A LGBT Community History Project

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Two years later I made my first steps towards becoming a priest and member of a religious community. It was then that the whole issue of sexual orientation and attraction came to the fore.

Some twelve months earlier I had reconciled myself to the fact I was gay, I had come out to my mum who hadn't been fazed at all. I remember panicking for about 3 or 4 days gloing over what I was going to say to her but when I told her she just carried on frying the chips and said, "Oh I thought you might be." This is not to say she wasn't interested in what I was telling her but she didn't see it as a great issue as I was still her son who she continued to love.

I had also told a couple of close friends but I was mostly firmly in the closet so when at 20 years of age I entered a totally male community, living in each others pockets I found myself becoming attracted to a fellow student and going to great lengths to ensure I was with him as much as possible. I still didn't see my actions or motivation as being anything other than just wanting him a very good, close friend but on reflection I was infatuated with him. This was something other could see and were trying to tell me in a positive and supportive way but I just couldn't see it.

Then it came time for me to move to a new communityand boy was I in for a shock. I went from a liberal, supportive environment to a very narrow and homophobic community who would not support my exploration of "who am I?". For the next year I lived with constant criticism, veiled homophobic comments and a fear/suspicion culture. This coupled with my inner turmoil as to how I could uphold the teaching of the church and live my life as a gay man/priest. Anyway I decided enough was enough and took the decision to take a step back and review the situation.

So back to Liverpool and the next phase which was a combination of visiting gay cruising areas, looking at soft porn and discovering the Liverpool gay scene such as it is and finding most of this was such a disappointment to me. But from this wild and exciting time I found the courage to say "I am who I am". I also made some very good friends who have helped me realise that to be truly gay is just for me to be me and as long as I do what I believe to be right then that's ok.

So here I am 40 years on gay and proud of it. I attend Manchester Mardi Gras and I am a gay representative on a work based focus group helping to formulate corporate policy. And I am still trying to decide what it is to be gay and me.

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