"Getting disowned was the best thing that could have happened to me. I cried a lot. I fell into a depression. I suffered embarrassment and ostracization."

June is now globally seen as International Pride Month. As part of International Pride Month, the Cape Argus will be carrying stories from members of the LGBTQIA+ community to share insights and challenges they face:

#MyQueerlife: Acceptance was the best thing I ever gave myself

The year of 23 was not good to me.

I had been outed by someone close to me and found myself alone in a foreign country and… disowned. Just before I was officially disowned, I was given two choices- denounce my “chosen lifestyle” or live the rest of my life without the love and support of my family.

It was the hardest decision of my life. As much as I desperately wanted to live the lie for the sake of my family, I realised I had spent far too much time in the closet and couldn’t live in it any more. For the first time in my life, I left everyone’s feelings behind and chose me.

In hindsight, getting disowned was the best thing that could have happened to me. I cried a lot. I fell into a depression. I suffered embarrassment and ostracisation. I almost failed my Masters degree and ended up with thousands of pounds of debt. On top of that, I found myself in an abusive relationship that I couldn’t get out of because I had nowhere to go.

But, yes. It was the best thing that happened to me. Despite all of the pain, hardship and trauma, I was happy with myself. I was happy I chose to live my truth. I am happy I’ve chosen to live my truth. Acceptance was the best thing I ever gave myself.

Funnily enough, once I had moved on from the year of 23, gotten on my feet, came out of my depression (somewhat), ended the relationship, got out of debt and moved to a different country - my family reached out and we began to rebuild our relationship. 

It hasn’t been easy and it never will be. I know that this is a rare case where things turn out alright. 

But shout out to everyone who has ever been disowned for being queer. You’re still here. You made it, you did it and if you’re going through it, trust me, this isn’t the end.