My friend Ian passed away last night after after battling with cancer. I first met him in London three years ago while photographing him for the Gay Men Project, and he has been one of my strongest supporters ever since. Thanks Ian, for everything, I wanted to share your story one last time. Lots of love to you, my friend, and I’ll do the best with everything I can 😉
Ian, in his own words:“Maybe I was lucky but I don’t really remember there being any big deal about coming out. I was about 15 or 16 and pretty confident about stuff, I had always known I was gay and I was never any good at hiding things. I started subscribing to gay news in about 1977 (when I was 15) and this used to arrive in a brown paper envelope. I was also obsessed with gay literature and on my bookshelves there was Edmund White’s, a boy’s own story, Gore Vidal’s, city and the pillar and James Baldwin’s, Giovanni’s room to name but a few – so it was pretty obvious to anyone who cared to look and my poor mum cleaned my room in those days!!!. It was the time of punk and I was a little obsessed with the Tom Robinson Band and in 1977 or 78 they had a rising free EP out which included the song “glad to be gay”. I remember buying this in the local WH Smith (it reached nos 18 in the UK charts) and playing on repeat for hours. So I don’t think anyone in my house had any doubts!!! I recall a conversation with my mum in the kitchen of our house in Newport Gwent when I was about 16 – I guess you can call this my coming out moment but my mum told me she already knew. I think I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping for a bit of a reaction (I liked to court reaction in those days!).
I never actually had “the” conversation with my dad it was just sort of presumed really. I vaguely remember my sister being a bit upset when I told her but she was upset because I had not told her before!
So all in all pretty straightforward and not really an issue or big deal. Mind you looking back I’m amazed at how brazen I was from such a young age!!!”