Before I came out , I led a busy, social if fairly asexual life.
I had a large urban family of friends , most of whom I still keep in touch with, had a good job in a city that was as interesting as it was grubby and was as happy as I could ever be.
But I was gay and then hadn't quite let the cat out of the bag to myself so to speak
In this Pride week I recalled a moment that helped turn the tables on my slightly apathetic closet lifestyle
And it was all to do with Sheffield's Central city library's reference reading room.
I used to go there on a spare day off or a morning before a late shift.
I always liked the desks that all pointed in the same direction . The fact you only saw the back of people's heads as they studied and the delightfully Deco wooden book filled shelves and the giant metal rimmed windows that filtered the light from Surrey Street and Tudor Square
That day I was reading. I can't remember what ...but I do remember a young man walking by my seat from behind with his rucksack creaking as he brushed past. He half turned his head as he passed and dropped a small piece of paper in front of me before walking to the front of the seating area then turning right and back out of the room.
He had thick dark hair and wore a untidy green jumper like students often do.
I was suddenly conscious that other people may have seen his note drop and I felt strangely embarrassed by it, but carefully I opened the paper and read a Sheffield telephone number proceeded by the name Alan.
I had been cruised!
Cruised in the Sheffield City Library!
I may have not fully recognised my own gayness back then but thankfully someone else had and from almost nowhere and one phone call later I had my first proper gay date with a guy called Alan who had a scruffy green jumper and who lived in Sheffield.🌈🌈🌈