Posted in Blog, Personal, Writing

The Truth, On National Coming Out Day.

I have known I was a lesbian since I was about ten, and it scared me to death.

Well, I say that, but it was more that I knew I was interested in women, not men, but didn’t know what that really meant since I was about ten. More on why that was in a second.

I grew up in a very progressive household when I lived with my mother, and that is such a blessing and a privilege, but it didn’t make a difference to how I felt about myself and the fears I had. I’m grateful for it, but they couldn’t save me from the world outside.

At school, “promotion of homosexuality” was banned, so I thought something was wrong with me. My family would try to teach me about other types of families and people, but I was being fed homophobia from a school that had no choice but to teach it to us.

(For more on why my school experience was so bad, and the history of homophobia in Kent from our local government, check out this really good article by Kent Live).

My faith is very important to me too, and I imagine that played a part. My relationship with it has changed as I’ve gotten older and felt confident in questioning what I’m told. I firmly believe God would not hate me for feeling love, but that took a long time to understand.

I will probably never be able to marry in a Catholic Church, despite being more of a Catholic than many straight people who have been allowed to. It’s painful to think about but I’m kind of at peace with it.

As I got older, and particularly when I went to university, I discovered that it wasn’t a sickness and that I wasn’t damned to hell, but it has taken literal years to unlearn that fear and self loathing. I spent years trying to be someone else.

Telling my family was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I am so fortunate that my (living) relatives reacted with love. I still don’t know how my father would react, but it’s too late to find out.

In my mid twenties, I began calling myself bisexual, because it felt a bit safer than telling the truth. Bisexuality is absolutely real and bisexuals are 100% valid, I just wasn’t one of them.

Even after getting over the fear of being sick or damned to hell, I was still afraid of the reality of being a lesbian. I wanted a family. I wanted to be a wife. When I became legally old enough to marry in the UK, it was still illegal for me to marry a woman.

And I mean REALLY marry by the way. Civil partnerships are not the same imo. Labour should have pushed equal marriage through and they failed the LGBT community by not doing so. Come at me Tonty Blair.

I became convinced that I’d have to “put up with a man” to get what I wanted. To be a wife, and more importantly, to be a mother (being married is kind of a required step to have kids as a Catholic lmao). Putting up with a man would be worth it to hold my child in my arms.

The only man that it wasn’t torture to have a sham relationship with. He was kind and patient in a way nobody had ever been, and not being able to love him in the way he loved me is my only regret. I think I did (and still do) love him, in my own way, and he will always mean more to me than he could ever understand.

When I was a teenager, I’d pray every night for it all to go away. I’d stare at boys all day in class and plead with myself to find them attractive. Up until this year, I’d basically force myself into relationships with men to try and make myself like them. It just made me sad.

I would invent reasons to like men. Pretty much anything I’ve ever “found attractive” in a man throughout my life have either been typically feminine traits (a coping mechanism) or made up stuff I’ve projected onto them to find some way to like them.

I am almost thirty years old and I don’t think I have ever truly been in love, because I’ve been masquerading and pretending out of fear or I’ve been in a fleeting connection with a woman that I run away from because I feel like I shouldn’t be with her.

I joke all the time about being emotionally broken but if I’m honest, I really do think that suppressing my real self and bullying myself into the closet over and over out of fear has done legitimate damage to me, and I don’t know what to do about that.

My greatest wish is to find this girl again and tell her that she’s going to be okay.

I eventually came out (properly this time) because of two things. One, I was on a date with a man and he literally said to me “I think you’re a lesbian” and I knew the jig was up. Two, I couldn’t face turning thirty and still being desperately unhappy.

I don’t want to be lonely anymore. I don’t want to feel like I’m constantly chased by a shameful secret. I want the people I love to really know me. I want to find someone to build a real life with instead of settling for a sham marriage. I want to really live.

I don’t say any of this so that people will feel sorry for me, by the way, because it’s one of those things where the damage is done (by myself lmao) and I don’t really need validation, I just want people to understand why we can’t allow future generations to do this.

People ask why LGBT inclusive sex and relationships education needs to happen. People like me are why. You have to let kids know that they’ll be okay. Nobody is saying “teach kids about anal at five years old!” but just let them know it’s okay if they grow up to be gay, so they don’t end up like me.

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Personal, Writing

I Love You, But I Have To Go

It’s all falling down.
London Bridge,
and all the things you dreamed of,
as you stared across the river at it.
I love you, but I have to go,
because there’s nothing else I can do,
except mourn you in solitude when I eventually arrive on safer shores, of course,
but for now,
all I can do is pull away my fingertips from your grasping, desperate hand,
tear my eyes from the face I’ve stared at for a lifetime and walk away.

I love you, but I have to go,
because you have to die so that I can live,
and I know you’ll never understand why,
but I love you,
more than my departure suggests, and I know this is best,
but something about the way you wail makes it so hard to hang it all up and go.
The sky is aflame,
we swipe the clouds left and right with warm hands,
but you know that I have to go,
don’t you?

I love you, but I have to go.
I love you, but you have to let me go,
and I’d tell you
“No, I won’t forget you”
but the way you cling to what’s left of me shows that you know I will.
I take one last look at your familiar eyes,
your gaze so defeated under the glassy guard of the Thames,
and my hand hurts without you to hold it,
but the world is aflame,
the sun is sleeping on the ground,
and I love you, but I have to go.

I’ll never know if you were crying,
as you slip further under the surface,
but you had to die,
so I could live,
reborn and free of who I was, with you.
I love you, but I have to go.

Maybe one day,
when it all cools down,
you can come back around,
but for now,
I have to rebuild a new girl for us to be.
I love you, and I’ll come back for you, one day.

Posted in Blog, Personal, Writing

Why Can’t Men Leave Lesbians Alone?

Hello, it’s me, your unfriendly, neighbourhood lesbian.

Blue ticked bitch, besties!

I’d like to start by saying that when I refer to men in this blog post, I am not talking about non binary people. Maybe we won’t be compatible (but maybe we will…), but I have no issue seeing them around because we share experiences and understand each other. I am also not talking about trans men, who, again, might not be a match for me (but again, maybe they would…), but are not a problem in wlw spaces.

I am talking about cis men in wlw spaces.

The audacity to like my profile when you’re not only a cis man, but also a TORY??????

The majority of experiences I have had with cis men in wlw spaces are predatory, with them being creepy and invasive, harassing me and other women who just want to find other women, so the question is, why are dating apps enabling this?

We are not even talking about people who could be considered feminine, and questioning their gender, these are legitimately cis, masculine, heterosexual men who are very comfortable with the idea that they are men. Many of them will openly admit this in their profiles, despite having a profile set as a woman “by mistake”. Some will even have their gender set to “Man”, but will inexplicably be shown to lesbian women, and be allowed to interact with them.

I blame Drake’s new album for this.

I have received abusive, homophobic messages from cis men, including men implying that my sexuality is a result of sexual trauma or child abuse, men implying that they can “fix” my sexuality, men pressuring me to accept their advances, men insisting that I should just try to be with them (I have, and I had a dreadful time) as well as men pleading to see private pictures and videos of me and other women. I have reported these men when I’ve encountered them but nothing has happened, and frankly, they should not have had access to my profile in the first place.

How to lose friends and alienate lesbians…

I used to get some harassment when I was deluding myself that I was bisexual (happy Bi month to my former siblings by the way, thank you for taking care of me over the years), but it was nothing in comparison to the way men have treated me since I began being real about being a lesbian.

This is not just a problem on widely used apps that include cis and straight people like Tinder and Bumble but it is also an issue on apps specifically intended for LGBT women and non binary people interested in women, such as Her and Zoe. If apps specifically made for us are no longer safe, what are we supposed to do?

Cis men on your LGBT+ women exclusive app? It’s more likely than you think…

This might just seem like I’m complaining over a mild inconvenience but this is a major safety issue. Hate crimes against the LGBT community are increasing, not only in the UK but across the world, so having safe spaces where we can communicate and be open about ourselves is important.

LGBT women have faced rising homophobic and transphobic abuse through dating platforms from cis men, along with messages full of fetishisation and fantasies. There have been cis men pretending to be trans men to avoid being banned from LGBT focused apps, only coming clean about being cis when they’ve matched with somebody, which puts real trans men in danger of abuse and harassment. Trans women face harassment from men who sign up purposefully to fetishise them and dehumanise them, but the majority of apps have no interest in stopping this clear abuse of the rules.

I also have no clue what you’re doing here, buddy.

There are some men that I can believe may have made a mistake setting up their profiles (although why they haven’t noticed and started a new profile is beyond me) but there are also many who had a clear motive when setting up profiles that will be shown to lesbians, especially when they do so on apps that are clearly and undeniably for women and non binary people only.

Why do you require a lesbian to do that? Go play dress up by yourself lmao

Women will have profiles deleted for having too much cleavage in a picture, or for using a swear word when responding to harassment, but men specifically setting up profiles to harass women who are clearly uninterested are left to do as they please, and all women can do is complain to each other because the platforms don’t care about our safety or wellbeing.

It’s literally impossible to be straight and bisexual at the same time, my dude.

So, here I am, complaining to women (and probably some men and non binary pals) who read my blog, hoping for change. Part of me knows it won’t happen. In the UK, lesbians are still harassed in the street and online. Women in general are subjected to regular harassment and breaches of our boundaries. The public is turning on the LGBT community, labelling us as “woke” and “loony lefties” because we want equal treatment for our trans family, and so, with all that in mind, do I expect this predatory behaviour to stop? No lmao, I’m just tired. That’s all. I’m exhausted.