Pride of the North West: Sam discusses the struggle of not fitting in as a black gay man

A student living in Manchester has opened up about how his Caribbean heritage made him fearful to come out as gay.

Sam Redman is a third year student attending the University of Manchester and uses he/him/his pronouns.

The 21-year-old said he knew he was a gay man from a very young age, but is on a journey in terms of accepting who he is.

He said: "I knew from about five that I was gay, but it has been a journey of accepting and it's still a journey of acceptance.

"I'm really proud of who I am, I'm really proud to be a black gay man."

Sam remembers coming out to his best friend when he was in secondary school in Year 8 as they were walking home from school.

"I came out to my best friend when I was 13 and it makes me laugh because to me I've always been gay," he said.

"I remember just turning to him and saying, 'I think I'm gay'.

In response, his friend said: "That's absolutely fine, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to, or you didn't have to."

Sam remembered feeling a sense of comfort and relaxation once he opened up to his friend about his sexuality.

He continued: "I'm really lucky, especially coming from a Jamaican background.

"With regards to Jamaica, I know there is a lot of homophobia, so growing up I was really scared that I wasn't going to be accepted by my family."

However, Sam says that could not even be further from the truth. His family have been extremely supportive of who he is.

Sam as a baby with his Dad

He added: "My nan, I love her, she's my biggest supporter, including my mum, sister and dad so I am really appreciative of them to be so welcoming and so accepting."

Sam said the struggle of being a black as well as a gay man is very apparent, something he says is due to historical and social constructs.

Sam Redman at a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020

He said: "You feel like you can be gay to an extent, but you can't fully fit in because you're too black, or when you are in a predominantly black spaces you feel like you're scared that people might perceive you of being too gay which is really sad.

"It stokes this sense of loneliness where you feel like you can't fulfill both spaces."

Because of this Sam says that at university he has really gone out of his way to find a community and people that understand how he feels.

Credit: Sam Redman

"I'm really thankful for my friends and my community who have really helped me to understand who I am."

Sam's advice to anyone wanting to coming out: "Just exist and be happy and know that you are loved and there are people waiting for you when you want to come out or don't feel like you have to.

"There is someone here for you and we are always going to have your back."

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