Coming Out – Sammy Walker

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From the outside, coming out as bisexual and divulging that I desired to transition from Male to Female seemingly happened overnight. However, from my perspective it was a process that took me decades to come to terms with and act upon. 

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Growing up questioning

Growing up in the 90s, in the shadow of section 28, being gay was the thing you were teased about. I had no clue what I was; short of what people had told me I was: I was a boy, my name was Samuel, I was 6 years old. 

That being said, society made it very clear that cis-hetero was considered ‘normal’ and anything else was a bit weird and wrong. It was apparent to me that I wasn’t like the other boys from an early age, and other than being good at football, I had very little in common with them. 

I remember once saying, around that time, that I didn’t want to be Samuel anymore. l actually low-key wanted to be Kimberly, the pink power ranger, although I panicked when asked what I would instead like to be called, and said: “Jason”, after the red power ranger. Even at this age I was conciously making ‘boy choices’ to try to blend in.

Maybe I was gay? It had first occured to me by the time I was probably 8 years old. By then I had already started thinking about how much more I would prefer to be a girl. I was acutely aware that I was a male, and that being a boy felt weird and I didn’t like the internal conflict. I was on the lookout for anything I could liken myself to… but there were no transsexuals or transgender people that I was aware of. I didn’t even know what a transsexual was! I knew about men who dressed up as women – but I didn’t want to dress up. I wanted to be. I didn’t know what was wrong with me?

I had only seen guys acting femininely being attributed towards their sexuality – So, maybe I was gay? I mean, I did find some guys attractive. The problem was that I also found girls attractive. I wasn’t aware that bisexuality was a thing either. 

This confusion continued into my early teens, although I had settled on the fact I was bisexual by then, even if I didn’t dare make it public. In 2004, Nadia went on Big Brother and I first saw a trans woman. I had spent years worrying about why I felt the way I did and now, at 14, I had found someone that closely aligned with me. It was the first time I considered that I could be ‘one of those’. Then a few years later, a friend of a friend started transitioning and it dawned on me that this was something ‘normal people’ did. I learned about hormones and the process of transitioning and suddenly it wasnt just for exotic foreigners on trashy television. It suddenly seemed within reach for someone like me. 

The thing is – I still didnt want to be the sensationalised weirdo and I was scared to be made fun of. What if I just looked ridiculous? What if it ruined my life? I really hoped this would just go away. What was wrong with me?

Well, looking back, nothing was wrong with me. I wrongly attributed my desire to be female, as potential homosexuality. As my exposure to life increased, so did the accuracy of my sense of self. I was just a kid trying to make sense of some pretty complicated feelings with limited resources and some pretty intense societal attitudes. 

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Becoming myself

I didn’t know what to do and so I sought an escape from my miserable reality as my body became more and more masculine. I stopped playing football and drug and alcohol addiction plagued my late teens and early 20s. I eventually got my act together somewhat and I fully committed to giving ‘being normal’ my best shot. I thought I could trap myself. Maybe how I felt would go away if I validated my masculinity?

I really settled on the idea of transitioning in my teens, but it wasn’t something I felt I could properly explore until my mid-late 20s after my marraige collapsed. I had got married to the prettiest girl I knew at 23, had beautiful children and a comfortable home. I should have felt on top of the world – But I was really struggling. Our marraige would slowly decay as my mental health declined. I knew I would lose them through living my truth or through suicide eventually. 

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Coming out to my Uncle

In the end, I never had to come out to my wife. We split a year before I came out as I was threatening to end my life. I don’t blame her, and still carry a lot of guilt for deceiving her about who I was, and dragging her and my children into my grand lie. I wish I had done things differently. I wish I had been braver when I was younger.

I started trying to present as female as regularly as I could, the person I was staying with regularly commenting that “it looked like I was wearing makeup“. I probably was, and regularly hurried to remove it when I heard them enter the property. Luckily the fashion at the time was less gendered and you could easily find mens clothes that wouldn’t look out of place on a female rail. Tight jeans and baggy jumpers were my go to. The more I explored the more it felt right. I was going to do this.

I needed to tell my family but I didn’t know where to start. I felt like I needed to start with my best bet of being accepted –  so I called my Uncle and asked him to pick me up so we could talk.

Those jeans are a bit tight,” joked my Uncle, as I awkwardly slid out the passenger side of his work van. I had avoided making eye contact with him so far, so he hadn’t noticed or commented on the mascara I was wearing. I offered a pained smile; I think he could tell I had changed a bit since I last saw him at my Nan & Grandad’s anniversary party, a year or so earlier.

To be honest, I had always struggled – I didn’t know what it was like to be an adult and not depressed. I had been on and off a variety of tablets since I was a teenager, which never seemed to make anything subside. They didn’t make the turmoil go away. Ever. I hated my body. I hated that I had to pretend to be the person people expected me to be. I wanted to die.

I had plucked up the courage to visit the Dr’s to seek help and was met with a disapproving glare. I was told about the long wait and procedure to get referred for transitional treatment. It was longer – and far more difficult than I anticipated. My depression got progressively worse, the realisation of the daunting task that lay ahead of me. This led me to drunkenly making an attempt on my own life; leaping into the darkness from an overpass in Milton Keynes. 

Obviously, I didn’t die. I just really hurt my knee when I landed awkwardly on the grass verge, but I jumped thinking it would be the end. In hindsight, I didn’t want to die. I just didn’t want to carry on living like that. I didn’t know if I could deal with what I knew I had to do. However, surviving the jump did make me feel like I had another chance at life – but this time, after over a quarter of a century living a lie, an authentic one.

We walked, me with a slight limp, across the car-park towards a well known fried chicken restaurant in silence. I tugged at the neck of my oversize jumper – I felt hot. It was probaly only 10°C but I was perspiring as I fought off a panic attack. 
This was it: I was about to vocalise what had become my deepest, darkest secret, for the first time ever. 

The restaurant was busy. I pointlessly looked at the ever-changing advertising boards behind the tills. I knew what I wanted, but concentrating intently on the menu gave me an opportunity to calm myself before the ‘big reveal’.

I ordered and suggested that I find us a table while He collected the food. I scanned the restaurant and found a table which offered some degree of privacy. I gathered my thoughts and a few minutes later my Uncle joined me, setting the tray down on the table and looking at me quizzically, 
So what’s been going on?” 

I took a deep breath.

I’ve always felt… different. As you know I have struggled with my mental health for most of my life and I have always known why, but never known how to put it into words.” I said, gearing myself up to actually say it for the first time.

Another deep breath.

I think I might be transgender – I think I would be happier if I transitioned

His suprise was palpable, but it came as no suprise to me that he probably wasn’t expecting it. I had learnt that the best cover for my internalised struggle was to be outwardly masculine. It hurt me every day to act that way, but it allowed me to ‘be normal’. 

He didn’t say anything at first, and I fumbled at my phone as I awaited his response.
I nervously explained how I had felt this way since I had started school, how this had been the thing that I had always been running away from, and how I had reached the point where it was be myself or end it. 

I was still presenting as male in public but had a ‘secret’ instagram account that I had been using to test the water and slowly get peoples responses to how I looked presenting as female. It had blown up pretty quickly, and at the time I was approaching 50,000 followers. I think he was taken aback when I showed him; by his own admission my Uncle has since said that the person sat in front of him in that moment, didn’t seem to bare a resemblance to the woman on Instagram and it was hard to correlate the two. I think he was also worried that this was just another thing for me to contend with, on top of my mental health difficulties – without realising that this was the cause of most of them!

Well, if that is what it will take for you to be happy… then do it!” said my Uncle.

Sammy is happier than ever now

I was so relieved. I chose to tell my Uncle first because we had always had a good relationship, and I knew he was probably my best bet at getting a positive response. I had been forced to move back in with my Father to avoid homelessness, a massive bigot who openly mocked the trans women that occasionally congregated in the local pub. I was terrified to tell him. I guess telling my Uncle was a trial run.

I am really scared to tell Dad…” I said, “I dunno how he is going to react

Well, you have my number, I will be there if it all goes south” my Uncle said, reassuringly.

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‘The ones the matter, don’t mind; the ones that mind, don’t matter.’

Telling my Father didn’t go so well. We ended up arguing, and I ended up with a black eye. I rang my Uncle, crying down the phone and begging him to get me out of the house. He obliged, and within 45 minutes he was at the front door helping me pack my things into the back of his van.

He and my Aunt weren’t really in a position to help me, they have 5 children between them and live in a 3 bedroom house, yet they put me up for a little over 6 months while I got myself together and gave me a safe and loving space for me to properly come to terms with who I am. My cousins embraced the real me immediately, my confidence grew and my depression slowly ebbed away. They all started using the correct pronouns. They all accepted me. 


Some relationships were never going to work post-transition. I don’t really speak to my parents or one of my siblings, and most of the people I counted as my friends are no longer part of my life. I knew that would happen. It was exactly the rejection I feared but the ones that stayed are the realest. When it comes to coming out – The ones the matter, don’t mind; the ones that mind, don’t matter.

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The journey continues


I started presenting more and more femininely, growing my hair and once I had sourced hormones – I felt SO MUCH better. I felt like me for the first time in my life.


Things have continued to improve for me as I progress through my transition. In the last 3 years, I have had some amazing experiences and opportunities, and I am happier than ever with who I am. That isn’t to say life is perfect! All my problems haven’t magically gone away – but I am finally able to process things. I still have my demons, I still have thoughts of depression, I still get anxious. I am also confident in who I am, increasingly comfortable in my body and way closer than I ever thought possible to achieve my goals. I am a work in progress.


But the real issue here is despite all the heartache, the depression, the drug addiction, the abandonment, and the stress – I am one of the lucky ones. I had support even if it was limited to a small group. My Aunt and Uncle were and still are, heroes to me. They were instrumental and without their support – I doubt I would be here today to tell this story.

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An Article by Sammy Walker

Writer, Media Contributor and Footballer based in the South-West of England. I am passionate about Sport, Education, Inclusion and Diversity. She/Her.

http://www.SammyWalker.co.uk


How the sexualisation of bisexuality closeted me – Katie Jones

Katie Jones

For todays article Proudly are sharing the incredible coming-out story of feminist blogger Katie Jones from ibaskerville.com which was set up for Katie as a safe space to talk and normalise wellbeing and sex.  Readers viewing the page can expect deep dives into gritty topics surrounding self care, sexuality, identity & health as well as conversations on art, food & reading. 

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From shaming to celebrating my bisexuality

Let me let you in on a not so well kept secret –  I am bi as heck. Throughout my life I have loved and slept with men and women and you know what? That feels damn good to say out loud.

It hasn’t always been that way though. I had always been painfully private about my bisexuality, only being honest with people if they asked me about my preference, or to my closest friends who I knew would be open and non judgmental. I kept it under wraps from boyfriends and from flings because I hate being objectified.

This privacy started when I was around 12 or 13, around the time things start to sprout and change, although admittedly those changes had begun to happen a little earlier for me. I was getting lumpy, hairy, hip-y, boob-y and ever so slightly taller. Everything was uncomfortable and embarrassing and to top it all off I had braces, bushy hair and a questionable floor length denim coat with a fur lining. So fashion. Truth is I already felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb in a bad way, so hiding, staying away from the limelight and generally staying under the radar is how I coped. The anxiety of being found out however, shaped my adolescent years.

I knew I liked girls the moment I knew I liked boys and that to me was problematic. Bisexuality was something I knew little or nothing about and was widely discounted as a “phase”. You know, testing the water and such. For some perhaps it is just that, but for me I knew it wasn’t.

There was a strange environment that surrounded sexuality when I was at school. I’m sure this has  played a part defining my position as a feminist and sex positive advocate. There was no education on bisexuality during sex-ed and there was certainly no concern for the spectrum of what sexuality could look like. School for me was a breeding ground of misinformation and ignorance. The truth is I didn’t want to put myself in the firing line if I didn’t have to be there, so I didn’t.

I didn’t want to be open about my sexuality if I knew that people would not believe me, or worse threaten to ‘turn me straight’. I couldn’t bear the thought of my peers asking me to ‘prove it’ or saying that I was “doing it for attention”, asking me for threesomes, suggesting that I was in fact straight, or worse that I was some sort of 15-year-old-horny-mega-slut looking to hoop all the boys. Safe to say that I learnt from a young age that the sexualisation of women loving women is so heavily ingrained as a misogynistic objectification that it terrified me into silence. 

The few occasions I broke this silence to previous boyfriends had found me looped into the same old, tired rhetoric. One boyfriend would poke the matter so often, asking for threesomes and extra partners that honestly, I shut down. When we broke up I would often hear from him in one way or another and it almost always had something to do with whether or not I had slept with a woman or if I was dating a girl. I felt fetishised, dirty and coveted. That experience alone made me climb way back into my shell and put me off the idea of owning my bisexuality.

This experience and my new found silence in some ways did ‘turn me straight’ by default because I knew that I would have an easier life if I publicly only dated men, which is what I have done my whole life. Even now I have chosen to pursue a relationship with a straight man despite the recent acceptance of my bisexuality. Let me just caveat that with a “don’t get me wrong”. I’m living with no regrets on my now choice because I love him dearly and wouldn’t swap him for anything in the world. Glad we ironed that out.

Although I recognise that I have been privileged in some ways by being able to make this choice. I have been able to disguise my sexualiy as hetero and as a result have had little or no issue being discriminated against for who I’m loving. But that has come at a personal cost.

There lies a little sadness, a residual melancholia of some sorts, as I’ve denied this part of myself for such a long time. When I was dating and as I’ve grown older I’ve felt like my public track record of only dating men wouldn’t make me viable as a bisexual woman. I was worried that people wouldn’t believe me. I was worried that women wouldn’t want me. I was scared I’d be no good at being with women. I was also scared of being overtly sexualised by men who I might like to get to know as well. 

So, although I’ve come out of this fairly unscathed and have no issue openly discussing things now, I’ve almost definitely felt an internal rejection to a part of myself I’ve never fully explored and embraced.

There are so many myths surrounding bisexuality that are wrongly enforced by mainstream media. These add to an existing catalogue of misinformation. Here, let me list a few;

  1. Bisexual men are actually gay 
  2. Bisexual women are actually straight 
  3. Bisexual people are promiscuous. (Often represented as greedy or slutty)
  4. Bisexual people want to have a threesome with you
  5. Bisexual people are more likely to cheat
  6. Bisexual people are ‘easy’
  7. Bisexual people have more sexual partners/ multiple sexual partners
  8. Bisexual people are unmarriable or are commitment phobes
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Having these myths reinforced time and time again has honestly made arguing about it feel like banging my head against a brick wall. The constant link to a sexual deviance shame inducing guilt is grating and soul destroying. Willfully ignorant people who refuse to acknowledge that any of the points made above are not based in fact and are damaging to people wanting to be who they openly are, make my blood boil. 

My first time at pride

Although, for a long time I half believed these representations. No doubt they have contributed to my orientational denial. It’s been impossible to come to terms with. That is until one emotional trip to Bristol Pride in 2017. It was my first ever experience of Pride. Before then I had felt like an imposter. Like I didn’t really belong. 

Nevertheless, I went with close friends to celebrate, support and dance in the Harbourside sunshine. Coming to the end of the day we reconnected with the wider group. They were carrying a Bisexual Pride Flag and were waving it boldly in the air. A little apple cider drunk and surrounded by so much rejoicing our spirits were sky-high. My friend wrapped the flag around my little sunburnt body and I remember feeling so overwhelmed at this invitation to tell people who I was. 

I’d like to say that I gracefully outed myself to the group, but it was more of a splutter. I was a deer caught in the headlights for a second. What followed was so intensely lovely that it has stayed with me ever since, despite my cider infused haze. I hadn’t anticipated the outpouring of love and support that followed. The most heartbreaking thing was that I hadn’t expected people to care. Never had I thought they would believe me and when they did without question I am not ashamed to say that I cried. Quite a lot

Finding peace and acceptance within my sexuality

This acceptance and total belief in my bisexuality sent a wave of relief through my body because I knew that I could finally be totally unashamed of this part of myself. I could live without the fear of not being believed. Even if it was questioned I felt validated enough to be strong in my resolve. I had been accepted and of course I would have been. It’s not like I’m the only bisexual woman to ever walk the Earth. That’s when it really hit home because I accepted the normalisation, and have done ever since.

Navigating the dating scene since then I have been braver and perhaps a little bold on my journey to finding someone to fall in love with. When I finally met my boyfriend I was honest from the get go about my bisexuality and he has done nothing but accept and celebrate it with me. What more could I ask for?

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Katie Jones

Katie is a London based writer and feminist blogger who’ll stop at nothing to normalise wellbeing, self acceptance & sex. We highly recommend readers to see Katie’s blog and you can check it out here.