I know it’s very council estate but the other day I just left home and looked over my shoulder and suddenly realised just how happy I am living here with who I am living with.
Sure, I’d love a mansion big enough for all the family or, better yet, a large house with houses in the grounds for family so they all get their own space.
Home is just such a special space though, wherever it may be. It’s tatty and run down on the outside, the garden is overgrown and if anyone wants a meter reading I’m in trouble but, it’s where I live and love, it’s home.
Anywhere can be home though, it’s not so much a location as the place where we share love. There are many places I feel at home, places I can happily lay my head and feel safe.
Since having a house with my name on it I have totally up 4, two in Basildon, two in Northampton, probably lived here longer than any of them! We moved in this place in March of 2003, on Matt’s birthday as it happens and, not the best of birthdays for him. If it could have gone wrong it did. Let me fill this story out more. I guess a picture speaks a thousand words
Firstly, the safe bit … when I came out in … OK, I came out several times but I started living as a gay man in 1995 and I thought it would be really useful to set up an online group for other gay men around the country who were like me, married and with the realisation that they were gay. The group worked well, I helped thousands of men, literally saved some lives and improved the lives of many men and couples. This success had a twist I wasn’t expecting and wasn’t prepared for. I became saleable. To me all publicity was good publicity, it had to help people to get the message out there and so, at first I did some magazines.
The results were rewarding, membership grew and many more families were helped. I also got asked to do radio as well which I gladly did. Local radio at first then national and leading on to International with a guest spot on a radio show in the States somewhere. Again, the only impact this had was positive so, I didn’t see the harm. Then the TV offers appeared. This is where things went very wrong!
It seems like common sense now but my brain didn’t figure that there was a world of difference between appearing on low grade media to starring in an hour long C4 documentary! I was so keen to get the message out that it didn’t cross my mind that I’d be putting anyone at risk but this is exactly what I did.
Not only was there the documentary but the morning the show was aired we were in London filming a promo gig for ‘This Morning’. Yes, it is all kind of glamourous, expensive hotels and the such like, certainly an experience and then:
In desperation I opted to do more press, anything to try and demonstrate we would not be beaten, to try and show that this couldn’t be how people could be treated.
The problem was, the adults behind the attack knew how to work the system, they got their kids and their friends to do the physical assaults, encouraged them heavily to do whatever they liked. Because the eldest, an Ashley Nestor, was just 15 at the time the police handled him very delicately. He was asked to go for an interview and treated to McDonalds first, they warned him over and over that if he didn’t stop they would prosecute him but they never did of course. At the request of our landlord they installed a camera and recording equipment then openly admitted they told this Ashley which area the camera covered (to avoid unpleasantness in the community). In other words, they’d rather sacrifice our family that deal with the crime and consequences.
After nearly 3 years we were moved for our own safety.
Honestly, I loved that house when we moved there in 1995, it was like a dream location compared to where we’d come from. The TV had a plus side in that it finally forced me and my wife into making a decision and divorcing. It wasn’t that we’d stopped loving each other, I really do not feel that was ever an issue, more that my sexuality was never going to make our marriage fulfilling for either of us.
I have skipped many details, some really nasty stuff, physical assaults, hospitals and so on.
Me & Matt did make an informed decision to do one last piece for ‘The Sun’, the money was good and on this one we were right, there was no negatives.
Now it is just this blog and the usual social media that we all use. I have no desire to ‘go public’ again, we’ve done our bit and I can tell you something for nothing, likely not one of the thousands of guys and their family I helped ever give me a moments thought but, that’s fine. I can but hope that their home is as happy as mine.