A gay UK firefighter’s heartwarming coming out story has won the internet. Nick Couch has been with the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service for around 24 years and he says it took him time to find courrage to come out to his colleagues.
“I knew for a long time that I was gay. To find the courage to tell all the guys on the station, it was gonna be sort of a tough nut to crack,” Couch said in the video that was put out by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.
Couch, who is based at the Honiton fire station, said that he was just 18 when he joined the fire services. Couch revealed he pretended to have a girlfriend as he was not sure if his colleagues would be accepting of his sexuality.
“(I thought) Oh, I’d better have a girlfriend, because everybody else had wives. Should I turn up say and ‘oh yeah, here is my guy’. Imagine that. Would I have done it sooner? I don’t know. I don’t know if I was ready. I thought I have to be ready myself,” said Couch.
Coming Out At 25
The firefighter says he knew by 19 that he was gay but he didn’t come out to his family till he was 25.
“My sister was the first one (I came out to). I wrote a letter and put it through her door,” he recalled with a chuckle.
Couch said he wrestled with coming out to his colleagues, which he eventually did in 1997. The reception to his coming out was not what he expected.
“I’d like to think that everybody liked me at the station and then to come out and say to everybody that I was gay. I didn’t want them to think any different of me. I came out in ’97. I came out to the guys and they were so accepting, they were amazing. It never changed the way they thought about me or the way that we worked as a team. So yeah, it was a weight off the shoulders after telling them all.”
‘We Live In A Different Culture’
Couch said he liked being a firefighter, working as a team in the community and hearing back from the families of victims they had rescued.
His message to others who are thinking about coming out: “My advice to anyone that is scared to come out is to embrace the moment. They obviously have to be ready in themselves to find the courage to come out. You will be really accepted.”
“We live in a different culture now where it is so widely accepted in life. You shouldn’t be afraid of who you want to be. Just embrace the moment and enjoy life,” added Couch who is engaged to his partner of many years.