My Story – Developing Sexuality

 So far I’ve talked about my attraction to women and in the early days of discovering myself I very much thought sexuality was a binary thing. You are gay or you are straight. Bisexuality wasn’t really discussed and was a bit taboo. As I started discovering myself, my understanding, based on things other people said, suggested that bisexuality was for people who were greedy, non monogamous or confused. However, that is not the case and over the years I have become more comfortable with a slightly more fluid sexuality and I intend to discuss that journey now.

I had my first partner in my late teens, who was male and have discussed previously that I broke up with him because I could no longer deny feelings towards women. I know I got sweaty holding his hand and the kiss wasn’t so nice, but I am aware that despite those feelings I did have some caring feelings towards him and it did hurt to hurt him.

During my first proper job, after things ended with my first girlfriend, I remember having an attraction of sorts to a male co worker. In the end a group of us went out and got very drunk (as you do) and although I was openly gay, I ended up kissing a different guy (I know, what a tease!) and thinking that actually it wasn’t so bad. I guess that made me feel a little more comfortable about the idea and so when the guy that I was vaguely interested in asked me to his room, I decided to go. His wooing technique? Getting out some lesbian porn. What a way to get the girl eh?! Clearly, he was trying his luck, but I know I was still confused about the situation and the porn thing made me feel uncomfortable, so I left and that was that. 

In some respects I wonder if I became/am a target for men as a girl who sleeps with girls can seem to be a threat to the masculinity of men. Especially when said girl doesn’t outwardly appear particularly ‘gay’ or masculine. The number of times I’ve had comments such as ‘why don’t you try a real cock’ is uncountable. However, I’ve now got my responses down to a fine art after 10+ years of practice! Woo hoo! And hopefully those responses inform their ignorance.

Anyway, in that particular situation I became scared about many things. The way he approached the matter was strange and disconcerting, but also thinking about what people had said about bisexuality make you think twice about considering anything that could class you to be ‘that way’.

I also know I would find the odd guy sexually attractive too, but would stop myself and tell myself that it wasn’t the case, in order to avoid the negativity or the idea of ‘coming out’ again. Can you imagine telling my mother that occasionally I’m attracted to men? (If you haven’t read the previous blogs, she is religious and told me I was a sinner when I came out).

A. She’d think her prayers had worked. Hallelujah!

B. There would be an expectation for me to end up with a guy, because that’s what is normal and non sinful. Apparently.

Although, she is more open minded now, that’s how I felt at that time.

Some years after this incident there came a point in life where I wasn’t having much luck with women and I started spending a lot of time with a guy at work for work reasons. We clicked and connected through our work and I started wanting to spend more time with him and learn more about him. I even got a little jealous when he started showing interest in someone else. 


Eventually, we ended up on a night out (yes I see the theme too), dancing, getting close and hot and eventually kissing despite this other girl also being there. Clearly, he was interested (go me!) but had avoided saying anything as he thought I was gay. AND it was a great kiss too (go him!). We enjoyed the rest of the night and then I did end up in bed with him, which was a first for me. He totally took the lead and things unravelled to some extents and I really enjoyed what did happen. I felt turned on and it was a bit of a surprise to me. He was a true gentleman and his pants did not come off as I was clearly nervous. He said that he hoped I would still be in his bed in the morning and we settled down to sleep. Unfortunately, getting cuddled by a guy was not the same experience as with a woman (Who’d have thought?). The chest hair was scratchy, I felt claustrophobic, I couldn’t sleep and so I ran away from the situation. We stayed friends thankfully and he is a lovely person and has a lot going for him. 

Sometimes I wonder why I got scared. Was it truly just the cuddling or was it the fact that he was male and I was more comfortable telling people I’m gay than trying to figure this out. However, what I did learn from the experience is that some men are beautiful and I shouldn’t write them off, so my mind has been opened to the possibility that maybe one day it could be a man that walks into my life. On the flip side, I also learnt that sex with men can be pleasurable for me, but maybe it is possible that it is just sexual attraction that would work for me and that a relationship may not feel so right.

Since that situation, I have become more and more open minded about my sexuality. If I see a guy and find him physically attractive, I allow myself to feel that and enjoy the moment. Why wouldn’t you want to enjoy walking down the street and getting a bit of a twinge because you’ve seen someone hot? If I guy is proud of his big muscly arms and asks if I want a feel (I really do!), I’ll say yes and have a cheeky feel (thankyou please), instead of acting disgusted by the idea. If a guy wants to ask me on a date, I will give him a chance if I think he is a nice person. Overall, these experiences have almost felt like I’ve had to come out to myself and accept myself all over again, but I feel much more at peace for allowing myself to feel what I feel. Besides, allowing yourself to just be can only work in your favour in identifying a true attraction to someone versus a more shallow attraction that probably won’t go anywhere.

In conclusion, I think sexuality is very fluid. I see it as a spectrum, although I intend to delve deeper into that theory in another post. People can feel straight, gay, bisexual or anywhere in between these labels. I believe education can only improve matters and allow people to be who they are sooner rather than later. It took until my late 20’s to understand all this simply because I was scared of other people’s opinions, which were created by a lack of understanding.

So come on people, just be you and feel what you feel. It can be oh so liberating! 😀

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Cultural differences – East vs West

So I’ve been off the face of the planet for a while, you know how it is, work, life, work, blah, blah. Gets in the way sometimes… Anyway, I recently attended a workplace diversity conference and it spurred me to get back on here so yay for me and yay for you too 😀

The main theme of the conference was culture and it made me realise how little I know about how different people live despite thinking that I’m a bit of a traveller. But I suppose if you don’t immerse yourself into somewhere, you don’t fully appreciate the culture, the people or how they live, you just see what’s put in front of you.

The only place I’ve truly felt a differing culture smack me in the face was in India. It was surreal how you can travel down a street and see a hindu temple next to a christian church and while travelling down said street, discovering that any sort of road rules appear to not exist. In particular, everyone feels the need to hoot their horn, CONSTANTLY, and a cow can create Friday night M6 style traffic! These eye openers that were experiences to me were just part of daily life out there. However, nothing like this really delves into their true way of being and living. The conference opened up my eyes and helped me to really start to see.scan0001 (2)

We were presented with some images that were really stark and clearly showed some of the differences between East and West and although a bit of generalisation, it was really interesting to identify how people from two different areas of the world can see things. The artist of the images is Yang Liu, who moved from Beijing at 13 to Berlin, so grew up understanding both sides of the coin. It is definitely worth a look at Liu’s work (http://yangliudesign.com/), so I hope that you will give her a google to learn more!

Here are some of the things I learnt:The biggest and craziest one first! (Because I cannot wait to tell you!);

Punctuality isn’t a thing!

I can hear your shock from here. I know! You can agree to meet at 3 in the afternoon and this means you can arrive between 3 and 7 ish. No more alarms required. I want in! Ok so the size of the appropriate time to arrive varies by country, but also, the later you arrive, potentially the more important you are. I suppose in some ways, the latter bit can ring true here, a VIP can turn up when they want and everyone will wait.  However, in general, if you agree a time to see someone, have a meeting, attend an event, generally that means get there at that time or before that time. If someone is ten minutes late, you’ll be looking at your watch, maybe even shaking your head, sighing or possibly worrying that something has happened to them. Am I right?

The other big one was their connectivity and group based way of living. People in the UK think they have lots of friends and connections because they ‘friend’ someone on Facebook every so often or have people ‘following’ them on Twitter. But these aren’t real life connections. Yes, they provide a way to stay in contact and communicate, but how many of your social media ‘friends’ do you actually see regularly? That is real life connections.

I learnt that the focus in the East is on having lots of real life connections with family and friends and extended family. The family is the hub of everything. Generations live together, the children are the heart of this big circle of interlocking lives. Here, we tend to try and move out of home as soon as practically possible (even if we still have no idea how to use a washing machine!), be it to live with friends, go to uni or wherever we take ourselves. And once that has happened, for many of us, the thought of living with them or them with us is a thought you just don’t want to think about. Yet, on the other side of the planet they think we are strange having our own little lives where you can find old people living alone.

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Another thing that was interesting is that in restaurants we are quite reserved and don’t like to disturb other people, whereas eastern countries and those with similar cultures see restaurants as an opportunity to have a laugh and get noisy with their friends. In fact even some European countries close to home can be like this. Maybe us Brits are just a little too uptight huh? It sounds pretty good to me to laugh real loud when socialising! Maybe I’m on the wrong side of the world?
And finally, one you probably already know, because the British are known to be the kings and queens of it;

Queueing!

We know how to queue don’t we? And we are proud of it! Someone tries to jump the queue, someone else will soon have something to say about it or at least get annoyed and start tutting or complaining to the person behind them. It just creates some sensible control into a situation that could otherwise form chaos. Yet chaos is the form of order that is the norm in other places. Weird eh?
So to wrap up then, I hope you’ve learnt a little from this and maybe next time you see a group of people in a restaurant being really loud, instead of staring or getting annoyed, you might have a little smile of understanding and enjoy the fact that they are having a whale of a time!

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.

 

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.