Defying Gravity and Society with Wicked

I recently went to see Wicked in London. Many friends have raved about it and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about (or maybe just shut them up…).
WOW!! That is the answer. Not only is the show stunning visually with great songs and a fantastic cast, but the story itself is something heartfelt that many people will be able to empathise with. It certainly stuck a cord with me to the point that I began feeling a bit emotional at times.
I was never out at school, I didn’t even understand myself and what I did remained in denial. However, I did always struggle to fit in, a bit socially awkward, introverted and difficult to find commonalities. I felt like I was wired differently to other girls, but also struggled to befriend guys. There was period in my schooling when others saw this as weakness and preyed on my lack of assertiveness.
In Wicked, Elphaba is born different to others, struggles to fit in and is targeted for her ‘abnormalities’ from societies ‘norm’. The story follows her difficulties and how her fight for what is right is easily warped into being seen as ‘Wicked’ by corrupted people, simply because she doesn’t conform.
All in all it’s a great show and I think anyone who feels even a little bit out of place in the world can get something out of it, feel like it’s ok to be different, re anlyse the meaning of good and evil or simply enjoy a beautiful performance.

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My Story – Section 4 – Coming out to the family – Part 2 of 2

This post may be a little more serious than some others, but this has been, so far, the most difficult to write. However, I feel it is an important part of the story, so I hope you can appreciate it nonetheless.

I finished the previous post discussing how my father reacted supportively to my coming out. I will now move on to discuss my mother’s reaction after she and him had spoken post my confession to Dad. I had asked him to keep it to himself until after Christmas (It was around Mid December), but they had obviously discussed the matter previously.

My mum came up to me and brought me to the sofa, sat me down and told me that she had ‘heard my news‘. I was shocked initially because there weren’t plates flying and she hadn’t come running up to my room to drag me out of the house. I was also shocked because I honestly thought my Dad would wait to tell her. The next few minutes were just flooded with the word ‘SIN‘. I don’t even know exactly what was said, I just know it went along the lines of ‘You’re a sinner, God thinks you are sinner, I think you’re a sinner, you know you’re a sinner, you know I think you’re a sinner….‘ and so on. I felt like I was sat there for hours. It was an awful feeling.

At the time, that point was a real low, there is no other way to describe it. I was relieved to not have to face being kicked out, but it was still painful. I was fortunate that work placements took me away and so after Christmas I was away for some months, which allowed things to calm down.

Over the years my mum’s outlook has changed drastically. I think being challenged in such a way was a good thing for her. She was forced to open her mind or potentially lose her relationship with me. She went from the awful ‘You are a sinner‘ comments onto ‘Love the sinner, not the sin’ and then into ‘I think I can cope with you being gay, but don’t tell me you are a boy’ (this was a time when being transgender was becoming more openly discussed. I feel this was a bad way for her to act, but an improvement on her initial very narrow mindedness ). Eventually she got to the point that we are at now where she has told me that she just wants me to be happy and occasionally asks if there is anyone in my life.

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The process to get to that point was not easy. It has been some 9 years that my mum found out and it is only really the last year or two that our relationship can be classed as really good. However, there were other problems in the family life that contributed to a lengthier process of rebuilding our relationship, so maybe it would have been sooner without that. The main point though is that we got there!! I can truly say that I enjoy my mum’s company now as much as I enjoy my dad’s. Yes they are completely different relationships and it was difficult learning that I had to treat them differently to get the best relationship I could with each but they are both good relationships now. This makes me feel so happy.

It is worth noting that I have come to understand her point of view as I have gotten older; she was brought up in a reasonably strict Christian background, in a safe environment with minimal diversity in her life, she left her parents to become married and so I have to admit that she was rather naive and the beliefs that she had been taught would of course cloud her judgment. To me it felt like she chose to stand up for what she believed in rather than supporting her child, which admittedly must have been a difficult dilemma. However, having discussed it more recently, she explains that everyone is a sinner and that at the time, she was trying to indicate that all people sin, but it can be forgiven because of Jesus’ actions on the cross. I wonder if perhaps she remembers the experience more positively than it was because of her beliefs and I remember it more negatively than it was, because I expected a negative reaction and because it felt like describing my ability to love as a sin was an attack on my identitiy and something to be ashamed of. These extreme emotions can affect your perception of a situation. I’m not sure, but I have come to peace with what happened and am really glad that I have.

Therefore, it is worth considering if you have been through something similar or are thinking that coming out may have negative consequences, you should really think through what has happened/may happen and try to see different perspectives. Don’t just look at how it affects you emotionally, try to understand how the other person is feeling too. Perhaps, if I had been able to understand my mothers point of view better, things would have been less difficult to work through in the long term.

Oh and finally! In case you were wondering about the rest of the family; Dad’s side just sort of found out. I was surprised that the grandparents weren’t so bothered, but found out that my granddad’s brother was in fact gay! I was surprised that he would have been ok with that, but clearly he was. I am not sure how people dealt with it in the past. I think if I lived in that time, I’d be unhappily married to a man with children, a repressed housewife or a spinster. My mum’s parents did not find out and her sister is unaware, but lives in another country. I would like to tell her, but she shares the same values my mum had and so I think it could affect the relationship we do have and as we see and comunicate so little it doesnt seem necessary. Finally, my brother; I am not sure why I was nervous about telling him. I told him online after the parents knew and he was fine: ‘Yeah my best mate is Bi, I don’t care‘. Funny world isn’t it? You worry and worry and worry but people can surprise you and if they don’t, maybe they will eventually.

 

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Faith’s Attitude Towards Transgender

So I searched for Christianity and Gay and came across this post.
Firstly, I want to say that it is disrespectful that the person writing this post refers to transgender persons birth assigned sex (which they had no control over) when talking about them rather than their identified gender (which they also have no control over).Science shows that transgender brains are wired differently to cisgender brains and so it is brave of them to go through what they have to be who they are.
Anyway, what is my opinion on the article as a whole? Well everyone is entitled to their opinion and faith and so the person has a right to express their ideas. But so do I. I have started exploring Christianity a little and was beginning to think that Christianity is about love not hate. I have come to understand that all people sin, but Jesus dying on the cross allowed us to have the opportunity for our sins to be forgiven. I do not believe LGBT+ people are sinners, but some people do and that is their opinion. However, Jesus dying for sins should therefore negate the idea of being LGBT+ as being negative.
I also thought that Jesus made a point of accepting and helping people who are different.
Finally, the bible itself is a translation and therefore I don’t think it should be taken as literally as some people do. It is stories that have been changed a little with each translation. It is the morales that are important not the literal meaning. Well that’s how people have explained it to me anyway.
I am unsure where I stand on faith as a whole, but reading things like this just puts me off considering becoming part of a faith again.
What are your thoughts???

Eradicate: Blotting Out God in America

bathroom confusionWe are in the midst of open rebellion against God and the rejection of His created, divine order including the most basic truths in Scripture.

Many think Bruce Jenner was the one who catapulted moral relativism into the spotlight; it was actually Oprah Winfrey. In 2008, she promoted “the first pregnant man,” but she was actually a woman named Tracey who had a double mastectomy and doses of hormones for facial hair. She did not have genital reconstruction surgery at that time and has had three children.

June is LGBT Pride Month and naturally, the President proudly announced his annual proclamation celebrating sin while suggesting bible-believing Christians are backwards in their thinking. He claims it is a fight for “dignity and equality, justice” to “forge a more inclusive society.”

He’s definitely representing the minority. Research proves most American citizens are more concerned about religious freedoms and increasing immorality. The problem…

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Faith’s attitude towards LGBT+ community

I have just read this post and think it’s fantastic and in some respects wish that my mother had seen this when I came out. I will be posting a blog about this experience this week.

Recently I read an article that I enjoyed reading yet I had some reservation with it because it had an undertone that seemed to make sure to say that being gay is a sin. Basically the article was on LGBT issues and the church. I thought the article was good but there were a few […]

via LGBT and the church — Done with Religion

My Story – Section 4 – Coming out to the family – Part 1 of 2

Coming out to the family. Pheeeeeeww, now that’s a tough one isn’t it? This has got to be the most nerve wracking thing about the whole experience. Your family are the ones that should love you unconditionally and always be there to support you, but when something unexpected like this challenges them, it can be a difficult time indeed. However, it is a challenge but not necessarily an impossibility to hope for happiness once you get out the other side.

Where to begin then? Well, by this point, friends and work colleagues were aware of my situation and everyone so far had been very accepting. I had my first girlfriend and she obviously thought I would be happier if my parents were aware of what I continued to hide from them. I did of course agree myself plus it also helped knowing that I was no longer alone and should the outcome was to be the worst case scenario, then at least I had other people in my life to turn to.

So how did you do it, I hear you ask? Well, my first step was to start subtly dropping the hints. I began watching Ellen Degeneres while they were around, rather than just on the quiet. When I was questioned by my dad why I was watching a programme with a woman that looked like a man, I got too nervous and flustered and just stated that it was because she is funny (Which is totally true – what a legend!). Then I had the guts to go and buy a Sarah Waters novel (I felt like a teenager trying to buy porn!). I enjoyed reading it and left it on my bookshelf in the hall for all to see. Of course there was the clothing; baggy trousers, big hoodies and so on. I dressed like that as I felt like I had to try and look like a lesbian in order to be accepted in the lesbian community and to be identified as one. It seems pretty mental that not only do you want to be accepted by friends and family, but also the people that have had similar struggles to you, who should just understand and accept you anyway!

Over time, I could’ve thought of more ‘hints’ I am sure, but the biggest hint of all was my girlfriend coming to stay. We’ll call her Kate. Apparently trying to pass off a somewhat butch girl as my good work friend was going to be hard in itself, but what followed was one hell of a red warning sign!! We hit the town together and then returned home after the clubs were shut, keyless and covered in mud, with the excuse being that we ‘lost the door key while walking through the park and were scrabbling around looking for it’ (We were scrabbling about, but not for that reason … CHEEKY!). Only just a little dodgy don’t you think? I have to giggle now, it seems hilarious looking back and I’m smiling thinking about it but at the time we did lose the key and I was in a mild state of panic when I had to knock on the door to gain entry and see my dad staring down at us. It would have been sooooo much easier if we could’ve let ourselves sneakily in. I reckon he would probably have still have realised who she was without that embarrassing event.

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So anyway, Dad figured it out. He didn’t share straight away, but the time did eventually come when he would question me. Looking back, I imagine he knew a lot longer before Kate appeared in the house. Perhaps he was in denial, perhaps he didn’t know if it would last, perhaps he was scared of telling my mum, who knows? The time did however come. I clearly remember being sat on my bed in a big hoody. He came a knocking, probably with a reason to be there, like bringing me a drink and began a conversation. That conversation led onto asking if I had someone special at all. Clearly I denied all. Then he just came out with it: ‘I thought Kate was your special friend to be honest’.

I looked him in the eyes, shocked, no idea what to say, burst into tears and tried to hide into my hoody. You get to a point where you are so scared, but really feel like the time has arrived to come out, then when it does it is so totally overwhelming. To know that they know, it’s a relief, but of course, what would the reaction be? Would that be me packing and out?!? Then he just came out with what I can only describe as a hilarious comment, but one that would fill me with the most relief I have ever felt and would stay with me forever:

It’s ok, I like women too’

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He gave me a big hug, discussed it a bit, but I was still scared about my mum and it was coming up to Christmas so I asked him not to tell her until afterwards. In hindsight, that is an awful position to put someone in. Yeah, you’ve got some huge news to deal with, but keep it to yourself for the time being, don’t share with your nearest and dearest who most likely is not going to react positively. Well, I know he probably would have if he could have, but they had clearly been discussing it and had sent Dad in to find out as it was only a couple hours later that I was approached by my mum.

I will continue this part of my story in my next blog. Thankyou for reading.

Random Blabberings – Lost Girl at Comic Con

Before I begin, I’d like to mention that in my blogs I do refer to male and female genders, when I do so I am referring to the way a person appears to identify. I do understand that there are many forms of gender and do not want to be ignorant to that especially due to what I wish to achieve with the blog.

 

So I’ve decided to have a break from ‘My Story’ this time as I recently attended a comic convention (Yes I know, I’m officially a geek now, I have carried out my right of passage…). The main reason I wished to go was because four members of the Lost Girl cast would be guests at the event; a very fine Zoie Palmer, one jolly Miss Rachel Skarsten, a lively Paul Amos and the Wolfman himself, Kris Holden-Reid  otherwise known to viewers as Lauren the Doctor, Tamsin the Valkyrie, Vex the Mesmer and as said Dyson the werewolf.

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I absolutely love the show, but I am also a fan of Zoie Palmer of course! She’s attractive, funny, beautiful, lovely and plays kick ass characters, what’s not to love?! I don’t think I’ve met another woman of the more same gender persuasion that would disagree … She also plays a role in a series called ‘Dark Matter’. Only one series has run so far, but it is also brilliant, although not on the same level as Lost Girl I have to admit. In Lost Girl Zoie plays a Doctor/Scientist so is seen in a white lab coat a reasonable amount, therefore I had to don one for the con (obviously). In Dark Matter she plays an android who is largely distinguished from humans by a tattoo on her neck, so I felt a need to pen this tattoo on me (I know, I am weird).Then I completed my outfit with a name badge:

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I figured it was a clever mash up, but I think only two people out of around 50,000 that were there understood the reference and one of those was there with me. Feel free to let me know if you appreciate it though! I liked it and enjoyed wearing it so I’m not that fussed, but it’s always good to hear from an appreciative geek/nerd.

Anyway, I digress, let’s move away from Zoie, before I get TOO carried away. Well for a little bit at least. So for those of you who have no idea what Lost Girl is and think I’m just a bit strange and going off on one (probably true), I do have a point to this post and I will get there. However, I better start by giving you a little idea about the show. Lost Girl is set in present day in a world where people with supernatural powers and elongated life spans are living among humans, but in good fantasy fashion, do not want the humans to know of their existence. These supernaturals are called Fae and there are some Fae that are more creatures than people and others that are out to threaten or destroy the world. Our heroine ‘Bo’ and her new friends that slowly grow into her family are always full of action in different scenarios to save the world. I imagine that maybe you could be thinking ‘sounds like any ordinary show’ and perhaps in a way you are right. Yet to me, it is not the genre (although I do love it) or the individual episode story lines that make the show, it is the background relationships that are created and the way that the show explores sexuality that makes it stand out from anything else.

Bo is a Succubus; this is a Fae that feeds on sexual energy and life chi in order to survive. She can’t go long without some sort of interaction with someone, be they human or Fae. I have to say, she is one hell of a sexual beast, but it is not always a blessing to have been born that way. What makes it so interesting is that she has both male and female sexual and romantic partners and it is never discussed or labelled. Also, neither male or female characters are seen as the more likely to gain her affections, it just is what it is, she feels what she feels. I cannot say that I’ve ever seen sexuality portrayed so well and seen as an issue not worthy of conversation or labels on television. The only mainstream show with a lead character exposing similar is ‘Torchwood’ (also awesome!) where Captain Jack Harkness is seen with female and male characters and is mentioned to be one that will ‘shag anything if it’s gorgeous enough’.

I really believe the two programmes are quite pioneering for the present time, even though many people would suggest that sexuality is no longer an issue in society. I disagree with these comments. I feel many are ok with the idea of lesbians and gay men, despite there still being a large number of those in the western world alone who still are not, but I think that bisexuality/pan sexuality or the idea of people just feeling what feels good or right, opposed to being placed into a specific box or under a specific label, is still not something people find easy to understand or appreciate.

I guess my point is that after meeting some members of the Lost Girl cast, I really respect their work to be involved in such a meaningful project, regardless of their personal reasons for doing so. I also feel that they were all lovely individuals who were enthusiastic to meet their fans and to leave them buzzing by the end of the day, which shows that the impact of their work must be at least a little important to them.

Oh and I’m going to go back to Zoie, just briefly. I didn’t realise how nervous I was to meet her, but I was totally shaking after I had my photo shoot with her, how ridiculous is that?! I guess that proves what the show means to me as an individual who wants the world to be a place like the programme creates.

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Finally, I just wish to finish by sharing with you a badge I found on a stall at the end of the day. I think this perfectly sums up the show and also some of my feelings and motivations to continue with this blog.

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My Story – Section 3 – Coming Out to friends

Before I begin, I have to apologise for my absence. It has been some time since the last post. Life got a little hectic and I got a bit caught up in it all unfortunately. However, I am back! So here comes the next installment …

The previous blog ended with me finally knowing that I could not deny my attraction towards girls. Also, I had come to the realisation of my predicament. The feeling of being so trapped that I could not be myself , due to the fear of the outcome of telling others. I mentioned that there was a girl at my workplace that I really liked who was gay, but already taken. She was officially the first person that I came out to (Wahey!!). I don’t think she was surprised to be honest. I was a quiet little virgin girl at 19, so there was obviously something up! How did I do it you may wonder? Well the age of internet and the dawn of social media had begun. Are you the age to remember the times of Bebo and My Space? If not, they were popular predecessors to Facebook. Anyway, I had her as a friend on Bebo, obviously! So I waited to be home alone and concocted a message explaining my situation and seeking some advice. It took some time to get it right and I was very nervous about pressing send (yep it was one of THOSE moments), but eventually I got there (Go Me!!). I literally have zero recollection of her actual response but I know that she was accepting and that made me feel more positive about things. It was a huge relief to share with just one person and really made a difference, providing a step forward in how I was feeling about the whole situation.

After this chit chat, I felt the need to discuss my problem with Dave. I was feeling so bad having broken up with him, with next to no explanation. Additionally, he was my friend before being a partner and that had been lost when I cut off the romance. I am unsure how I told him, but he seemed relieved. I guess it meant it wasn’t his fault and he knew he wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. He became keen to be friends again and it was such a joy that not only had he accepted it, but he embraced a platonic relationship.

After him, the other sea cadet instructors were next to know, although that was the fault of my mighty friend, Mr Alcohol! (I’m not suggesting getting drunk is the perfect way to come out, it is just how it happened).

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I was then fortunate enough to find my first girlfriend in my new workplace. Let’s call her Kate. This was a big step forward for me. I met her during a training period and at the time I still wasn’t comfortable with myself, so I kept my attraction to myself. I remember one of my new friends nicknaming me ‘Gaylord’. It was her way of being nice, a term of endearment if you like (I know, strange way to show it!), but she had no idea how right she was. It seems so funny now, wandering past her in the corridor and her yelling ‘Gaylord’ with a huge grin on her face, but at the time it was distressing because I was thinking ‘Oh no! She knows! Everyone will find out!’.

Anyway, I had managed to swap numbers with Kate and we began talking more and more. One night I was out having a few drinks with my work friends and my phone died mid chit chat with Kate. I got reasonably stressed trying to find someone with her number on their phone (ahh young love eh?). I think this made a few people’s heads turn as that isn’t really the normal reaction to getting cut off mid call with a mate. When I did eventually tell my work colleagues that I was gay and Kate was my girlfriend, the majority were not surprised, well except miss ‘Gaylord’, who was oblivious ironically. I think my increasing closeness to Kate and lack of interest in conversations about men had set off some signals in their brains (or maybe straighties have gaydar too??). I told them by text as it felt the easiest way to me; I guess it would have felt less personal if the outcome was not favourable. I was scared they would no longer wish to be social, I even said that in the message. They were all accepting and thought I was crazy for thinking it may have meant my relationship with them would change.

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So in conclusion to this section, I had been nervous and scared to tell people. I thought I would be rejected, unaccepted. However, I was surprised that so many people were accepting and it didn’t make any difference to them. Admittedly, I felt more confident coming out once I met my first female romantic partner, it made it easier to do as I had her support and someone to go to if people weren’t accepting. However, I did manage to tell some people at home before that, by myself. Telling just one person was a huge weight off my shoulders. If you are considering coming out to friends, think about finding one person you trust or someone who is having a similar experience and discuss it with them first. Having the courage to tell one person can make a big difference.

I now no longer feel the need to come out to new people. It just doesn’t feel important anymore. My sexuality does not define who I am. However, if it does come up in conversation or someone asks if I have a boyfriend, I will generally respond with something along the lines of ‘No, but it’s more likely it would be a girlfriend if I did’. I do feel having a label for how I felt, helped my understanding and telling people such was an important part of my journey to finding acceptance, but it now just does not feel relevant.

My Story – Section 2 – Understanding Gay – Part 2 of 2

In my previous blog I was discussing how I was starting to understand the idea of being gay but continued to remain in denial due to the fear of rejection and pressure of conformity. This blog will continue on from that, looking at how I came to accept that I was attracted to the same gender.

Post High school: I was awaiting placement with a company and so to occupy myself I took on little jobs and became an instructor at sea cadets. (Anyone suddenly got the ‘In the Navy’ song ringing around in their minds?! Well you have now…). I met two nice guys at sea cadets, both instructors and I accepted a date from both (I know, what a tease!). I ended up becoming girlfriend to one, I’ll call him Dave for the purposes of this blog, and I can honestly say that I did have a level of feelings for him, but I can’t say like any girlfriend I have had. In hindsight, picking out of the two dates, I would probably have been more compatible with the other, but that isn’t how things work when you are young. I was with Dave when I started work at Argos (Oh the sweet land of anything you ever wanted and never realised you needed!) and this is when things hit the wall for me. There was a really attractive girl, tall, short hair, funny and totally gay! She was the girlfriend of another member of the staff (I know, I was bummed too). Here, I suddenly saw a successful, and most importantly, accepted, lesbian relationship. Everyone at work liked them both and had lots of fun with the one I was attracted to. I didn’t hit it off with her, but my feelings meant I could no longer deny feelings towards women.

I found it so difficult to deal with. I really struggled. I remember driving to the cliffs and laying on the edge listening to the waves. I was slowly sinking into a depression, thinking and crying full of distraught emotions.

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I figured I would be kicked out as soon as my family found out, but I could no longer deny who I was because it made me so deeply unhappy. It felt like there was no way out, no solution or answer to this predicament and I do admit that the thought of jumping did cross my mind. Fortunately, I knew I would soon be leaving home for my new job plus I just do not think I am capable of seeing anything like that through. I also know that I loved the people in my life and wouldn’t want to put them through that, whatever their reaction to my epiphany might be. Besides, if I had taken those thoughts seriously, no one would ever have gotten to know the true me.

I know my parents got worried as I would just leave the house, take the car and disappear for hours. When challenged, my only explanation would be that ‘I needed a drive’. I can’t imagine what they went through.

I had to break up with the Dave. I didn’t understand at the time that sexuality is not binary and my feelings towards women were so strong in comparison, that I just figured I was a lesbian and so could never really have feelings towards men.

I am now going to bring this to a close now because if I continue we will veer into my story of coming out to others, which are to be separate installments. I want to end by saying that self acceptance is really tough, especially when there are circumstances making things extra difficult, but as you will see in further blogs, life really is worth holding on to and people can really surprise you. Besides, if you get really low, the only way things can possibly go is up!

 

Please Note: I may not be able to add a new post for some weeks due to other commitments. I apologise in advance but I will definitely be back!

 

My Story – Section 2 – Understanding Gay – Part 1 of 2

I really truly believe that coming to terms with who you are and more importantly accepting it, is the biggest hurdle anyone can overcome. (Are you imagining some lanky, long legged dude flying over a huge hurdle? I am).

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There will be people in their retirement that cannot say they fully know who they are. I know my parents, now both in their 50’s, believe they only really started finding themselves since they separated and divorced. Everyone has things they need to accept about themselves, maybe a physical flaw or perhaps a trait that is difficult to shake. However, I think for anyone who is somewhat different to what is considered the ‘norm’; it can be a tough journey. Whatever you are coming to terms with, coming out to yourself or self acceptance is an important and probably the most difficult step towards internal happiness.

In this ‘episode’ I am going to continue on from the previous blog with the aim being to discuss the beginning of my journey regarding understanding and accepting my sexuality. I intend to largely focus on my attraction towards the same gender in this section. There will be further self acceptance stories to come, because as you know if you read my ‘About’ section, I do not identify as lesbian, but prefer not to label myself.

High school: Wowsers! All I can say is that I am lucky I found kindred spirits who were more interested in talking about geography homework than boys. Admittedly, this probably contributed to a lengthier period of time to understand myself, but at least I wasn’t subjected to many awkward ‘wow, he’s hot’ conversations. Life was pretty confusing during this time. There was a girl I was wildly attracted to; she was one of the popular ones, a drama student, extroverted, funny. My granddad used to say to me over and over, don’t worry about boys, worry about your studies, little did he know what I was really worrying about.

My dad grew curious as once he asked me ‘Is there a boy at school you like?’. I quite liked the boyfriend of this girl; in fact I was probably attracted to him to some extent, so I replied with his name. Dad smiled saying something along the lines of ‘well you wouldn’t be normal if you didn’t like someone, but well done for studying hard‘. I did get excited when I had class with this girl, but nothing was ever going to happen.

I started understanding the word ‘gay’ at this age. Just before starting high school, we moved home and across the road there was a lesbian couple. Dad brought it up and used to make jokes about them. I discovered Ellen on the telly and Sugar Rush was also on at the time. That was an anxious time. I’d lock myself in my bedroom with Sugar Rush on, volume on 1, trying hard to hear every word and then at the slightest sound of footsteps on the stairs, I would quickly change channel and increase the volume. It seems so silly now; I have the L Word, Lip Service, Tipping the Velvet and many others pride of place on the DVD shelf for all to see, but I had genuine fear at that age of being discovered.

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Looking back, I can also see I was unconsciously attracted to other girls at that stage of life. I would say the drama student was lust, but the others were more feeling related. I was in cadets and I know I wanted to be around one of my friends more than I could (ah the joy of one way feelings!). Once we played a blindfold game and I accidentally touched her breast and I felt a large sense of foreboding (now I would probably just think: ‘smashing!‘). Another was my high school best friend. I recall that the first time I saw her was across the school car park and I thought ‘wow she’s amazing, I want to be her friend’. Eventually, interest in a similar subject and making friends with the same people brought us together and we did spend a lot of time alone. We just clicked and were comfortable in one another’s company. I never had to try and be something I’m not and I am still learning now how fantastic it is to have something like that. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. She went off to university and I started work and I soon enough found out that she was getting married.

All these experiences made me eventually realise what was going on inside me, but with a religious mother and a Dad that made bad jokes about gay people, I remained in denial (despite watching Sugar Rush!). I thought my mum would want nothing to do with me because it was ‘unnatural’ and I didn’t think my Dad would be supportive with his opinion on ‘gays’. I survived high school, but I had only just come out to myself when I left and as I say, remained in denial.

To be continued…..

My Story – Section 1 – Subconscious knowledge – Part 2 of 2

Middle School: This was year 5 to year 8 (age 9 to age 13) and the start of puberty (uh oh!). What do I remember? Well, lessons about periods and sanitary pads (nice, I know), some good school trips, a lesson about drugs- if I ever considered trying them then that lesson would soon stop me in my tracks (there’s something about meeting the parents of a young girl who’s head basically exploded after having one dodgy ectasy pill that puts you off for life!), learning to play the ocarina (yep, that’s a real instrument) and discovering computers! Yay!!

Moving onto relationships, I had a few more friends than at primary school but I think I’ve always preferred a few close friends to a large group. Then there are boys. I had a boyfriend in year 5, well that’s if playing hopscotch and receiving a HUGE bar of chocolate from him counts (I’m talking big! Although I was smaller at the time…). Then in year 7, another guy took a liking to me. I didn’t think of him in that way, but when he asked me out my friends encouraged me to go for it, so I did (you have to love peer pressure!). He bought me this lovely dolphin shaped bowl as a gift and in return I got him pens (what a romantic). That didn’t last long, but we did get as far as holding hands. There was also one female friend I remember having outside of my main circle of friends and was a more one of one friendship than others.

However, there are two main things that stick out for me during this period of my life. The first is my very deep attraction to one Miss Hannah Spearitt of THE pop sensation S Club 7 (Don’t even try denying it…). I just could not get enough of her! I don’t know if you are of the age to remember the S Club TV series (Miami 7 for an example – what a classic!), but I just watched her, the stories were fun but it was all about her. I did quite like Bradley as well, but I think I enjoyed his liveliness more than anything. When asked by my parents who was my favourite, I remember thinking ‘I want to say Hannah, but normal girls would say a boy’.

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I decided to simply state that ‘Bradley is my favourite boy and Hannah is my favourite girl’. I don’t remember any confused looks, so I think I covered myself well. Clearly I had an inkling that I wasn’t like other girls, but I didn’t understand why.

The other thing clear in my mind was a discussion within our friendship group one lunchtime. It was a simple, normal, pubescence conversation: ‘Do you want to get married and have kids?’. I should state at this point we are looking at the late 90’s, when being gay was not too overtly discussed in the UK. Also, my parents were still together, so their separation would not have affected my answer. Everyone did the usual ‘I want a boy and a girl’, ‘I want a fairytale wedding’. What did I say? – ‘No, I don’t think so’. When challenged my response was ‘I really don’t know’. I personally think I was subconsciously aware that I would likely end up with a female and that marriage and children wouldn’t likely be an option. Of course, that has changed now, but it wasn’t obvious to be the case at the time.

So this concludes the section relating to my memories from my early years. I think it is clear that even when you aren’t aware of sexuality, you can have an idea that your preferences are out of the ordinary, even if you don’t understand it.