I came out at the age of 13 and was in a proper relationship from the age of 16 when we moved in together. I came out to my friends at school which was accepted with mixed reactions. When I told my parents that didn’t go too well, my mum said she already knew but my dad couldn’t accept it and still doesn’t to this day (28 years later).

I found it hard to start with but then I just was myself. My partner at the time was a great friend and lover we where together for 13 years until he came out to his parents and they couldn’t accept who he was and he took his own life. Which as you can imagine was a hell of a time in my life where I started taking drugs and drinking to excess to try to overcome the heart ache that had been thrown into my life.

After the funeral I was talking to other people with the LGBT community and I decided that I was going to volunteer to speak to kids and adults that were struggling with LGBT issues especially within the NHS, and I still do this today.

I am now with my partner Steve who I love to bits we have so much in common and have been together now 16 months. We work together and even though we don’t live together we still tell each other everything we have no secrets we have both been very open and honest about our pasts, my drug and drink issues, his drug issues. This is the best relationship I have every been in.

Simon, what advice you’d give to someone contemplating coming out or not, considering your own experience?

I’ll advise them to be prepared even in this day and age as homophobia is very real. Make sure you have thought it through and maybe discuss it with a friend or a family member who you know will not treat you any differently. Also another piece of advice is make sure that you have somewhere to go where you feel safe like a friend just in case your family don’t accept it or something else goes wrong. There is plenty of advice out there in this big world of ours. You can always talk to a support group before and after coming out. I found out that after I came out that I had more friends now I’m out and proud about being gay than I did when I was living a lie.

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