RingSide Report

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LGBTQ+ Indepth With… Nathan Reynolds

Exclusive Interview by Karen Beishuizen
Photos courtesy of Nathan Reynolds

Nathan is 42 and lives in Manchester, UK. He is married to Dave since 2016. He enjoys walking with his pooch and socializing with friends. If he wins the lottery, he will retire and open a dog sanctuary for pooches who can’t be rehomed. They can roam free in a big field where they will get lots of love and attention.

KB: Where were you born and how was it growing up?

I was born in Oldham. My father passed away when I was 4 then at the age of 5, we uprooted sticks to a small village in North Wales. I had a happy childhood. Money was tight but you were grateful for what you had.

KB: How old were you when you realized you were gay and what made you think this?

From the age of 10 I started to look at boy’s my age differently, then in high school my feelings grew stronger. At a young age I really didn’t understand what being gay was although you heard about it in the school classroom (banter between the lads). I remember Brookside aired the first lesbian kiss and so did Eastenders in the early 90s. Watching these soaps made you feel you weren’t alone, but I recall there was a lot of stigmata about the scenes. By 2000 as Queer as folk came onto our TV screens and this was a real eye opener!

KB: When did you come out as gay?

Officially I was 18 when I told my close friends. I met a lad a year older than me, and we were together for 18 months (sounds like a lifetime in gay terms). However, I didn’t come out to my mum and family until I was 23. I remember asking my mum for a chat and we went to the kitchen. I told her that I had met someone (another ex-boyfriend), and I was moving in with him. She gave me a hug and said she would always be there for me. It’s a lot easier coming out now than it was 10-15 years ago.

KB: How did your family and friends react?

My close family and friends were great, and I am lucky in that aspect.

KB: Did they know at your workplace / School / University you were gay?

In school I had a lot of friends that were girls, and I kept my sexuality a secret. In a way I was scared of what people would think and the reaction it would cause especially at a young age. As the years went on, I had a knack of keeping quiet about it and being one of the lads. Although me and my old pal (Sarah) loved playing house in her garden shed after school. She didn’t say anything even though it was bit of a giveaway. Living in a small Welsh town I don’t think I was overly flamboyant ….

But I can proudly say I was the only gay in the village! In College I became friends with a new group but again I didn’t say anything. I didn’t tell anyone, even at work and people didn’t question me despite never having a girlfriend. At the age of 18 I moved to Chester and got a job in the Grosvenor Hotel. I remember I was on the breakfast shift and the girl I was working alongside asked me if she could have a word. I knew what was coming and my mouth went dry. She asked, “are you gay?” I paused for a few seconds and my chest went tight, and I said “Yes”. Looking back, it wasn’t all that bad.

KB: Where did you meet your husband and when did you get married?

I met Dave in 2006 on a street corner. Yes, on a street corner! I was out and it was a busy bank holiday weekend. Getting a taxi was a nightmare. I was in a queue that stretched round the corner of the street. I was with a bunch of people and so was he. Dave pinched a slice of pizza that I bought, and I responded saying he was rude. The rest is history. We later married in October 2016.

KB: What do you think of all the religions out there who still see being gay as a sin?

I appreciate some countries have strict laws and views, so everyone is entitled to their opinion. I always say love comes naturally. Hate is taught.

KB: Did you ever have hate experiences or incidents?

Unfortunately, my mum’s ex-partner was hostile when he and my mum parted ways. He sent me some homophobic texts which in the end I had to get a restraining order against him. Except for that incident, I can honestly say I’m very fortunate to have come across genuinely nice people and I take people on face value. That’s not to say hate crime doesn’t exist.

KB: Homosexuality is still a crime in many countries around the world. How do you feel about this?

I think it’s quite sad that people can’t express who they want to be or who they love. I suppose it’s like I had a secret when I was growing up, but it must be a whole lot worse living in a country knowing you could be jailed or even killed for it.

KB: What would you like to say to all the homophobes out there?

They can kiss my ass.

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