Posted in Blog, Personal, Writing

Should people stop coming out?

Happy Pride Month! I know, it’s a bit of a bleak one, this year, due to Coronavirus cancelling all our plans, but despite the lack of parades, events and gatherings for the community, this pride month can still be a time to celebrate ourselves, and the steps our community has taken over the years, whether it’s on your own, or on a zoom call. One of the things that I’ve been thinking about recently, is the act of coming out, and what it means in the modern world. There is a lot of debate about it, from within and outside the LGBT+ community, with some believing it is still an important part of a person’s journey, and some believing it no longer matters. I think it matters, and I want to explain why.

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Recently, TV presenter Phillip Schofield used an episode of This Morning to announce that he was coming out as gay. It was emotional, with Phillip, and many of the nation watching at home crying, and it was a powerful message to closeted LGBT+ people that it is never too late to be true to yourself. However, some people were not moved by the moment. There were many responses stating that he was selfish, for having married and started a family before coming out, for example, which ignores the reality that the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, in 1967 was not the end of discrimination for gay men, due to stigma continuing for decades.

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It hurts to have built a relationship with someone, to then discover that they didn’t and couldn’t love you the way you loved them. One of my earliest relationships was with a gay man. I had no idea, but looking back, the signs were kind of obvious. Our relationship was almost entirely platonic, just with a fancy “in a relationship” facebook label. We never had sex, in fact, he never once even discussed it, or attempted it. When he kissed me, it was gentle and sweet, but entirely without passion. When he came out to me, a part of me was hurt, because I knew that he loved me, just not in the same way I had loved him, but I understood why. His parents were homophobic. He was frightened of being kicked out of his house, or abandoned, and so, he found a girlfriend. I was hurt that our relationship was essentially built on a lie, a little humiliated, because it turns out, most people around me could see that pretty clearly, but I knew that he hadn’t done it deliberately to hurt me. I imagine Phillip Schofield was in a similar situation, because for all the changes made by society, there has always been, and probably always will be stigma against LGBT+ people. By the time he was an adult, homosexuality was legalised in the UK, but there were still huge amounts of discrimination in British society, so it wasn’t (and to be honest, still isn’t) so easy to just come out, and be done with it. I sympathise with his wife and family, but I sympathise with him too.

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Other complaints were essentially “Who cares, lots of people are gay, why does it need to be a big deal?” and honestly, this is a complaint I have only ever really seen from straight or cis people. Coming out doesn’t have to be a big deal. It doesn’t have to happen, if a person doesn’t want, but for a lot of people, it is a cathartic and essential declaration of who they are. Yes, to a straight or cis person, seeing another celebrity come out, or seeing a viral coming out video from a member of the public might make it seem like this is just a normal, run of the mill thing, that all us rainbow bitches are doing, on an almost daily basis, but the reality is, the act of coming out publicly, is the end of a long road of self discovery, and acceptance. Most people come out to themselves, a long time before they tell anyone else, and that in itself is a hard road to walk down, so when a person reaches the point, where they feel comfortable inviting others on that journey, being met with responses  like “Who cares?” or “We always knew!” can be very hurtful. Yes, maybe you did always know, or maybe you don’t care, but the person opening up has probably had a long road to finding out who they are, and this is something that matters to them. It costs you nothing to keep your cynical comments to yourself.

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Coming out is a route to defining who you are, and what that means for you, on your own terms, and is by no means the end of an LGBT+ persons journey, but an important milestone, that they have every right to celebrate. It doesn’t matter if you already know lots of LGBT+ people, or if you think that society should move on from LGBT+ people being seen as different. You don’t know this particular LGBT+ person, because them coming out, is you meeting them, as they truly are, for the very first time, and it isn’t much to ask to just let them have their moment. You don’t even have to participate, you just have to not be rude or dismissive about it, really.

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A lot of people will make the argument that coming out is redundant, because being LGBT+ is normal, or that we are just like straight and cis people, but that isn’t really true. LGBT+ hate crime has risen over the years, with homophobia, biphobia and transphobia still being consistent issues. When was the last time you saw someone being murdered because they were straight, or harassed in the street for being cis? I’m not trying to sound angry here, but, well, I am angry, because telling us that we are accepted is dismissive, when there is still open discrimination against LGBT+ people. If we are just like straight and cis people, where does the discrimination come from? You might personally have no problem with LGBT+ people, and that’s lovely, but evidently, a lot of people still do.

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There are some who are never able to come out. Living their lives in isolation, or living them without the honesty that they deserve to have, out of fear, both in the past, and now, in the modern world. Annual pride parades, brands covering themselves in rainbows every June, and LGBT+ representation may give non LGBT+ people the idea that everyone is accepting, but everyone’s personal circumstances are different. People’s environments can effect whether they feel safe to be open about who they are, and for some, the open joy of pride month is just a bitter reminder of a life they will never get to fully enjoy. Sometimes, I feel those of us that are out take our openness for granted. Once you’re out, and living your life as you want to, it can be easy to forget how you got there, and even harder to imagine how difficult it would be with even more obstacles.

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There are also some who come out, to seemingly deaf ears. This is a problem that is often faced by us bisexuals, and can be demonstrated by looking at one of the most famous bisexuals on the planet, Lady GaGa. Lady GaGa has been open about her bisexuality since the beginning of her career, and has essentially come out, multiple times, as every time she discusses it, it is met with a lot of doubt. People doubt her bisexuality constantly, she is constantly labelled as an ally to the LGBT+ community, and rarely recognised as a part of it. Her years of activism, openness about her sexuality, and frankly, very obvious lyrics about her bisexuality are ignored, because people invalidate her at every turn. Bisexuality in particular seems to be difficult for many to understand, with assumptions such as it being a phase that takes you to either heterosexuality or homosexuality, or that if a bisexual person doesn’t openly and loudly date all kinds of people, they are not in fact bisexual. Coming out, allows us to define ourselves. In some cases, it has to be done repeatedly, due to people doubting that we know ourselves best, but it is still an act of power that allows us to openly state who we are. The invalidation of people like Lady GaGa often comes from a lack of understanding. Despite bisexuals having always existed, we are very misunderstood (don’t get me started on the constant invasive and incorrect assumptions about threesomes, my alleged lack of fidelity and whether or not I hate trans people). It might not seem as complicated when it is your lived experience, but to people who have never experienced bisexuality, it might be hard to understand, so, I would argue, that more bisexual people coming out, or talking about who they are, will increase that understanding, break down harmful stereotypes, and minimise things like this in the future. The same can be said for all parts of the LGBT+community, especially, in current circumstances, the trans community. There is a lot of confusion around trans people from outside of the LGBT+ community (and even inside it, if we’re being honest), which leads to difficult experiences for trans people, and also leads to discrimination. Allowing trans people the space to discuss and define who they are, on their terms, once again, increases public awareness, and has more of a chance of lowering discrimination, than just pretending there is no discrimination.

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Coming out is not only an act of expression for yourself, but a way to connect with a community of people that know your experience, and can support you in the next steps of your journey. It can also be a message to people who are a few steps behind, as was the case with Phillip Schofield, and other high profile LGBT+ people. Yes, to a straight or cis person, it’s just another celebrity, coming out, but to a person who is afraid to be themselves, it is a message that they are not alone, and at a time like this, there is no more important message for the LGBT+ community (both open and closeted) to hear.

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

New Podcast Episode Available

Hola amigos,

There is a new podcast episode available, featuring some new poems, as well as discussions about The Little Mermaid, Sylvia Plath, straight pride, and my final requests to my loved ones before she dies.

You can find the new episode on your favourite podcast provider here, and you can find the episode guide for Sincerely, Jennifer x here.

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Besos,

J x



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Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

New Podcast Episode Available

Hola amigos,

There is a new podcast episode available, featuring some new poems, as well as discussions about agreeing to disagree on life’s big questions, saving the planet, and making friends with dragons.

You can find the new episode on your favourite podcast provider here, and you can find the episode guide for Sincerely, Jennifer x here.

cropped-img_0354

Besos,

J x



Read My Books

Hear My Music

Hear My Podcast

RECENT FREE CREATIVE WRITING COLLECTIONS
Sad Girl’s Love Song
Drowning In Us
What Ever Happened To Baby Jen?

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Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

Virgin Vogue

Hola amigos,

You can now read my new collection, Virgin Vogue. I wanted to put together something to celebrate LGBT history and LGBT culture, to mark Pride Month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Besos, J x

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Virgin Vogue

-x-

Virgin Vogue
Don’t Think About Her
Margaret Thatcher Has An Inalienable Right To Shut The Fuck Up
A Song For Venus/Girls Like Us
Solidarity, Until It Gets Too Sapphic
Patrick Fucking Harvie
Brandon Teena
The Well Of Loneliness
Here’s To The Kids Who Wear Purple
Celebrate Your Life

-x-

Virgin Vogue

The pattern of the strobe,

followed the bass line,

mimicking the petrified pounding of my heart.

It didn’t have to be a big deal,

but it was me,

so,

of course it was.

I have a habit of rising from my watery grave,

staring up at the stars,

and inventing reasons to be anxious,

about the simplest things.

I scorched the Earth,

in sensible heels,

on my way to break out of the chains I put myself in.

I was going to be free,

in a very subdued sense,

presenting my secrets to the underground wonderland,

with my heart in my throat,

and my throat in the clutches of my dream girl.

I don’t come here often,

but I plan on making a habit of it.

-x-

Don’t Think About Her

I was lying in bed.

My hand was somewhere,

that I don’t like to talk about.

I was thinking about men.

The only wet thing in my bed,

was my face,

as I wept,

knowing I couldn’t think away the truth,

or the way I desperately wanted to think of her.

-x-

Margaret Thatcher Has An Inalienable Right To Shut The Fuck Up

British citizens have an inalienable right,

to flirt with the far right,

on boat rides,

big rallies,

and brightly lit stages.

An inalienable right,

to evade tax,

if your will lands in the right pockets.

An inalienable right to send the poor to war,

for oil,

and a special relationship,

to meet the curious and carefree eyes of civilian children,

with missiles.

We can go wild.

We have an inalienable right,

if we get into government,

to creep down the corridors,

of primaries and nurseries,

snatching up free school meals,

milk and pencils,

from the tiny hands and mouths,

who want to learn,

about their inalienable rights,

which will turn out not to be as rigid,

as those of the raptors,

that haunt the hallways,

looking for new ways to make the public pessimistic.

However,

as the prototype for the robot,

who ruled over us,

once said,

without the awkward dancing and meme potential of her successor,

that we British citizens,

in a free and fair society,

do not have an inalienable right to be gay.

Murder,

tax evasion,

stealing milk from kids,

and making friends with paedophiles is fine though 🙂

Margaret Thatcher has an inalienable right,

to shut the fuck up.

-x-

A Song For Venus/Girls Like Us

New York knows you.

Small stem,

to tepid titan,

coaxing the clouds,

from the sky,

and the stars to the sidewalk.

They gather,

gasping at your glow,

as you break free,

and breathe,

for the first time,

on your own terms.

Small smile,

small girl,

big dreams,

at the ball,

on the roof,

gazing at the gallant night,

that belongs to you.

Take the night.

Take the stars,

from the sidewalk,

decorate your darling face,

and walk,

walk,

walk,

to bloom,

in the blue of the morning light.

-x-

Solidarity, Until It Gets Too Sapphic

They lay their lips,

on our feminist features,

barely even a kiss,

but it’s enough to convince them,

that they’re solid in their solidarity.

Everybody says I’m a good girl,

until they notice I’ve been seen,

in Notting Hill,

a little too often,

a little late at night.

I make history,

just by falling in love,

but love is a triviality,

that blackens your image irredeemably,

apparently.

-x-

Patrick Fucking Harvie

I once heard Europe’s favourite bisexual,

(apart from myself,

obvs),

Mr Patrick Fucking Harvie,

King of the climate change debate,

well respected recycler,

and the only MSP that Donald Trump truly fears,

state,

(perhaps I am paraphrasing),

that it was time to be far less tolerant,

of intolerance.

It’s hard to disagree,

when you consider that nobody ever died,

from being told to stop calling someone a queer,

but we have lost too many of our family,

expired in an avalanche,

that built day by day.

Fag.

Queer.

Pervert.

Deviant.

Dyke.

Why does it have to be like this?

Why do we accept,

that our souls must be sacrificed,

for the sake of a homophobe’s freedom?

Why do we watch each generation,

falling as the hatred hurtles through the rainbow we wrap ourselves in?

How can we let another generation go through what we went through?

Patrick Fucking Harvie,

is both environmentally friendly,

and correct.

It is time,

to be less tolerant of intolerance,

because the kids deserve better than this.

-x-

Brandon Teena

Life tried to speak,

another existence,

decades of denial,

that decayed,

until he was standing,

saying his name,

under the starless sky,

hushed and hopeful,

that the world would echo back,

and suddenly,

the sky was so full of stars,

saying his name,

hushed and hopeful,

that he could hear them.

-x-

The Well Of Loneliness

My love for her,

was a natural,

God given state,

sent from the clouds that surrounded sunrises,

that we’d often watch,

our fingers finding each other,

in the camouflage of gentle grass,

meeting in the muted mellow moments of quiet,

when nobody could catch us,

capturing each other in a kiss.

She was bliss.

With her in my arms,

and on my mind,

the questions of my quest for fulfilment,

were finally forgotten,

and I could exist,

not divided,

divine and decidedly at peace,

knowing that I was born,

to kiss her,

full on the lips,

as a lover.

I tell you of her,

not out of joy,

dear reader,

or for the heartbreak of denying you,

(and me) a happy ending.

She is gone.

I have spent six months,

moping in the meadow,

swearing at the sunrise,

for not bringing her back when it visits.

Pouring through page after page,

of this book she recommended.

Of course,

it ended.

Whether we die,

or simply drift apart,

the gays shall always be buried.

I read The Well Of Loneliness,

to see if I could find a way,

to win back her heart,

but,

all I have is nonsensical notes,

and tear stained cheeks.

I suppose,

I’ll sail this ship alone.

-x-

Here’s To The Kids Who Wear Purple

You taught me to love,

showing me how to put familiar fondness

in the single fondant fancy I would find,

hiding in my lunch box,

alongside salad sandwiches,

that tasted of

Have a good day.”

Come home safe.”

You are the thing I have loved most,

in this wild, wide world.”

I watched you wash my clothes,

turning them from fashion to compassion,

sending me into the world each day,

wrapped in wishes that I would be wise and well,

sending me to sleep,

with stories,

soft pyjamas,

and a small nightlight made of the stars from the sky,

you always taught me was mine to aim for.

So,

why,

when I loved someone,

who loved me too,

the way you taught me,

with kindness,

selflessly,

more than I had ever loved anyone,

in this wild, wide world,

did you suddenly stop?

-x-

Celebrate Your Life

Don’t go.

That’s vague,

non committal enough to be comfortable,

but I hope you’ll see through it all,

understanding that when I am with you,

I am home.

I don’t know you.

That’s the truth,

maybe it makes this confusing,

but I hope we’ll have more summer days,

parading and praising each other,

here,

our home.

I miss them.

That’s strange to say,

but it’s true,

and I’d miss you,

though all of you are mysteries to me.

We have lost so much,

threatened by more loss every day,

so please,

come home,

and celebrate your life.

Please don’t go.

That’s a lot to ask,

it might not even be something you control.

When you bleed,

I am reeling,

my heart tied in knots,

because we are a part of each other’s pictures,

thrown together,

because people couldn’t understand us,

but we built ourselves a home.

I love you.

That’s all I have to offer you,

but if you take it,

or if you don’t,

I’ll fight for you.

Just make sure you come home,

every now and then,

so we can spend the summer days,

just living.

Celebrate your life,

celebrate what we have,

here,

built through the years,

by those who we lost,

and those who we have yet to meet.

Celebrate your life,

with me,

at home.

-x-


Read My Books

Hear My Music

Hear My Podcast

RECENT FREE CREATIVE WRITING COLLECTIONS
Sad Girl’s Love Song
Drowning In Us
What Ever Happened To Baby Jen?

COME FIND ME
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