41 year old Artist from Dundee
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 and still live there now. I hated it growing up as I lived in a rough area. The other children knew I was different and I didn't have a safe journey into adulthood because of this. I went to University with the sole aim of getting my Degree and using it as a ticket out of Dundee. However, I met my soulmate whilst at University and we ended up settling down in Dundee, in a better area of course. Now, I see the beauty in Dundee. We have a good family and plenty of good friends.
Question 2. How would you describe your sexual orientation?
Lesbian. However, I did stuggle for years when I was younger with the idea that I might be a man , simply because I only had a choice of two genders. I don't consider myself as man nor woman, instead I fluctuate between the two. I am not attracted to men at all.
Question 3. What were the best and worst things to happen to you at school?
Worst thing was when everyone found out I was gay and a girl accused me of raping her with a pair of drumsticks, which of course was complete nonsense. Every day after that pupils would spit on me, kick and punch me as I went along the corridors from class to class. No one would speak to me, even the teachers treated me badly bar one. The best thing about school was the swimming pool where I would go twice a day to get away and do lap after lap, it was so comforting and peaceful.
Question 4. Do you ever have to conceal any aspect of your personal life? Give an example.
Obviously, my sexuality if I feel unsafe or that I wouldn't get a job. An example would be when I served in the Territorial Army for 10 years. They became suspicious and tried to get my best friend to disclose my sexuality but thankfully she didn't. I am ashamed and angry to say I kissed a few men just to keep up the facade until I couldn't bare it anymore.
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 told my parents I was bisexual when I was 12 and I said "bisexual" instead of lesbian in order to soften the blow. My parents went berserck, took me to the doctors the next day, phoned the school to complain, took me to a psychiatrist, got me a social worker and then tried some sort of religious exorcism, like in "Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit" by Jeanette Winterstone! I was given my own cuttlery etc as this was at the time when people first became aware of AIDS. Needless to say it was a horrific time. My parents are actually wonderful now and regret what happened and only wished there had been a support group for them.
Question 6. Do you experience discrimination in everyday life? If so, give an example.
Yes, I think as a lesbian woman I still face discrimination on different levels in todays society. On the first level, I am faced with hostility and at times aggression if I hold hands with my partner in the street or am affectionate with her in any other way. On another level, I have experienced discrimination due to my androgynous appearance. This can vary from rude and undisguised staring to violence. I'm sure I could go on but you get the idea.
Question 7. Who is likely to be more hostile to you and who is the most supportive of you in your life?
Most hostile to me are men and most supportive to me are lesbian women, my family and friends.