Mark’s Coming Out Story

I am 58 (but look and act like 50 I guess). I was sexually attracted to guys since my mid-teens but also to girls. So I had the “easy” path of girlfriends, 26 years of marriage, kids and never letting anyone know my ‘dark secret’. I did not tell a soul until December last year. At this stage, I was 57, 2 years divorced and had two daughters of 24 and 21.

Hello I'm Gay

Coming out

I came out first to one very close girlfriend, and asked that she share that with her husband, who is also a good friend. Over the next 12 months I managed to tell my daughters and all my close friends. Only 2 were shocked (but still embracing) responses. I am not ‘obviously’ gay and none ‘suspected’. This has liberated me after 40 years of private shame and paranoid secrecy.

People still love me for who I am

I will not make any announcement. But now that all those dearest to me know and love me, perhaps even more for my courage in coming forward, I have absolutely no fear or concern about anyone finding out. As a result, my life has been transformed and I feel incredibly liberated and on the path to rebuilding my life in the next phase. Although I am attracted to guys considerably younger than me, I have met many who are mutually attracted. I am hopeful and confident, that in time I am going to find a partner who fulfils all my needs of love, support, companionship (and of course sexual fulfilment).

Times have changed

I could never have come out in my teens in the late 70’s, or probably for most of the years that ensued. Society was not ready to accept me: in my family, social and professional environment. I feel that, apart from my own new found courage (borne of loneliness in my ‘secret’ and loathing of a double life), South African middle class society has probably crossed a threshold in the last 3-5 years. This has allowed me, as a relatively conservative person in a conservative profession, to come out to my closest (and be ‘discovered’ by several others), with no meaningful consequence at all, other than my own freedom and happiness.

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