Luke is an actor currently living in London. He came out in 2019 at the age of 23.
No more hiding
My name is Luke, I am 24 years old. And I am bisexual.
I wasnʼt told this. I didnʼt get a letter from an owl on my 11th birthday letting me know I had been inducted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Bisexuality. Nor was it a Eureka moment where my mind exploded and I suddenly saw the world in a totally different light. One day I just realised: “Huh, Iʼm bi.”
I immediately felt the need to hide it. My first thought was “What will my parents or my friends think? How will they react? Would it make them treat me any differently?” I didnʼt want anything to change, so I kept it to myself. This unfortunately meant I didnʼt get to explore this part of myself in my most formative years. It stunted the development of my identity at a time when I should have been figuring out who I was and what sort of space I wanted to take up in this world.
Last summer, I was given the opportunity to make a fresh start. I moved into a new flat, started a new job and developed a new circle of friends. I made the decision to be completely open about myself and my sexuality. This openness was met with nothing but positivity and inclusion, which encouraged me to come out to my family and friends back home. Apart from the initial surprise and the odd question, there was no change. My parents still loved me the same as before, my friends still treated me with the same level of compassion and respect. It was an overwhelmingly liberating experience, feeling the build up of angst and worry melt away as I told my best friend of 20 years that I am bisexual, and watching him shrug and say, “Oh ok, thatʼs cool.”
I am very aware that I am lucky to have such a supportive network of people in my life, who accept me for who I am. Not every fellow member of the LGBTQIA+ community is met with the same positivity that I have been met with. Some are shunned by their friendship groups, or forced out of their homes, and can easily become lost and alienated.
Because of this, I feel it a duty to always speak up for those who do not have a voice. I encourage people who are feeling unsure, uneasy or maybe even ashamed of their sexuality to speak to someone, anyone, about it.
There are a number of resources out there that can offer support and guidance. Charities like the Born This Way Foundation and Gendered Intelligence are committed to creating a kinder and braver world by increasing peopleʼs understanding of sexuality and gender diversity. They seek to empower young LGBTQIA+ people by providing genuine opportunities, quality resources, and platforms to make our voices heard.
For more immediate advice and support, Switchboard LGBT+ is a helpline available 24/7. Formed all the way back in 1974, they offer a safe space for anyone to discuss anything from sexuality and gender identity, to sexual health and emotional wellbeing.
The world is changing and the LGBTQIA+ community is growing. I believe your sexuality, like any other aspect of your identity, should be embraced and celebrated. To any LGBTQIA+ person reading this who has not yet come out: whenever you feel comfortable enough in yourself to do so, I promise you, you will never be alone.