Callum Chapman
Callum ChapmanImage by: Robin Boot Photography
Callum Chapman
7 June 2021

Callum's Story: A Gay Journey of Self-acceptance

Callum Chapman
4 minutes read time

“If you could be straight, would you?”

"No. Look at me a bleached blond batsman*. I embrace my sexuality, love who I am (mostly) and try my upmost to not care what bigoted people think about me or who I love.

Although if you asked me 6 years ago, I would have leaped at the opportunity.

The journey to self-acceptance as an LGBTQ+ person is not an easy one and often hindered by those around you. According to Stonewall, over half of LGBT+ people have experienced depression in the last year, LGB youth are over 5 times more likely to have attempted suicide, and, most shockingly, 92% of transgender people under 25 have attempted suicide.

For those who say that being gay is a “choice”, I can affirm that it is not. I tried to hide it and suppress my feelings. Like many gay men I started dating women. Most notably I was in a heterosexual relationship for around a year; do not get me wrong she was gorgeous, still is (I was punching), but I could not be sexually attracted to her as hard as I tried. When we broke up, she said that she thought I was gay…. Of course I said no and denied everything. But to me this was just the start.

Through some very dark times I came to the realisation that my sexuality was not something I could change, so I came to the conclusion that the best thing for me to do was just end it all. I felt like I was a disappointment to my family, that no one would love me, and I had no future. Suicide felt like it was the best option for me and those around me. Many called me selfish for this, but to me at the time I thought this was selfless: I did not want to disappoint them, or cause hurt.

" The biggest lesson to learn is that the queer community are always there to listen and help you through this journey. "

How wrong I was.

I have an amazing loving family around me that in truth couldn’t care less about who I am in love with. I equally had amazing friends around me and, as much as I hated them at the time, a great team of mental health practitioners who helped me to grow develop and accept myself. I was very lucky; many do not have this.

If you are reading this and are struggling with your own self-acceptance, then you may wonder how I went about this journey of self-acceptance. In truth time was the biggest factor: becoming friends with other gay people; embracing gay culture and recognising that I was not alone. I read gay magazines… no, not purely pornographic ones… watched LBGT TV and films (cried a lot at them, even at Queer as Folk). They helped me realise that no, I was not alone.

I also used mindfulness. I have a gratitude diary that I write in every morning and then again in the evening, personally this helps me to see positives in days when I may have felt like there were none. I have done this for over 5 years now and I would recommend this to anyone. I buy a relatively cheap one off Amazon.

Of course, what the gay God (RuPaul, obviously) says “if you can’t love yourself how in the hell are you going to love someone else” is true, but the journey of self-acceptance equally never ends. I still have moments when I do not love myself, doubt myself and want to change. But let’s challenge that thought process: why should I, or you, change yourself to fit in with society?

You shouldn’t! There are people out there for all of us and our own uniqueness is what makes us all special.

“Control the controllables”. Can I control what a bigoted Joe Bloggs thinks? No, but I can challenge my own thoughts. Remember that we all have a place on this earth and all bring something special.

If I could leave you all with one thing… the journey to self-acceptance as an LGBT+ person or as anyone else is never easy. Self-acceptance is to me harder than societal acceptance. When you have true self-acceptance, you learn to care less about society and their bigoted opinions.

It is not simple nor fast but hold out as there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Lastly reach out if you need help. The biggest lesson to learn is that the queer community are always there to listen and help you through this journey. There are some amazing charities around that will be there to help, some of which I used and can truthfully say I would not be here without."

* Batsman - for those who have never heard this term (the majority I guess) my straight ‘LAD’ mates shortened batty boy to batsman so it “wasn’t homophobic”, but I love them, so it makes me laugh and just makes me flirt with them more <3