Brandon: “Everyone Deserves the Right to Figure Out Who They Are by Themselves”

Meet Brandon, Rise Delegate, as they share their coming out story and why they are proud to be part of the LGBTQ+ community.

I came out when I was 15 years old. When I say came out, I actually mean that I was outed, which means when someone knows or is aware of your sexuality and tells someone else who doesn't know.

My coming out story is different from many. I was forced to come out to my mum as the people who 'outed' me said they would get there before me. They said this on an app called YUBO, which is an app where strangers meet others on live videos. The live video in which they outed me had over 100 viewers, and they gave those viewers links to my social media platforms, allowing them to message and troll me about my sexuality. They also knew my dad was a Jehovah's Witness. At the time, I thought he would not want to speak to me ever again if he found out who I really was.
This forced me to speak to my mum, but I couldn't do it alone, so I asked my best friend to speak to my mum first. Luckily, my mum was really accepting and welcoming. I can't thank my family and friends enough for being so kind. I feel fortunate that it went this way for me as I know a lot of people feel like they can't come out as they don't want to let their family and friends down.

This Is why I am proud of who I am today. My right to come out in my own way and my right to own my sexuality was taken from me, but I have come a long way since then. I can openly talk about my sexuality without feeling any kind of self-judgement or hatred. Everyone deserves the right to figure out who they are by themselves, people deserve the right to express themselves, and people deserve to be treated with kindness and patience. The LGBTQ+ community is such a tight but fragile community, which can be seen by the spreading of anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-trans agendas across the globe. But with normalising conversations on these topics and people starting conversations, this can really make a difference.

The UK is a hugely diverse place, and M&S is a hugely diverse business. Here at M&S, we want everyone to feel like they can be themselves, but sometimes it's hard to do that, even in a welcoming environment. We all deserve respect, but some groups may need more support than others. It's important to recognise your own privilege, and I understand that I am privileged as I grew up in an accepting environment. Many people do not have that.

Originally published by MyGWork here.

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