As part of our LGBT History Month, Katy Thomason-Stewart from our Digital team talks about coming out to her Mum and why she feels at home at the Co-op.
I think I’ve always known I was gay, but denied it for a really long time. I was 19 and at university when I fully realised and came out to my friends. They all took the news well and were very supportive, which was exactly what I needed.
Telling my folks was a completely different matter. Both my parents are ex-army and pretty conservative. Me coming out was not on their list of “done” things.
Taking the plunge
I remember calling my mother with the line, “You know I was going out with Nicholas? Well I’m now going out with Sarah”. It went down like a lead balloon. Mum was really ill at the time, so I guess I could have picked a better moment, but it had gotten to the point where I just couldn’t keep it secret any longer.
The fallout from the phone call was pretty intense. I was hit with a barrage of telephone conversations and letters basically telling me I was going through a phase, which I obviously wasn’t.
Time changes everything
Thankfully things aren’t like that today. Over the years it’s got a lot better and she now welcomes me and my wife with open arms. But coming out to my parent was one of the hardest things I had to do, especially as I thought that they would never accept me. Luckily they’re not as stuck in their ways as I thought.
A place where I can be myself
I haven’t been at the Co-op long, but I’ve been made to feel really, really welcome. I’m surrounded by other LGBT+ people that are out and proud. It’s lovely that I, and others around me, can mention their spouses / partners and no one bats an eyelid.