Written by Bethany Walsh
This month is the time where we celebrate the LGBT+’s history. In honour of this, I’ve decided to talk about my experience as a lesbian woman: the choices I’ve made, the people who have helped me get through this and the feeling of finally being able to be myself – as cliché as it sounds.
I guess I always knew that I fancied women. The first memory I have of actually thinking about one was when I was 7, after watching Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head. For some reason I couldn’t stop thinking about her. For myself, as a 7 year old, I didn’t really know the difference between liking a man and liking a woman. As I grew older, I knew that I still liked boys but I also liked girls, but it seemed that no one felt the same way, so I kept my feelings for myself.
Going through middle school is difficult, with a lot of judgment and peer pressure present. So there was no way I was going to shout out that I was bisexual. I hadn’t even done any research about the LGBT+ community. It never crossed my mind and I just thought there was something wrong with me.
Time skip to high school, and I met new people and made great friends. They were the ones that helped me come out of my shell and open up. I found out that half of my friends were LGBT+ which helped a lot. I educated myself on the LGBT+ community and its history.
Then came the time where I told my parents. I had a crush on my best friend and decided to talk to my mother about it. At first she believed I was talking about some guy at school until I admitted it was a girl. She looked at me for a moment, and then told me that she didn’t care. I can’t explain the relief but yet I still felt uncomfortable for some reason. I didn’t feel like telling my father yet, so I kept it to myself. After a few months, I told my best friend I liked her and… well, she didn’t feel the same way. Not going to lie, it hurts. However it actually brought us closer in the future years. Anyway, after admitting my feelings didn’t go well, I came back home and started crying, my dad was worried but wouldn’t leave me alone. I then proceeded to shout at him, and I literally yelled: “I like women too dad! Leave me alone!” and then slammed the door in his face. Wonderful, really. I don’t even know why I said it. Later on, when I had calmed down, he came in and told me that he kind of suspected it. I was really lucky because I know that so many people don’t have accepting parents.
A year and a half later, in June, I came to the realisation that I literally was no longer attracted to men. Obviously it wasn’t like straight away, the realisation came slowly. I admitted it to my best friend and, for the first time, I actually felt free – really cliché but true! Throughout the summer break and my last year, I no longer cared if anyone knew if I was a lesbian or not. I was just so proud of who I was and it made me happy.
Now since being at university, I’ve really not thought about my sexuality because, for me, being a lesbian is my heterosexuality. University has enabled me to join the LGBT+ society and the LGBT Network, the latter giving me the chance to help other LGBT+ students.
Now, after all of this, my parents still don’t know that I’m a lesbian because we never exactly sat down and had the “talk” and I just never really felt like talking to them about it. But I came out to my sister last year and she’s been nothing but supportive and helpful to me, and for that I owe her so much!
At the end of the day, I don’t care who knows or not, it’s not something I’m ashamed of but I don’t feel the need to go on and on about it because it’s my normality and my life. Through all of this I’ve never been a victim of homophobia which I’m extremely grateful and lucky for. I have a great family and wonderful friends. I do know that not everyone is that lucky, some have had to deal with homophobic violence, whether it be verbal or physical, and some are scared to come out to their families and their friends. I assure anyone who’s facing these difficulties, that there is always someone out there who is willing to listen, support, help and defend you. Do not ever feel forced to come out, this your choice and yours only! You are all loved and you are all free to be whoever you are! My love and respect goes out to all of you.
“Hope will never be silent.” – Harvey Milk
Feature image sourced from Unsplash
Bethany Walsh is a first-year Modern Languages student at the University of Leicester with a deep love for cats, books and music . She is interested in philosophy, history and the origins of languages