I came out…. and I wanted the world to know

Happy National Coming Out Day because being content and comfortable with yourself is something that everyone deserves. I ‘came out’ at a fresh-faced 14, having only just lost my virginity to a girl in my year called Margaret Devaney.

Clearly there were more important things on my mind because six months later I found myself frequenting The Joint, a Blitz-style gay/weird/alternative club with the likes of ace lezza Juliarna Williamson and almost immediately became involved with a tall lad of 19 called Andy Murray (no, not that one).

He clearly made a bit more of an impression on me, as the following morning, as Sarah Kershaw, Lesley Ainscough and I were heading to the shopping centre in Central Milton Keynes, I blurted out “I think I’m going to turn bisexual!” And they thought I was joking, I kid you not.

The fledgling SP in Brighton, 1984. Get yer rocks off

Mind you, this was the era of Thatcherism and the soon to be detested Clause 28, where the biggest pop stars of the day either skirted around being loud and proud (hello George O’Dowd and Michael Jackson) or deliberately tried to straighten themselves out to sell more records (howdy Dame David of Bowie) so my being the first pupil in the history of my school to come out was quite, quite a thing back then.

It’s no overstatement to say I was the most infamous person in the entire school. And I suppose a certain Tanya Ferrary going around plastering photocopies of her polaroid of Andy and me cavorting on the floor of said nightclub probably didn’t help either.

Regrets? I’ve never had a few. Once I’ve made up my mind I’m going to do something I don’t give a damn who knows it! For instance, three years after school and college ended I found myself dating fellow Sir Frank Markham pupil Richard Collins for a while, who told me in no uncertain terms, “You’re so far out of the closet that it’s padlocked the door behind you and you’re never ever gonna get back in!”

Closets are for clothes. You keep the mothballs, they’re toxic. ‘Cos I ain’t ever going back in, baby!


Steve Pafford



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