38 year old male Academic from Glasgow
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 a small market town in the south-west of Scotland. I imagine that for visitors it is a pretty idyllic place, but for a questioning youth it was something of a straight-jacket. I left when I was 18 and headed for Edinburgh, and a disastrous first spell at university life.
Question 2. How would you describe your sexual orientation?
I consider myself gay, but I have had a number of relationships with women, but not for at least 10 years.
Question 3. What were the best and worst things to happen to you at school?
I don't look back on my school life with any fondness at all. It was a rather lonely and isolating experience for me. I knew I was 'different' from an early age and the fear of discovery meant that I was very withdrawn. The best thing about those years was that I had excellent teachers of English and History and they nurtured my interests. I think I still carry a bit of resentment about that period of my life.
Question 4. Do you ever have to conceal any aspect of your personal life? Give an example.
Up until recently I tended to conceal aspects of my personal life to older relatives. That's not an issue anymore. I am quite open about my personal life, but only when a situation demands it.
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.
All of my friends and family are aware of my sexuality. I 'came out' in installments. The responses from my family and friends were supportive, and I have never had any significant problems so far.
Question 6. Do you experience discrimination in everyday life? If so, give an example.
I find that discrimination tends to be over the 'little things' which in reality are not so little. Although my family has never expressed any disappointment over who I am, and would consider themselves open and accepting, there are still indications that the reverse can be true. I have been in a committed relationship for over 10 years but it is not viewed in the same light as a committed heterosexual relationship.
Question 7. Who is likely to be more hostile to you and who is the most supportive of you in your life?
I find my professional academic colleagues and friends the most supportive. I have perhaps been lucky in that I have never experienced outright hostility. But I do feel that casual homophobia can be the most annoying. Sometimes, there is an assumption from straight friends that you are most comfortable socialising in a LGBT environment and can find myself excluded from social occasions for that reason.