Derk from A.S.V.Gay
The 11th of October is nationally recognised as Coming Out Day. On this day, the moment that LGBTQ+ people openly express their sexual orientation or gender identity for the first time is highlighted and celebrated. To give the world a glimpse of how it feels to come out of the closet and to create more understanding for this, we asked A.S.V.Gay member Bart Corver about his coming out.
Of course! Hi, my name is Bart Corver and I'm a nineteen-year-old Media Design student at SintLucas in Boxtel. I'm originally from a small town just North of Eindhoven called Son en Breugel, but I'm currently living in Amsterdam because I'm doing a photography internship. I'm interning at Pig & Hen, a men's fashion and bracelet business. I do fashion shoots and product shoots, and I use both photography and videography for that. I can hear you thinking: 'why photography if you study media design?' I have been taking photos from an early age and I eventually taught myself how to get better at it. I would like to continue with photography in the future, media design is primarily a support of my creative vision.
Two years ago I came out as bisexual to my friends from high school and my parents. Bisexuality felt as a sort of safe zone, because it wouldn't change too much. I didn't really come out to my friends at SintLucas, because most them figured it out during a party at school. Last February I came out as gay to my parents and my friends. My parents and I subsequently had a very long conversation about labels and freedom. I came out to everyone else on Instagram just last week! The day after that I sent my grandad a message to tell him I'm gay.
My parents reacted very well, they were very sweet. I couldn't have wished for better, I expected it to be much worse. It was a bit harder for my grandparents. I sent them a WhatsApp message because I was too nervous about telling them. They read the message but only responded two days later. They did respond in a positive way, though! They were a bit shocked at first, but they are okay with it.
Everyone reacted very well, I haven't had any negative reactions. People may be against me and my sexuality, as long as they respect me and don't project their negativity onto me. I am still me and that does not change, whether I am straight or gay. I also didn't have any problems at my internship. It was a little scary to go back into work after my Instagram message, but luckily they were very accepting!
I scoured the internet to see how others were doing it. Then I came across a video by Jeroen van Holland about his coming out and it really inspired me. Jay Alvarrez has also been a massive inspiration to me. He has a saying that helped me a lot in the past and still helps me today: "Less human, more being." I even got this tattooed on my arm as a reminder to myself that I just have to be myself and worry less about what others think of me.
Of course, but who isn't? I was especially afraid that people would see me differently if I came out of the closet – that people would no longer think I was "normal". It is often the case that girls see gays as the ideal Gay Best Friend and that boys see gays as less macho, and I did not want people to see me as a stereotype. I don't want to be treated differently as I'm not different from anyone else.
Yes, a lot. I dare to be myself now, and friends often tell me that I am a lot more relaxed nowadays. I now just do what I want and what feels good to me. I think I'm more relaxed because I am no longer walking around with a secret and the secret is no longer stopping me from being myself. I no longer have to be on guard to act like a heterosexual and when men talk about women I no longer have to pretend that I'm interested.
A place where everyone can be themselves, where everyone can be accepted and for me personally, a place where I can discover myself. A.S.V.Gay helps you establish a connection with other LGBTQ+ people who have experienced the same things as you have, and so you can talk to them about it without fear of being judged for it.
JUST DO IT! And yes, I know you're scared shitless, but really, do it! Show the people around you who you are. It doesn't matter if they are with you or against you. People will always have an opinion about you, whether you are straight or gay. You are you and in the end you live your life for yourself, not for someone else!