|Posted by David Benson on May 21, 2020 at 11:40 AM|
Monday 29th September 1980
…what a significant day it has been today! I saw Miss Thomas, as arranged and we talked and then I got onto my history and then, with will-power of a force I very rarely have to summon, told her I am homosexual. At first, I couldn’t bring myself to say it. I faltered after asking for strict confidence and asked if she had any idea what I was going to say. She said it was very important if you had someone you knew would be like ‘the Bank of England’ confidence-wise, not to bottle up anything inside you that needs to come out (I think she had a pretty good idea) and with enormous effort, I said that I was, if not totally h-h-homosexual then bisexual, in theory if not practice.
She was very pragmatic: “All right David, what you’ve told me is something that in other countries and civilizations in different times, would not have been even blinked at,” and we continued and talked and after about three-quarters of an hour, I realized that I had made it.
I felt somehow burdened and when I said as much, she immediately (in fact, before I did) diagnosed that I felt ‘committed’, having told her.
Amongst the many aspects we discussed, I asked her if I could take Gay News through her and she said, whilst she didn’t mind if her name was not on the envelope, it was okay if addressed to me c/o the English Department, or Head of English, though I thought she seemed slightly reticent. Later, she rang at home and said not to go ahead with ‘a certain step’ as something has crossed her mind, but to see her at 3pm tomorrow. Obviously about the subscription.
We decided it was best to wait until I had gone to University before I really branched out and later told my parents. She was, of course, completely sympathetic and reassuring, though I felt somehow she didn’t quite understand; I don’t think she realizes fully that it is not me who thinks it is a fault but I know that society thinks it is a fault that makes ‘coming out’ so difficult. However, I know that there is now someone I can talk to directly when I need to, and I am not completely alone. It was, for me, a major and important step, and I will always be grateful to her.
P.S. This is what keeping a diary is all about!