A gay man has opened up about his the challenges he faced coming out as a firefighter
Nick Couch is a firefighter at the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, a job he started doing at the age of 18 and continued on for 24 years.
In a YouTube video, posted by the service this week, Nick opened up about his experience coming-of-age in the role, an event he called “a tough nut to crack”, and his fears around what his colleagues might think finding out he is gay.
In the video, Nick explains how he felt the need to pretend he had a girlfriend when he first started the job:
“I think because I was so young, like, when I knew and then I thought, like, even walking around the high street, ‘oh, I’ve just joined the fire service at 18, oh I’d better have a girlfriend’ because everyone else had wives and everything else Imagine if I turned up and said ‘Here’s my guy’”, he told the camera.
When asked if he would have done it (come out) any sooner, Couch replied: “I don’t know, I don’t know if I was ready”, before explaining that he eventually did come out to family at the age of 25, which his first step being a letter to his sister to tell her.
Talking about coming out to the rest of the world, which he did in 1997, Nick said “I didn’t want anyone to think ant different of me”, and the relief he felt when they didn’t:
“Came out to the guys and they were so accepting, amazing, brilliant. They never thought any different about me”, said Couch, before admitting it was a “weight off my shoulders”.
Nick closes with some advice for anyone thinking about coming out: “My advice to anyone scared to come out is to embrace the moment” adding that you have to be ready in yourself to have the courage, but that “you shouldn’t be afraid of who you wanna be”.
It’s a heartwearming lil’ video that you can view below (two minutes in for the gay stuff) or by clicking here.