In response, Hugh was informed that his career prospects would be damaged if he identified as “anything but straight.”
“To add to the confusion, the two mentors who told me this were openly gay themselves; they were earnestly trying to protect me and did indeed have my best interests at heart,” he continued. “That was just the reality.”
“Figuring out that I connected with the same sex the way I did the opposite sex was almost a relief, so that advice was confusing.”
“I now know that they were coming from a place of caring. The way it was explained to me was that women wouldn’t want to pay to see a movie or TV show if they knew they couldn’t have sex with the leading man. And it made me angry. It had taken me that long to meet a guy I liked that I didn’t want to hide it and I didn’t feel the need to. So I was loud about it.”
When this relationship eventually broke down, Hugh started seeing a woman. Although this time, he was too “embarrassed” to take things public.
“In many ways, I wish I didn’t have to write this, but I feel a responsibility to others who may come after me,” he added.
“People will read this and say, ‘He’s not coming out. He’s bisexual. He’s asexual. Or non-binary. Or queer. Or fluid.’ There are all these words that didn’t exist when I was younger and maybe if they had, they would have helped. But the fact that these labels keep popping up indicate there must be a lot more people out there who feel how I feel – like the words still don’t fit. Maybe this is also my way of letting people know that I’m still single, and everyone is on the smorgasbord.”
He concluded: “By sharing my story now, and becoming more transparent, maybe I can help to give others who are private a break. We might live and let them live as they wish.”
In a follow-up interview with The Daily Telegraph, Hugh said he was touched by how much support he had received since putting pen to paper.
“I’ve honestly been completely overwhelmed with how many people really related to what I was saying, especially about taking your time and not having to pick a label straight away,” he said, adding that his inbox had been flooded with direct messages on social media.
“I’m slowly responding, but some are very emotional, it’s quite a lot to take in so soon after opening up.”
But above all? He’s relieved that he no longer has anything to hide.
“I think I’ve genuinely helped, that’s all I wanted to do,” he said. “I know my story would’ve helped me when I was younger so I guessed there were others needing it now. I’m just surprised how many people are feeling the same and I’m glad they know they’re not alone, in turn I know I’m not either.”