I realised I was gay when I was 15. Kids in my school that came out got bullied quite a lot for it, so I kept myself hidden away and didn’t express my sexuality. Shortly after, I came out to my brother. My mum overheard. She was crying and she said “Jak, please, please tell me you’re not gay.” And I said “Yes I’m sorry, but I am.” It made me feel like I’m a failure, that I’d let my family down.
My mum gave me an ultimatum. She said, “You can change or you can leave.” I couldn’t face hiding anymore and so I left. I lost my home, my family and everything I owned. I got really depressed because I didn’t want to exist.
My school were incredible. They would give me leftover school meals so I had food to eat. They paid for me to buy some shoes so I could go to a job interview. They signed up to be a Stonewall champion school.
Stonewall showed me there was a future – that there was hope for people like me. Every single person fighting my corner, or fighting the corner of LGBT people, is one more voice against all of the hate – and there is a lot.
Stonewall’s purpose is to make sure that nobody has to go through what I went through, and we’re a long way from that happening. If we’re going to get there, they need your help. Stonewall gave me the hope that things would get better. Stonewall saved my life.