Tag Archives: Countryside

Love is Love

Diversity should thrill people, yet it doesn’t. Just as love and sex should fill people with happiness and excitement. I am sixteen, I have never properly be in love, I haven’t found the person I want to spend the rest of my life with – so how am I supposed to narrow them down by gender and age?

Gender doesn’t really come into play

For me, falling for people, relies on their character and humour, and when I kiss someone, gender doesn’t really come into play. If someone makes you feel delirious and tingly from head to toe…then go for it.
I am in a place where I would be proud and unashamed to tell anyone if I fell in love with a girl or a guy.

Love is for everyone

No words can quite match how love can make you feel and nobody should have to stop loving anyone because of what other people say. And that’s kind of why I’m writing, not because my story is inspirational or anything – but because love is for everyone, and I’m not willing to negotiate.

Some of them know, it’s not that bad

Around Christmas time 2015, I realised that I liked both genders. I told one friend and she recommended an LGBT account on Instagram. I joined and became an admin. Soon after I told my friends and I looked up different kinds of sexuality. All of my friends accepted me.

She accepted me

I was terrified of coming out to my mum, but I shouldn’t have been. It was hard at first, but now I feel like I have a weight lifted off my shoulders. She did say that I’m a bit too young to decide that I was bi, but she still accepted me.

I will tell them when I’m ready

The rest of my family don’t know, but I like it that way. I will tell them when I am ready.

It is not that hard. Just look past the fear you first feel and you will be fine!

Jenny the Worrier Princess

I’d always been a tomboy growing up. My mum often recalls that, for my first birthday, I was brought a doll and pram and my response was to throw the doll out, load the pram with building blocks and pretend it was a car.

Aged six, I asked my mum one day ‘Mummy do you mind if I am a boy type girl?’ and of course being the understanding woman she is she didn’t mind one bit.

I chose to bury my feelings and carry on trying to be like everyone else

As I progressed through school I realized my friends were nearly all boys and my crushes were almost always on girls (and Wonder Woman). At the time the only representations of gay men in popular culture were camp stereotypes and lesbians were nonexistent so I felt very, very different from the norm. Knowing I wasn’t like the other girls around me, I chose to bury my feelings and carry on trying to be like everyone else.

At secondary school the only thing we were taught sexuality wise was reproduction in a very clinical way. In the late 80’s the government, then led by Margaret Thatcher, brought in a law to prevent the promotion of homosexuality (Section 28). This meant that it could not be taught in schools and you couldn’t go to a teacher for help or advice.

I had a series of boyfriends

Ironically quite a lot of my school friends were also gay but we were all deeply in the closet, partly because it was a small town and partly because we didn’t know what people’s reactions would be.

I had a series of boyfriends that were, in fact, friends that had asked me out, as I probably would never have dreamed of thinking of them in that way otherwise. The few boys that I was attracted to were usually quite feminine looking.

Then one day, when I was 18, I got a call from my best friend needing help. Her girlfriend’s parents had found the secret love letters that she had written to her (this was the pre-internet age so emails or text messages were not a possibility) and had banned them from ever seeing each other again. I felt really stupid, having a best friend for all these years and not even realizing she was gay too. As I had a boyfriend at the time I chose to keep quiet about my confusion and help her through her situation the best I could.

I continued to have long term relationships with men, again because they made the first move and it was easier to go along with it. I loved them not for their gender but for them as people. However, throughout these relationships I continued to have secret, painful crushes, on female friends and again I chose to bury them.

I didn’t have much chance to explore my sexuality

On occasion I used to frequent gay bars in Soho, with one of my close gay male friends, but didn’t have much chance to explore my sexuality as there were hardly any places to meet women.

Things started to change once I began studying part-time for a technology qualification in London. I got my first PC and internet connection and looked for an online place to be myself.

I really was very gay and couldn’t go hiding this part of myself

Then one day I had an epiphany. It was 1997 and I saw an advert for a new television channel (at this point in time we only had four TV channels in the UK) Channel 5 was being launched very ceremoniously by The Spice Girls and the channel was showing a promo for a new series called Xena Warrior Princess. I looked at Xena and her sidekick Gabrielle and over to my boyfriend and the penny dropped. I really was very gay and couldn’t go on hiding this part of myself indefinitely or I would never be truly happy. I watched the programme avidly, savouring every subtext reference to their relationship, and I joined a Xena group on AOL. From there I met a straight girl (my first ally I suppose!) who invited me to a regular Xena night in a sci-fi bar in Westminster. I had never been around so many gay girls and my friend even tried to match make me with someone at the group but I was too shy and I still had a boyfriend to contend with.

I plucked up the courage to end my long term relationship

I was still in the closet at the company I worked at but plucked up the courage to end my long term relationship and decided I really needed to explore my sexuality at last. We had a new temp receptionist at work and one day, as we went for lunch, she advised me that if I wanted to come out and didn’t know how to do it, then telling everyone I was bisexual may be the way to go because of my history of long term relationships with men. I was shocked; I couldn’t work out how she had picked up on my sexuality as I had tried to hide it so carefully. She then said that her gay flat mate was moving out and she had a spare room in her flat on Charing Cross Road in Soho If I wanted it. I snapped up the room and finally began to explore my sexuality. It wasn’t easy as there were no real places to meet women (and sadly that is still the case) so the majority of my dating adventures began online. Eventually I began to build up a network of friends and in the end met my current partner Claire. We have been together for thirteen years now, my longest relationship to date.

I have now gone from quietly in the closet to a new member of the global leadership team for my current companies LGBTF network. I present and educate on LGBT issues whenever I can and I was also one of the mentors for this application!

Realising you’re not who you thought you were…

Very few people’s coming out stories are easy. Those whose are are the incredibly lucky ones. I always knew my parents would have absolutely no problem with my sexuality, but that didn’t stop it being incredibly difficult to actually tell them. There was always there tiny thought in the back of my head that my parents would kick their then 14 year old son out of the house when he told them he liked boys and girls. I probably wouldn’t have told them until some years later, had they not noticed I’d been self-harming because of homophobic bullying at my school and online.

I was always more attracted to boys

At the time, I identified as bisexual. I was told by near countless people that “bi people don’t exist” and that “bisexuals are just in denial of being gay”. For such a long time I was determined to prove them wrong, and I was attracted to girls for some time after coming out. I was always more attracted to boys, the ratio being around 80:20 boys to girls. I only dated two more girls after coming out, and have exclusively dated boys since 2010 or thereabouts.

The people who told me that bisexuality didn’t exist did almost as much damage as those who told me I was a freak of nature and that I should die for being bisexual in the first place. Whilst I overcame those who bullied me with help from my parents and teachers, the unwillingness to change the definition of my sexual identity remained with me right up until June 2014, aged 19. I’d known I was gay for a long time before this, but denied it to myself and others, instead saying “I could have a sexual relationship with a woman, but not an intimate/emotional one”. I knew this was rubbish, the ratio of my attractions was now more like 99:1 boys to girls, but I didn’t want those who didn’t respect my sexuality to win. It was a very big deal to start openly identifying as gay, even something as simple as unticking women from my ‘interested in’ on my facebook profile took some doing.

It’s okay to change your definition

I live very happily as an openly gay man, and even just after being bullied I started doing charity work to combat homophobia. I didn’t have a problem accepting myself until people starting making me believe I was wrong, but the one thing I did have to learn was that it’s okay to change your definition of your sexual identity. At 14-16 years old I was terrified that changing said definition was to give in, but I’ve now learned that very few people care if you change it – as long as you’re happy with who you are and how you define yourself, that’s all that matters. I know it sounds massively clichéd, but it’s an absolute truth.

“Girlfriend?”

The first time I met China, we were both eleven, at the year seven open day. The first thing I said to her was ‘Oh, cool hairband!’ (as you can tell, I was a complete social butterfly). We quickly became friends, and formed out own little friendship group from there.There were four of us, or seven, depending on who you counted. By the time we finished our first year at secondary school, we were all very close.

But then, in year eight, one of our group left, and the others drifted – and China and I were left alone once again. We had friends, but not so much a ‘group’. We sort of flitted between circles, but this brought us much closer. This was when I first started to like China. In a romantic way.

She kissed me. And I kissed her.

The first time we kissed was at my house, at about half past nine at night, while an episode of Blackadder played in the background. By that time, I was confident in my sexuality – which at that time I called ‘I don’t know, but it’s not straight’. China said she wasn’t sure yet. She was sitting on my lap as we watched the show on my laptop, when she turned around, and rested her forehead against mine.
‘China?’
‘Mmh?’ She responded, eyes closed.
‘You okay there?’
‘Yeah. Just…Can I do something?’
I could feel my heart in my throat. ‘Sure.’
And she kissed me. And I kissed her. And that was the beginning.
The next day, when we hugged to say goodbye, I painfully awkwardly stuttered out; ‘Uhhh, girlfriend?’
She said yes.

It’s easier once you’ve come out

I didn’t really care for crushes in primary school. Everyone seemed to care about that sort of thing, I just held the opinion that it was stupid. Then in year 6, I began to hold this girl in really high opinion. She was pretty, kind and could sing (this obviously mattered to ten-year-old me). But I just thought it was a deserved appreciation, because of course girls couldn’t get crushes on girls. I never really knew LGBF sexualities were as common as I now know they are. I would say I actually started questioning when I hit high school. I go to an all girls school so I realised that these people were attractive to me. I was suddenly aware that sexualities other than gay and straight existed (mainly thanks to extensive exposure to internet).

I was 13 when I actually started using bisexual to describe myself to myself. It was also around then I began to believe that my parents’ attitudes to LGBT people weren’t exactly positive. I started to talk about sexualities and gay rights more. I read as much as I could, learnt as much as I could. I guess that I’ve probably changed some of my parents opinions.

I started self harming as a distraction

But sometimes my parents would actively say things against gay people (nothing big, just small things that I spun out of control in my head) or my brother would tell me he thought homosexuality was wrong and he thinks it’d be weird to have a gay sister. Having been surrounded by fairly accepting peers at school, I realised that a lot of people still were against it. I started to become sad and worried. I started self harming as a distraction, and that continued for a few months.

Then I saw that my family’s attitudes were changing – they said they’d be fine with their children being gay, as long as they were happy. They spoke out against bigotry in the news. I realised that I had been so insecure about my sexuality and their reaction I failed to notice that damn, they were pretty open minded. I got myself off self harming, and told my best friend that I had realised that I liked girls and I thought I was bisexual. I was happier than I had been in ages.

It became common knowledge and it was fine

At 14 I came out to my class. I say come out, it was completely unplanned and just sort of happened. How it played out was more than a bit weird. A group of classmates around me were talking about how me and my best friend should “totally get together”. A friend of mine (who knew) then said “aren’t you bisexual?” It could have gone either way really. I could have denied it, or I could use this to come out. So I said, “yes”. And that was that. It spread, it became common knowledge and it was fine.

I told my mum soon after, although she didn’t quite believe me. She thought I was too young to have any idea. A few months later I said I was serious, and she told me it wasn’t what she wanted for me, but she wasn’t going to make a fuss because it would be stupid to push me away for something so (comparatively) small. She has since become more accepting than I could ever have hoped.

I try to talk as openly about it as I can

For my dad, I couldn’t pluck up the courage to say anything. I just asked my mum to tell him so he could deal with it without me being involved. He did, and while I don’t think he particularly likes it deep down, he hasn’t said anything negative about LGBT people for a while apart from a slip of the tongue. My brother knows too, mostly because I try to talk as openly about it as I can.

At 15, I started use ‘queer’ now as a label, simply not knowing anymore (I don’t use that now due to issues to do with it being a reclaimed slur). I often felt that I may be gay, as men didn’t actually seem that appealing, but then I’d just end up confused. Now, in my opinion, you can use whatever label you want, or none at all – and if you come out as one thing, you can come out again as another if you realise something later on. I also dated someone at my school now, who was pretty, kind and could sing (which I don’t think matters as much to me anymore), and although we’ve broken up now I am still good friends with her. I’m openly LGB at school. People who know don’t care. I think a lot of things I picked up in what my parents said were minute things that I highlighted and was just the result of paranoia. I don’t worry about it anymore. I’m 16, love girls and am just going with it.

‘Sinner’ in a house of god

I was a Christian child, I grew up going to church, praying every night, remembering bits of the bible and keeping a copy with me everyday. I believed that homosexuality was sin. It wasn’t until I was about 13 when I found out that I liked girls too. I kept quiet, never told my parents, not even my friends. I thought the phase would pass on quickly and I’d like boys again.

Why would you be opposed to being different? Love is love.

A year or so before, I had a kiss with a boy at church. When I was 14, I found out that this wasn’t a phase when I kissed a girl. I liked it. When I was 15,  I came out to my friends, they were all okay with it and were really accepting. I had several girlfriends over the next several years and I was really happy being myself. Why would you be opposed to being different? Love is love.

They were fine with it

When I left Texas to go to University in Conneticut I decided to tell my parents. First I told my siblings, they were fine with it. My older brother was worried and told me it’s just a phase, but my younger siblings were fine about it. Two weeks before I left, I told my parents. They both screamed at me and yelled at me about going to hell and being a spawn of satan. Why should people be opposed to love? Isn’t god all-loving and accepting? I decided I wouldn’t stay in my bigoted little home and moved in with my girlfriend.

If people are hurting or bullying you about who you love, tell them to piss off and get a dictionary, because love is love no matter which gender. I support you and accept you for who you are. Parents don’t accept you? Move out! Friends don’t accept you? Forget them, find better friends. You deserve it!

What I did in the morning was old news by the afternoon

In the town where I grew up, everybody knew everybody. You couldn’t do something in the morning without the whole town knowing about it by the afternoon. There were no support groups, youth clubs, nowhere I could go to receive the message “who I am is ok”. I need you to know that. Who you are is ok.

I’ve been there

Life is messy. Things don’t always work out the way you planned. Maybe you are learning things about yourself, and you don’t know how to handle it. Maybe it’s painful. You might not have anyone to support you, or you might be too afraid to ask for help because once you say something out loud it becomes real and you have to deal with it. I’ve been there.

Do things that make you happy

Friends and family might be trying to tell you you’re not ok. If they are, I’m sorry- I know how much that hurts. But don’t let hatred ruin your heart. Try to live your life as openly and honestly as possible. Do things that make you happy right now.

Love yourself

Self love and acceptance is one of the most important things, it has the power to change your life for the better. Meet new people, do the things you have always wanted to do -and love yourself. That is the most important thing.

I thought I was a weirdo until I met Alli

I eventually met a girl called Alli in eight grade who is one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever laid my eyes on! At first thought I was bisexual and that’s what I called myself until 8th grade passed.

Once I entered high school I finally found people that understood me. Soon after finding the right people I finally decided I was a lesbian…a super-duper lesbian!

Sure it did take some time of telling myself ‘it’s going to be okay’, ‘you’re not weird’, ‘there so many other people like you’, and ‘you’re not alone’.

If you want to be truly happy you have to love yourself, you have to walk around and be comfortable in your own skin. And don’t be afraid to strut your stuff and show your gay pride. And that girl Alli I was talking about? She’s now my girlfriend. Anything’s possible :)