A YOUNG Andover politician has talked about how proud he is to have come out after he revealed he was bisexual on national coming out day.

Dmitrijs Meiksans, the Youth Member of Parliament (MYP) for North West Hampshire, said he had felt uncomfortable with who he was and that he was amazed by the response.

The 16-year-old came out to his family earlier this year, which gave him the confidence to make the public announcement last week, on October 11.

In an interview with The Advertiser, he said: “I've always said that me and my sexuality were two different people. I've never associated the two as one before the time I felt comfortable to be able to come out.”

The teenager, who first came out to his friends, said coming out to his mum was the most difficult part.

“I’m from a very traditional and religion-rooted family,” he said.

“I was born in Latvia and my mother tongue is Russian. You can expect a very Catholic-based family with lots of deep-rooted traditions, like ‘women should be in the kitchen’, ‘you should always have a family and children’, ‘you should be with the opposite sex’ etc.”

“But I have always been very lucky to have a very supportive family that moved to Andover in 2012 when I was seven years old. Whilst they are a lot more modern in their views, there were still stereotypes rooted in their minds, and it could have been a little bit harder for them to process.

“I did finally come out to my mom [early this year]. It was one of the easiest things I could have done, and I kind of blame myself for not doing it earlier because that's how simple the process was.”

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Dmitrijs said talking to his mum was a big step and it gave him the confidence to come out on social media.

“Coming out on social media is a ridiculously difficult thing,” he said.

“But the response from people has been absolutely amazing. I felt so flattered by those reactions. As a youth activist, I was genuinely just astonished by the amazing comments that I got. I'm so proud to have been able to do that. It’s great to be in a place to be able to encourage other young people, who are still in the closet, that there are people who will support them.

“For example, there is a charity called Breakout Youth in Hampshire who are doing some amazing work for young people of the LGBTQ+ community.”

He also advised youngsters, who are yet to come out, to not set a date for telling everyone all at once, and instead do it as a process.

“Coming out is a whole process. If you want to come out to everyone together, there is an option, but it doesn’t have to be like that. Because coming out is such an individual process. And if you don't want to make such a fuss out, it is up to you.”

A student of Harrow Way Community School in Andover, Dmitrijs was selected to the Youth Parliament in 2018 after his headteacher handed him a leaflet from Hampshire County Council looking for candidates for the Member of Parliament for the area.

“That's when I started to get a full idea of what I wanted to do,” he said.

“My headteacher asked me to give it a go. I said sure and I applied got elected. And it's been a whirlwind ever since.”