Sharing our stories can be a tremendous encouragement to those who are wrestling with comparable issues. As part of the #BeYourself campaign, we hope stories like Ciaran’s below will help inspire others in the LGBT community to be themselves and affirm that we are worthy of having a voice, worthy of being heard, worthy of being cared for, and worthy of being loved.
Hi my name is Ciaran Ryan. I am 25 years old. I have been currently living in Dublin for almost 5 years now. I am here to write a short piece about embracing who you are and being free to #BeYourself.
I am originally from a small town in Co. Westmeath called Kinnegad. For me, growing up as a kid into my late teenage years, I found it extremely difficult to actually express who I really am as a person. There was always that constant fear of really being myself in case the people looked at me differently. I found that when growing up in the country and in a small town, the people can be lot more narrow minded towards you than the way they may approach a straight person.
I found it so difficult from my point of view to come out to my family and friends when living in Kinnegad as I felt that so many problems could arise from it. Even when I knew some of my friends had an idea I was gay, I still felt like it could not be accepted there. I always found this a struggle to speak with my parents about, as like every gay kid who just expects the worst reaction coming out of their parents when they tell them this news. But it always wasn’t that bad as I had the support from all my close and new friends whenever I needed them.
It wasn’t until I moved to Dublin that everything changed for the better in so many ways. I finally had my very own life that I had wanted for so long, and it was finally my time to express who I really was as a person. After a year of living in Dublin, I gained the courage to come out to my parents as being gay. I will never forget that day as I worried so much about it. When I finally told my parents in my family house in Westmeath I was gay, I was still welcomed with opening arms by my parents and to them telling me nothing will ever change, Ciaran, everything will be still the same. For me this was just the greatest relief off my shoulders. From this moment on I knew I was unstoppable.
From living in Dublin, I have made so many friends from all over the globe who have helped me become a more creative person with myself and allowing me to learn things about myself which I never knew about and I am forever grateful for. One of these amazing people is my husband Luis Noguera who I met here in Dublin and is originally from Venezuela.
For me to #BeYourself is a very important factor in life. Never be afraid to let your voice be heard in situations that you may feel uncomfortable about. Stand up tall and be proud of who you are. Follow the interests that you have and share them with people. Don’t let the hurtful criticism get to you; it is you being the better person, not them. Always be true to yourself and kind, I promise it will get you so many places in life.