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.

I tried to tell someone at that point, but he took it so badly that I decided never to tell anyone else, until now, and only now, because I can no longer live in a prison that he and I built.

Telling my family was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I am so fortunate that my (living) relatives reacted with love. It’s too late to know if my father could have ever accepted it. I have my doubts.

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 to be like everyone else. 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, 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.

Posted in Blog, Pride Month 2021, Writing

Why It’s Time For Couples To Get Off Tinder and Leave Bisexual Women Alone

I once wrote a song called Swipe Forever, about what it’s like to date as a bisexual, and it’s been stuck in my head for weeks now, because a) I’m a narcissist who loves their own music b) I’m attempting to date again and once again, I am having the WORST time.

I currently have my tinder set to show women only, because frankly, I’m tired of men, and as a girl with options, I’m taking those options. The trouble is, a huge amount of profiles that show up for people searching for a woman are couples. I know you can’t see me as you’re reading this, but I want you to know that I am currently rolling my eyes.

I’m sure those couples think it’s harmless, and that they aren’t hurting anyone, but considering how many of these couples refer to bisexual women with dehumanising terms like “third” or “unicorn”, I can’t really be shocked that they don’t have the self awareness to realise why their behaviour is often biphobic as hell.

I’d like to start by reminding these couples that there are a number of specific platforms for couples to connect with people who are willing to entertain their nonsense, such as Feeld, Polyfinda, FNTSY and 3fun, so they don’t actually have to take up space on platforms where single women are looking for single women. It’s hard enough to find a girlfriend (especially for bisexual women, who are unfairly stereotyped as promiscuous and unfaithful, largely in part to the idea that we are all constantly having threesomes) but it’s even harder when you are having to wade through profiles full of “We’re an open minded couple looking to explore :)”.

The attitudes that many of these couples have about bisexual woman are disgusting. We are referred to as “unicorns”, “a bit of fun”, “thirds”. The expectation is that we are ready and willing to step into the bedrooms of bored couples to fix the fact that they no longer satisfy each other. The idea that we are people in our own right, who have romantic desires and that we could want real, meaningful connections and relationships is completely alien to them, because they see us as sex toys and marital aids.

Even if you specifically state that you aren’t interested in couples, you WILL get messages from couples. I can always recognise a bisexual woman on a dating app before I even scroll to check her orientation, because just like me, she has the tell tale “NO COUPLES!!!!” in her profile, and just like me, I know that her wishes will be ignored and she will be bombarded by couples who don’t respect her enough to accept that she is not available to them.

The entitlement is perhaps the worst part. I have encountered many couples who simply will not accept “No” as a complete sentence. They will pressure you, plead, beg, until it gets pathetic, uncomfortable and frankly, grosser than some of the weird shit I get sent from straight men. They don’t seem to understand that bisexual woman actually get to choose who they have sex with. Speaking to a bisexual woman is not like going shopping for a vibrator, because we actually talk back, and as the ill fated conversation goes on, you can tell they don’t like it.

They feel like we are being audacious for not being interested. That’s the issue. If a single person treated a woman that way, people would recognise that it was wrong, but couples treat bisexual women like this all the time and nothing is ever said about it.

If people want to have sex with other people while in relationships, that’s fine. I don’t understand it, and I have no intention of doing it myself, but as long as everyone involved wants to be there, it’s fine. All I am asking for is that they don’t involve me in it.

Stop encroaching on the space of people who have been clear that they aren’t interested. Stop talking about us as if we aren’t real people. Stop treating us like we are just a set of genitals for you and your bored partner to play with. If you really have to look for another partner, treat the people you approach with respect. It really isn’t hard.

Posted in Creative Writing, Writing

Ella at The End Of The World – Episode Thirty Two

Read more of Ella at The End Of The World

We made it here. It’s another house, fortified, like the bunker. There’s a lot more people here though, so it’s a little cramped.

I don’t mean to be rude (and they don’t use the internet so won’t see) but these people freak me out. They call themselves a movement but it’s basically a cult. It’s called The Garden Of The Free Children (which is wordy as fuck haha) but they have hot water so I can’t complain.

It’s run by this woman called Celia. She’s Mary’s friend, and she seems nice enough, I suppose, but I think the weird church shit freaks me out. She asked if I’d like to pray with her but I made an excuse and pretended to be tired.

Martin and I are sharing a room with Jude and Thomas, which is better than camping, and to be honest, I’m glad to have them here with us and away from creepy Celia…