One of the biggest decisions a person from the LGBTI+ community can make is when and how to come out to people they know. During Pride Month, we met up with a few people from across Scotland to hear their stories.
For the longest time, Andrew's family had no idea about the ups and downs he was going through, growing up gay.
Although he was out to his friends, he felt he was hiding a huge part of his life. It was only when he found himself in a loving relationship that he finally felt confident enough to come out to his parents.
It lifted a massive weight off his shoulders and now he hopes his story can support and inspire others to live their true selves.
Ross knew he was gay from a young age, but growing up with a disability and focusing on his health meant he was never quite comfortable coming out.
He worried about how people would react, but when he told them, they were supportive.
He came to realise a lot of the pressure was coming from himself. It's something that he still deals with to this day, but he's now far more accepting of who he is as a gay man living with a disability.
When Levi was 17 he realised that he was trans.
Despite fears over coming out in a small community in the Highlands where everyone had known him for his whole life, he found people were understanding, but the experience was lonely as he was the only one going through this experience. Since moving to University, he gets to control who knows and who he feels comfortable telling, and he’s so pleased with where he is now and he’s a proud trans person.
Eseoghene comes from Nigeria, where it is against the law to be homosexual, he finally came out to his family last year.
It has not been the easiest as his family hold strong religious and cultural beliefs, but he wanted to do it anyway as he wanted to be free in his own self, and not hide this part of himself anymore. Being able to open himself up to live free from all of the negativity that comes with growing up in Nigeria and being a gay man definitely has made coming out something that is very important to him.
Andy struggled for decades with his sexuality. He knew he was gay, but was living a lie. He hated himself and, at his lowest point, considered suicide.
At the age of 59, an encounter with two good friends gave him the confidence he needed to finally himself and come out.
After he'd taken that first step, it got easier. He's not afraid any more, and feels he's taken control of his life.
Coming out is one of the biggest decisions a person from the LGBTI+ community can make. It’s an important step, representing a time when you feel confident and comfortable in who you are.
It's something that lots of people look forward to, but not everyone. You might feel really worried about how people may react - whether it's family, friends or colleagues. You might even decide never to open up about your sexuality because you think it will cause too many problems.
The most important thing to remember is that it is you get to decide when the time is right, no one else, and you should never feel pressured into it.
In the films above, the people we spoke to told us about the confidence and support that they felt at different points in their coming out stories. They also showed us that everyone's experience is different. It's can be a gradual process which happens in stages. It can begin with friends or family before going on to tell others. You might get different reactions, and it can be something that you’ll find yourself doing over and over again, when meeting new people.
If you are thinking about, or wanting to speak to someone about coming out we're hear to help. You can find some helpful information about coming out here.