Dear Daniel Howell: How do I come out after realising I'm gay in my 30s?

Daniel Howell first appeared on our screens, not with a bang, but with a small salute and the immortal phrase ‘Hello internet’.

Since then, he’s become one of the UK’s most iconic YouTube stars, becoming one half of Dan and Phil, racking up more than six million subscribers, and providing laughter, sarcasm, and just a spot of existentialism along the way.

In 2019, Daniel received widespread praise for his coming out video, Basically I’m Gay, a 45-minute offering that saw him reveal that he’d come out to his family and was now coming out, publicly, to his subscribers (and, by extension, kind of the whole internet).

Now, he’s going on tour with his show We’re All Doomed, which he describes as a ‘night of savage self-deprecation, soul-searching [in which] Dan over-shares his deepest fears and desires.’

But today, in the spirit of his Internet Support Group, Daniel is Metro.co.uk’s newest LGBTQ+ agony aunt.

Dear Daniel, I’m in my 30s and have recently been coming to terms with the fact I’m gay. What’s the best way to come out to the people close to me, especially when it feels like others around me figured out their sexuality much earlier in life?

Hi! Are you me? As someone who only barely managed to come out when they were 28 … and came out to my family via email, I feel like the best and worst person to give you advice here.

Firstly – please feel no shame over taking your time to come to terms with your sexuality. Everyone has their own fun adventure through identity that is inextricably intertwined with how supportive the world around you has been. I was a complete traumatised mess that was living in denial until in 2019 I typed the words “I’m gay” and knew I had just honestly accepted it for the first time.

I tried to come out so many times – Christmas (didn’t want to make Jesus’ day all about me), Boxing Day (couldn’t interrupt Planet Earth), Mum’s birthday (how could I?), Easter (sorry again Jesus) – until I knew it was all simply excuses for my fear and sent an email just saying ‘Basically I’m Gay’. And it worked! Ripped the plaster right off and all the emotional phone calls and slightly awkward conversations came and went.

If you want to sit people down individually and say ‘I want to share something with you’, I would hope the people in your life will support you and you will feel even closer to them now you can truly be yourself. If you are a complete antisocial anxiety-riddled introverted and generally people-disliking hermit like me: email, group text with a camp .gif, throw a paper aeroplane coloured like a rainbow through the window and duck – any way is the best way, just do it!

Just remember that when they say ‘I always knew!!’ to reply ‘it’s literally not about you Heather can you have some bloody empathy’. Good luck. Welcome to the rest of your life. Enjoy it!

Tickets for Daniel Howell’s tour We’re All Doomed are available here.

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