Vicky Beeching has choosen this week to came out as gay publicly for the first time.

In several interviews yesterday, Vicky talked about her background – growing up in the Pentecostal church, then the evangelical wing of the Church of England, and dealing with her feelings and attraction to women from a very early age.

“Realising that I was attracted to [women] was a horrible feeling. I was so embarrassed and ashamed. It became more and more of a struggle because I couldn’t tell anyone.

I increasingly began to feel like I was living behind an invisible wall. The inner secrecy of holding that inside was divorcing me from reality – I was living in my own head. Anybody I was in a friendship with, or anything I was doing in the church, was accompanied by an internal mantra: ‘What if they knew?’ It felt like all of my relationships were built on this ice that would break if I stepped out on to it.”

Vicky Beeching

At 23, her songwriting took her to Nashville, and for six years, she lived in the ‘fire-and-brimstone’ heart of conservative America, recording albums and touring the country’s vast churches. She also entered into a contract with Christian music branch of EMI, who had a “morality clause”, in which “any behaviour deemed to be immoral” would be a breach of contract.

Then life changed. Vicky was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease called linear scleroderma morphea, which led extensive chemotherapy.

“I looked at my arm with the chemotherapy needle poking out, I looked at my life, and thought, ‘I have to come to terms with who I am.”

Vicky Beeching

In recovery, Beeching went to visit Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall, who put her in touch with some out lesbians: the BBC newsreader Jane Hill, sports presenter Clare Balding and her wife, Alice Arnold, the former Radio 4 newsreader. “They said, ‘Be yourself and everything will follow.” Which led her to come out publicly.

“Publishing an interview with the Independent has been incredibly nerve-wracking for me. I’m nervous about the ways in which social media will respond. And how my conservative community and friends will respond.

But my hope is that there will be positivity as well as negativity from people of faith, and that it might encourage other Christians who feel unable to speak up about their sexuality to find the courage and freedom to do so.

We need to break the silence around the taboo of sexuality in the church and enable one another to speak about it more openly. I’m hopeful we’ll see a shift toward this direction.”

Vicky Beeching

 

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