When I was discovering my sexuality, and coming out in the early to mid-noughties I felt extremely alone. I grew up in a very religious, Christian community where I went to church multiple times a week, sang in the church youth band, and was a faith-based youth leader and community outreach worker for my church. The first time I tried to test the waters telling someone what I was feeling and realising about myself, I was met with a very typical but nonetheless hurtful, “That’s disgusting and so wrong!”.
Growing up, I had never been any good at making close friends. I always found myself in a large group of friends, I was rarely totally alone, but I still felt disconnected and on the outside. Reading has always been a true love of mine and growing up feeling disconnected from my sometimes-troubled world, I often sought refuge in the books I read. The characters were my friends and family, and their experiences and adventures were mine too.