37 year old female Manager of a Community Centre in Dumfries and Galloway
Question 1. In what kind of place did you grow up? (e.g. village, small town, city) Do you still live there now?
I grew up in Dundee, the 4th largest City in Scotland, famous for industry in particular the production of Jute, Jam and Journalism.
Question 2. How would you describe your sexual orientation?
Out and proud gay woman
Question 3. What were the best and worst things to happen to you at school?
I loved school - enjoyed learning and participating in music, Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and lots of other extra curricular activities. I did very well at school and was made school captain. I think this would probably have been different if I'd been 'out' at that time and having secret crushes on teachers and classmates was difficult. I would have loved to have been 'me' at school rather than in the closet.
Question 4. Do you ever have to conceal any aspect of your personal life? Give an example.
Not any more - I am totally open about my sexual orientation and having moved now to a small rural village in south west scotland I thought that might be hard, but in actual fact it's been no problem at all.
Question 5. Do your friends and family know about your sexuality/gender? If you have come out, give an idea of when this was and of how people responded.
I came out aged 21 to my mum and brother. My brother was fine (in fact he told me that he thought I was gay which is what prompted me to come out) but my mum struggled with it at first. I was living in Edinburgh at this point and I did feel like I needed to move away from Dundee to come out. I told everyone in Edinburgh and slowly came out to old friends back home. In the main, reactions ranged from total acceptance to reluctant acceptance. 16 years later, everyone totally accepts me and my partner, and although some still think my life is slighly 'exotic' they are all totally cool. The only real hassle I have ever had is from strangers.
Question 6. Do you experience discrimination in everyday life? If so, give an example.
Not so much now, but a few years ago I used to receive daily verbal abuse from strangers, mainly groups of young people. I also have recieved inappropriate and discriminatory health care; have had hate mail from neighbours; have been physically assaulted twice and been raped by a man (which I believe was partly as a result of my sexual orientation).
Question 7. Who is likely to be more hostile to you and who is the most supportive of you in your life?
Strangers are most hostile but less so now, and family, friends, neighbours, colleagues are most supportive. I have great support in my life and am a very happy out and proud gay woman.