The Tragic Childhood Of Steven Carter-Bailey

The transformation of Steven Carter-Bailey from his childhood days to his adult years is remarkable and proof of the power of acceptance, love, and persistence. In an interview with "I'm Coming Out: The Podcast," Carter-Bailey, the 2017 runner up contestant on "The Great British Bake Off" – or "The Great British Baking Show" if you're watching from the United States — said he grew up sheltered in a tight-knit Mormon community. When he first began to think he might be gay around age six, his world began to change.

Despite having a great group of friends, Carter-Bailey often felt different from his peers. "The clothes I wore were different and the way I expressed myself was different and I think that's where I struggled with my friends at school," he said, adding that his early school years were the first triggers of mental health issues to come. These concerns were exacerbated when he broke his leg at the age of seven and began to experience depression. Unable to move around much, Carter-Bailey turned to food as a way to numb and manage the depression.

"Eating was my escapism," he said. "I remember those feelings starting then and I don't remember happiness before that."

A turn for the better

As the "I'm Coming Out" podcast continued, Steven Carter-Bailey said he began to think that being gay was "not only different, but potentially bad" in secondary school when "gay" was being used as a derogatory term. He recalled experiencing homophobia from adults and teachers.

Carter-Bailey first came out to his grandmother and sister as a teenager, and eventually to his mother, whom he credits as being a compassionate force in his life and a positive light in an otherwise difficult home life. In fact, she was the person who taught him to bake starting at an early age.

"My mum has been such a massive influence on me ... she wanted to provide a warm environment where the oven was always on" (via Radio Times).

Naturally, therefore, Carter-Bailey was nervous about coming out to his mother, thinking she might reject him and kick him out of the house. However, she responded with acceptance. Carter-Bailey said his family "love[s] me for who I am. I am genuinely very lucky."

Carter-Bailey eventually learned to manage his eating issues. While he says he still sometimes thinks about overeating, he catches himself, knowing that eating too much may make him feel better in the moment, but not in the long-term.

"I'll never be over my food addiction, but I can control it," he said. "That is where the pride lay for me because for so long it had controlled me."