Being 'Dylan Frost'
by Dylan Frost
My name is not really Dylan Frost. Well, that's only partially true; I am called Dylan, but Frost is just a name I picked out of thin air and is just a surname I like.
Why did I choose to use a fake name?
Well, the answer if gonna be obvious to most of you (probably because I've already admitted it in the Facebook group). I am still in the closet.
When I tell people this (which I do usually online, anonymously), they just can't believe it! They assure me that I will be fine, accepted, embraced … but I'm not so sure.
I love my family, but I don't like them. They are prejudice against pretty much everything. Girls should be 'girly', boys should be 'laddish'. Foreigners should “go back to where they came from”. And gay people? The word I always heard whenever 'gay' was mentioned was 'pervert'. In fact, I knew the word 'queer' before I really heard the word 'gay'.
I have brothers and sisters. One of the girls knows about me. I decided to tell her when I was 22, and she cried for about an hour. She was the more liberal of the lot, so I thought it would be okay to tell her. We were pretty close, and I just needed to tell someone. So I told her.
After she finished crying, she hugged me, and told me that I would be 'alright'.
We have never spoken of it again, since.
So, I don't tell my family! Big deal, huh? What about friends?
Without going into too much detail, I'm in sports and it is VERY homophobic. Calling someone a 'faggot', 'queer', 'batty boy', and loads of other different ways of saying 'gay' in a hurtful way is what gets said a hundred times during practice, from my teammates to the coaches.
So I have this double life.
The me that I show the world is a sports player, who everyone assumes is 'shy' because I never bring a girl home. I drink beer and joke with my mates. Though I have stopped it now, I also used to use gay slurs during practice. It's all part of the mask I wear to keep my true self hidden.
My true self. Do I even have one?
I am most true to myself when I am Dylan Frost. He is a member of Arcadia LGBTQ+ Doncaster, he is always on Twitter, mad for Stonewall and other LGBT organisations, and he write about 10 posts per day on Reddit. He is strong, supportive, and informed. He is everything I want to be.
But as soon as I turn off my PC, he's gone, and I am me. And I think I hate being me.
Last year I hatched a plan.
I was going to change my name (to Dylan Frost), move to London, get a job, cut off all ties to my family and friends, and start a life being me. I was going to be the person I always wanted to be. I wanted to date cute guys and hold their hand while walking through Soho. If anyone at home found out, then I would be too far away for them to hurt me. I would be free.
But I couldn't do it.
I don't like my parents. I don't like my brothers or sisters. But I LOVE my nephews. I am so proud of them, it's unreal. I spoil them rotten every time I see them, and I spend more money on their birthdays and Christmas' than I do with everyone else's combined. I don't want to lose them. I can't lose them.
And I would definitely lose them.
My mum and dad think all gays are paedophiles. A sentiment that most of my brothers and sisters share to some degree. They seem to be obsessed with them, because that's all they talk about. Random old man says hello to the boys while we're out; pedo. Some guy lives on his own, keeps himself to himself; pedo. One of our neighbours is a gay man; pedo.
If I told them I was sexually attracted to other guys, I would probably get the same label. They probably wouldn't trust me around the boys any more, and I can't lose them.
So I continue to live my double life. I meet guys online, usually far away, an hour or more drive, just to make sure they won't be connected in some way to the people in my life. Sometimes I drive for two hours to meet some guy who looks nothing like his pictures, or is rude, arrogant … or just not what he said he would be.
And I want to be in love.
I have been in love.
I fell in love with one of my teammates, actually. We'll call him Rob.
Me and Rob were real close and often would go to the cinema or go drinking together, if none of the other lads were around. One night, when we were both really drunk, he told me he would sometimes watch gay porn, and wondered what it would be like to kiss a guy.
Yep, you guessed it. We kissed.
It was out of the world. It was passionate, steamy, sexy, amazing! There was a little over-the-clothes action, then we stopped. He apologised. I should have told him then.
After that, Rob distanced himself from me. He stopped replying to my texts, or when he did, he would often just put a 'yes' or a 'no' and that be that. We stopped hanging out.
My heart was broken. I cried a lot (I know I shouldn't be ashamed to say it, but I am). I wanted to be with him so badly, and was sure he felt the same. I admit to trying to engineer times where we could end up alone together, like on a night out, or invite him to something and pretend the other guys had cancelled. But he realised pretty quickly what was going on.
One time, I decided to ask him about it.
It was after a match which we had lost, but we were drinking like winners anyway, and by the end of the night we all piled back to a mate's house for more drinking. Everyone pretty much passed out where they stood, but Rob was still standing, and even though I had drunk a lot, the adrenalin of what I was going to do seemed to counter the alcohol.
We were alone in the kitchen and he was going on about something, I don't remember, but it was like he had forgotten that he was distancing himself from me and was just chatting to me like old times. It was nice. I felt comfortable.
So I asked him; “do you ever feel like kissing again?” I tried to ask in an off-hand way, with a grin on my face, like I was trying to be all cool about it, even though I was sweating with anxiety.
It was like I had shot him. His eyes went wide and he went real still. Then he punched me in the face. Hard. He caught me just above my eye and somehow cut the skin. There was a lot of blood, though there wasn't much of a wound.
He left the house. I sat on my own for a bit, smoking and knocking back shots of something gross, then I walked home too. It took me about 3 hours, and by the time I got back, my face was really swollen and there was blood everywhere. Rob was a big lad, and he had some strength on him.
We've never talked since.
Loads of people asked me about my face, and I just said I got jumped walking home. Loads of people asked for descriptions and promised to “find the bastards”, but as the bruises faded, so did everyone's interest.
Life went back to how it was before, except I was scared. I was scared Rob was going to say or do something to out me to the team. I expected at any minute to suddenly be the target of everyone's hate. It was driving me crazy.
I started having anxiety attacks before practice. Every time I walked in to the changing rooms I was waiting for the abuse. It never came. I suppose Rob would have to explain himself if he were to out me, and that was my protection. But I was terrified.
In the end, I went to my doctor, who gave me some tablets. They had some side effects that weren't very nice, but they helped. I turned to Dylan Frost more and more. I stopped going to most of the social events with my club, and now spend most of my free time online.
I'm not sure what else I have to say. Mine is not an inspiring story of courage, bravery or fighting adversity. It's a story of hiding who you are because of fear. My life is dominated by it.
Don't let yours be dominated by fear. Use the resources out there. Join groups. Talk to people. Don't be Dylan Frost … be yourself.