What my strict Catholic dad said I came out as a lesbian

It can be hard to come out as LGBT when you belong to a religion which has strict rules against it. This was the case for Jackie Handy who came out to her strict Catholic parents when she was just 15.

The public speaker from Hagley, believed that her family would cast her out for her sexuality.

She struggled to tell her parents but when she finally did, their reaction was heart-warming.

Jackie said: “I came out to a few close friends when I was 14 but 15 was my official opening of that closet door to tell my parents.

“I didn’t actually come out to them, I kind of had it dragged out of me – in a non-violent way.

“This time between the ages of 12 and 15 were the very formative years for this part of my life and around this time I started seeing my very first girlfriend.

“That was lovely and felt right of course but it was still really scary because now it was real.

“And, you know when you’re a kid you think you can smoke out the bathroom window and they won’t know, of course we know now as an adult that that’s just not the case.

“It was the same with this really, I thought I was just acting as I always would but my parents noticed a change in my behaviour.

“They’ve never really told me what but they had clearly noticed that something wasn’t ‘right’.

“One evening, I was about to go out and meet this girl, I must have backchatted them or something and it brought everything to a head.

“They said ‘you’re not going out of this house until we know what’s wrong with you.’

“I became defensive to begin with and then broke down in tears, as you do when you’re a teenager, but I still wasn’t saying anything.

“We kind of battled it out for the best part of an hour before eventually I said words that would have seemed quite hurtful to my mum but it was all I could do to protect myself.

“I said ‘I can tell you dad but I can’t tell you mum’ and it still hurts me now that I said that  but it’s years later and they now understand the reasons why.”

Jackie’s father wasn’t born into a Catholic family but converted to the religion in support of his wife.

Her mother was born into a strict religious family so that made coming out to her more difficult.

She continued: “So my dad took me to the garage to talk and I was still extremely scared.

“He started prompting me with questions, asking me if I was on drugs, being abused or pregnant.

“I said no and I cold see the confusion on his face because he now knew there was something going on but he couldn’t work out what it was.

“So I said ‘if I tell you dad, will you still love me? Will you throw me out the house?’ Continue reading

  • Image: jackiehandy.com

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