I'm going to get

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some advice from its members about coming out.

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I've got, like, my uni self and there's the self of me at home,

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which is more reserved and trying to live this pretend life.

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So, I'm hoping to get rid of that.

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What I found made it easier was when I had something

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to lead into that conversation.

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It made it a lot easier to talk about than just saying,

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"Oh, by the way, I'm bisexual.

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"Have fun with that now."

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I made sure when I came out to my parents I was not framing it

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as, like, a confession.

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I wasn't framing it as an apology.

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I was framing it as an invitation, really,

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to be part of my life.

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This is who I am.

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I'm going to live my big, gay life, doing lots of big, gay things,

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and I won't do any big, gay things with you,

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so it doesn't really matter to you, but...

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Yeah, I would just...

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Yeah, just make sure that you're comfortable with it

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and that it's a conversation that feels natural and not forced.

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I feel like I've got the practical advice I was missing.

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I don't need to be ashamed to say who I am,

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and how I word it is going to be so important.

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I need to get it right.

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It's nice to know that once I have come out in whatever way I choose

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and decide, that there is going to be this network here

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which can support me, if I need it, and I can go to

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and have some pretty fun times with.

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I've decided that this weekend is the time I'm going to come out

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to my mum and tell her that I'm bisexual.

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We have a very close relationship.

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It's more like brother-sister type relationship

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rather than like mother and son.

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We're always quite open, quite honest with each other.

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My mum and dad were never really, like, married or anything.

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They split up when I was quite young.

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Me and Mum don't keep secrets from each other.

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This is the only one.

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I hope she isn't going to be upset that I haven't told her before now.

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Mum thinks I'm back from uni for the weekend

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to do some early Christmas shopping with her.

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Tonight, this evening,

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I'm planning to tell her and come out and tell her that I'm bisexual.

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Erm, I was kind of joking about it, the little bit today, actually.

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Like, I said, "Oh, by the way, I've got a girlfriend at university."

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And I was like, "Nah, only joking. I've actually got a boyfriend."

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And then I said, "Nah, I'm only joking."

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I'm feeling a little bit more nervous now, I think.

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Before, I was pretty calm, quite relaxed

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and now I'm getting a bit...

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getting a bit anxious.

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Let's go do this thing.

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Right, OK. Cool.

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Right. That is recording, isn't it? Let me just check.

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Yeah. We don't want to do all this and it be for nothing.

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Right, Cool.

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We touched on this yesterday, like, in a jokey way,

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but you know how I said, "Oh, I have a girlfriend.

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"No, I don't, I'm only kidding. I've actually got a boyfriend,"

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and then I was joking and stuff.

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Would it bother you if I did have a boyfriend or anything like that?

0:13:420:13:46

No. We said that yesterday.

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If you had a girlfriend, fair enough.

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If you had a boyfriend, fair enough.

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You're still you and I won't love you any less.

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So, what would you think or feel if I told you that I'm bisexual?

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What would you say?

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It wouldn't bother me.

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Like I said, you're still Owen.

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To me, I'll still love you, no matter what.

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OK. Well, I am.

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So, this is me telling you.

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As long as you're happy in what you want to do.

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You're happy, careful...

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..it doesn't change anything about the way I feel about you at all.

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Did you suspect anything?

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Well, I always probably thought you were a little bit gay, really.

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Yeah. I get that.

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Yeah, people have said that.

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Yeah, just being at uni and stuff,

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erm, and just being round other people just helped to reconfirm

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what I kind of already knew.

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You don't have to go back in the closet no more!

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Oh, no, it's fine. Don't even...

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I'm not going to start acting any different or anything.

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I'm still going to just be the same.

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-Exactly.

-That's insane.

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So, let's have a little hug.

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Look, we did it.

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Yay! Let's fucking end this.

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Is that conversation over, is it?

0:15:040:15:07

-Yeah.

-Any more questions to ask?

-No.

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-OK, then. Bye.

-Bye.

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We're done.

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See, that just makes it more fun.

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Who's going to go first?

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Back at uni, me and my mates are having some end of term drinks.

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What is going on?

0:15:260:15:27

Oh, I came out to my mum and my grandparents, kind of. Yeah.

0:15:320:15:36

Yeah, well done, mate.

0:15:360:15:38

-Yeah, nice one, mate.

-Thanks.

0:15:380:15:40

Oz kind of noticed a difference.

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I told him, like, what I'd done and stuff, and he seemed to think

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I was more confident as well and just more happy.

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Two. You choose.

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On my right, there was Katie.

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Are you just friends?

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Erm, well, it's only been like a very recent thing,

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but we're slightly more than friends.

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We're kind of just seeing how things go at the moment.

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When we were just, kind of, friends,

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she knew I was bisexual and it didn't seem to faze her at all.

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So, that was really cool.

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I think I'm just far more willing now to just try dating

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and try going out with people and stuff

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and seeing how things go, so...

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Was it worth two shots?

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No, it wasn't worth two shots!

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I don't know why I did it.

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Oh, kill me now.

0:16:320:16:33

I'm so happy it went well with Mum,

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but I'm worried about telling Dad.

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I've got no idea how he's going to react.

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I don't really know how I'll tell Dad.

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I haven't really figured that out.

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He's quite Jack-the-Lad.

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Quite masculine and just a typical kind of guy, I guess.

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He's a carpenter.

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I feel like my dad would be more reserved about it,,

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and he might perhaps initially question,

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"OK, why don't you just go for girls then?"

0:17:110:17:13

But it's not really like that.

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It's like, I don't really have a choice who I like and who I fall

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in love with and who I'm attracted to.

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I don't really have a choice in as much as, like, you didn't have

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a choice about who you fell in love with and who you married, so...

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I've been at home for three weeks,

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but I've not managed to bring myself to tell Dad yet.

0:17:370:17:40

It's been really playing on my mind.

0:17:400:17:42

He's dropping me off and I'm going to do it now or I never will.

0:17:420:17:46

So, what we've just got back to uni after Christmas and Dad's helped

0:17:480:17:51

bring my stuff in. You've been very helpful, thank you very much.

0:17:510:17:54

I reckon I'd move in here myself...

0:17:540:17:58

Firstly, just to get away from me brothers.

0:17:580:18:01

True, true.

0:18:030:18:04

Erm, one of the things I'm going to talk about, or touch on,

0:18:040:18:08

is relationships.

0:18:080:18:09

You said the other day that you were worried about me. Why was that?

0:18:090:18:12

Because you now have a girlfriend.

0:18:140:18:17

Mm-hm.

0:18:170:18:18

Erm, I don't want the emotion to get in the way of your education.

0:18:190:18:25

Before, I was with the person I am with now,

0:18:270:18:30

I was seeing somebody else.

0:18:300:18:32

Does that shock you that you didn't know about it?

0:18:320:18:34

Yeah.

0:18:340:18:35

Yeah, I guess it was.

0:18:360:18:39

OK.

0:18:390:18:40

Erm, I don't know how to say this to you but, OK...

0:18:410:18:44

The person I was with, before my girlfriend, was a guy.

0:18:440:18:48

Does that shock you?

0:18:480:18:50

-No.

-No?

-No.

0:18:500:18:53

Because I'm into guys and girls.

0:18:530:18:56

-OK.

-I'm into both.

-All right.

-Does that make sense?

0:18:560:18:58

-Is that OK with you?

-That's fine. I'm...

-How do you feel about that?

0:18:580:19:01

Fine. Erm...

0:19:020:19:04

Well, you hit me with a right punch, but...

0:19:060:19:09

Sorry to shock you like that.

0:19:090:19:11

..but can I just say, I'm really... I've travelled the world.

0:19:110:19:14

I'm very, very open-minded.

0:19:140:19:17

-You've got to be happy in who you are.

-Mm-hm.

-No-one else.

0:19:170:19:20

You've got to be happy in who you are.

0:19:200:19:22

So, as long as...

0:19:220:19:24

If it makes you happy, it makes you happy.

0:19:240:19:26

Fine.

0:19:260:19:27

It don't matter to me one bit.

0:19:270:19:30

-Cool.

-Not one bit.

0:19:300:19:32

In fact, I am as cool as a cucumber.

0:19:320:19:34

Fair enough.

0:19:340:19:35

I'm just going to end it there.

0:19:350:19:37

Yeah, cool.

0:19:370:19:39

So, I've just come out to my dad,

0:19:420:19:44

and it went really, really well.

0:19:440:19:46

Like, leading up to it, erm,

0:19:460:19:49

I was so close to, like, not even doing it.

0:19:490:19:51

I didn't really want to.

0:19:510:19:53

All through the car journey back,

0:19:530:19:57

I was quite nervous and I was just thinking, "I'm not going to do it.

0:19:570:19:59

"I'm not going to do it. Today's not the day."

0:19:590:20:02

But then I had the camera with me in my room and I thought,

0:20:040:20:09

"Just do it, just do it."

0:20:090:20:10

And I did and it was all fine.

0:20:100:20:12

Absolutely fine. He took it really well.

0:20:120:20:14

I don't know what I was so worried about.

0:20:140:20:16

So, yeah, I feel really happy about it now

0:20:160:20:19

and I'm officially an out bisexual man to both my mum and my dad,

0:20:190:20:24

and my friends all know now.

0:20:240:20:26

My uni friends know, erm, so, yeah, someone get me a T-shirt.

0:20:260:20:30

Out and proud and all that rubbish.

0:20:320:20:34

Total renovation.

0:20:500:20:51

Really, everything. The ceiling came down two weeks ago.

0:20:510:20:54

Replastered the whole walls.

0:20:550:20:57

Rendered it.

0:20:570:20:58

It's good. It's good.

0:20:580:20:59

You said you can't notice any changes in three weeks,

0:20:590:21:04

but you can't have looked hard enough, because look at that.

0:21:040:21:07

Oh, it's only because I hadn't really been in here last time.

0:21:080:21:12

Now, that bit's all different.

0:21:120:21:13

Well, that stonework was only done last week.

0:21:130:21:16

To say I haven't thought about it is an understatement, because I really,

0:21:220:21:26

really have. Is it anything I've done to make him that way?

0:21:260:21:31

No.

0:21:310:21:32

He is who he is. That's fine.

0:21:320:21:35

How would other people react to me?

0:21:350:21:37

Then, I thought, "Hang on, he's happy. What's it to do with them?"

0:21:370:21:39

You know? Fine.

0:21:390:21:41

If I ever have a negative thought,

0:21:410:21:43

as long as you're happy, that cancels out everything else.

0:21:430:21:48

When you build something up for a long time in your head,

0:21:480:21:51

you can get a bit anxious and worried about it, but, you know,

0:21:510:21:55

it was all fine. And afterwards, you acted like so cool about it,

0:21:550:21:59

so I was just really happy and glad that I'd finally done it.

0:21:590:22:03

-A weight off your mind.

-Yeah.

0:22:040:22:06

-Is it?

-Yeah.

0:22:060:22:07

Is there people who don't understand, do you think?

0:22:070:22:09

Because I'm bisexual and I like men and women,

0:22:090:22:13

there's this idea that we're very promiscuous,

0:22:130:22:17

or that we're just, like, secretly gay or something.

0:22:170:22:20

I don't... I do not understand that.

0:22:200:22:22

I was worried about your loneliness.

0:22:230:22:25

How long you'd bottled it up.

0:22:250:22:27

That was a big worry.

0:22:270:22:28

My current wife, she is my rock.

0:22:300:22:33

It don't matter to me if it's a bloke or a woman who's going to

0:22:330:22:35

one day be your rock. You'll know it when it is.

0:22:350:22:37

-Are you proud of him?

-Definitely.

0:22:390:22:42

Without a doubt.

0:22:420:22:43

To be this open and honest as well?

0:22:430:22:46

Very proud.

0:22:460:22:47

One of the things I'm proud of in my life is coming out to my parents,

0:23:080:23:12

and coming out to everyone, like, my friends and everything,

0:23:120:23:17

and just being this more confident person recently,

0:23:170:23:22

and I'm really proud that I can say that I'm proud that I've done that.

0:23:220:23:28

I think why I was so happy that I'd done it is because I'd been

0:23:280:23:33

so nervous and so worried about it for so long.

0:23:330:23:35

I'd been so insecure and I'd carried around all these negative feelings

0:23:350:23:39

and emotions, and I'd finally overcome them and finally dealt

0:23:390:23:43

with them and finally done this thing

0:23:430:23:47

that I'd wanted to do for so long,

0:23:470:23:49

and just be who I really am.

0:23:490:23:52

You know, that old cliche and I just...

0:23:520:23:56

I was - and I am - really happy now that I've done it.

0:23:560:23:59

Documentary in which 19-year-old Owen films himself coming out as bisexual to his parents after struggling throughout his teenage years with his sexuality.

In school, Owen was confused about his sexuality and found he was attracted to both boys and girls, but as his friends started relationships, he avoided getting involved with anyone. Now he is at university he feels he can be himself, but he is tired of living a double life, and wants to be completely honest with his mum and dad but he knows he will have to go through the nerve-racking experience twice as his parents are no longer together.