Personal Space caught up with Josiah to delve deeper into his story and to learn more about his experience.
Raised in a village so old-fashioned that an unwed mother would still turn heads, Josiah struggled against the norms placed upon him by such a small community, especially because at the same time, he was enrolled in a large school.
“It was quite nerve-wracking because I went from a village with 2,000 people to a school with over 2,000 people, which in England is a lot," Josiah explained. "So I was in a very big school going back to a very small village. It was all happening at the same time and a bit scary for me.“
The culture shock caused him to feel pressure coming from both sides... but he soon realized the real source of his turmoil was actually internal.
“For me to come out as gay was quite a big thing," Josiah shared. "Where I lived it’s not normalized, so it’s also really, really scary and I was apprehensive. But I realized that actually it should be normalized. It shouldn't be a thing. My sister never rang up my parents and said that she's straight. So I don't feel like I need to ring up my parents to say that I'm gay.”
While onboard My Seanna in Season 6, the audience also saw Josiah opening up to his crewmate about being gay as well. "I never felt the need to come out to people, I don’t think people should come out, you should just live your best life being who you are," he explained.
“I had a great upbringing. My mom and dad are very supportive, but it wasn’t really about what your parents think, what your friends and family think, it’s actually about yourself and how you can deal with it," Josiah explained to Personal Space. "Because I knew that my parents would be fine if I ever came out to them. It was more about me understanding it and me being OK with it was the hardest part.”
When it comes to advice for people grappling with coming out, Josiah spoke both to his deeply personal situation and also to the larger community. “For some people, it’s harder to speak to your friends and family than it is to speak to a stranger. If you're really scared about coming out to your parents or anything, go to a counselor or therapist and speak to them for support," Josiah recommended.
"But for me it was about recognizing myself, thinking to myself, I didn't know if I could tell my parents, I didn’t know if it was going to be OK, I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. Then all of a sudden it clicked and I thought actually it's very normal to be like this and my parents are going to be OK with it. It was me that was having trouble.”
Josiah also spoke to the importance of finding a good group of friends to function as a chosen family for support. “I went and started yachting before I even told [my parents] anything,” he reflected on the start of his yachting career in Fort Lauderdale.
There he learned the importance of a chosen family. “I call them my American family. I can tell them anything that I want to and they were really supportive of me when I started talking to my mum more openly about myself. I could speak to them because they know what it’s like to go through it. I think it helps that I've got a bit of an old soul so I’m friends with people that are a bit older than me so they’ve already come out to their parents and knew what to say and knew what to do.”
Josiah has found that sharing his story on Below Deck has had a positive effect as well.
“So many people have messaged me on Instagram or have left comments on my photos that said, ‘I’ve been through what you've been through and it made me a stronger person.' So many people have shared that they'd really been able to relate to what happened to me in their own way whether it's coming out or whether it's being bullied," Josiah said.
Although all social media feedback hasn’t been as positive for him (and likely isn't for anyone), Josiah explained how he doesn't let it get to him.
“I think you should just live your best life. I used to worry too much about what people thought of me and then I realized I'm not going to do that for someone else. I want to be myself and if other people don't like it then they don’t like it. Live your absolute best life, live your happiest life, and enjoy yourself. There's no point in sitting inside, crying about something that upsets you, so just brush it off," he concluded. "Even now, people still comment on my posts and send me private messages that are not very nice at all ... I just let it roll off like water off a duck's back.”
Tune in for a special Pride Marathon on Bravo on Friday, June 28 from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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