Marie Claire speaks to founder of new website which encourages users to post snaps of ill-fated unions
So, your first love was actually gay? There's no reason to hide all those old snaps away. Celebrate that ill-fated union by posting them online instead. We spoke to the founder of myhighschoolboyfriendwasgay.com, Damian Bellino (pictured with his date Alex before his highschool prom).
So, what was the inspiration behind your website?
People assume that gay guys have no experience of dating girls, but they are so wrong. Most of us did before we came out, with hilarious results. So we decided to ask people to share those experiences through their old photos.
How was the response?
Phenomenal. Thousands of people around the world have sent us their snaps.
So what's your story?
I asked my best female friend to the prom. I remember her looking great in her purple dress, but thinking, 'wow you're so beautiful and I love your clothes, but why don't I want to kiss you?' I was so confused, but I didn't have a label for my feelings.
So in a way the site is a place for people to bond over a tricky stage in their lives?
Yes, it's about looking at past tragedy and laughing because of how far we've come. There's a sense of relief that we no longer need to conform.
This article appears in the current issue of Marie Claire - on sale now.
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Andrea Thompson is Editor in Chief at Marie Claire UK and was recently named by We are the City as one of the UKs top 50 trailblazers for her work highlighting the impact of Covid on gender equality.
Andrea has worked as a senior journalist for a range of publications over her 20 year career including The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, Channel 4, Glamour and Grazia. At Marie Claire Andrea is passionate about telling the stories of those often marginalised by the mainstream media and oversaw a feature about rape in the Congo that won the title an Amnesty Media Award. She also champions women's empowerment, sustainability and diversity and regularly chairs panels and speaks at events about these topics. She sits on the committee of the British Society of Magazine Editors where she acts as Vice Chair and looks after Diversity and Inclusion. She regularly mentors young women from under represented communities trying to break into the media industry.
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