41 year old female Call Centre worker from Maryhill, 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 the city of Glasgow, mainly in the East End of Glasgow. Dennistoun was OK to grow up in as a tomboy during the 70s as there was plenty of places to play in, particularly derelict buildings and you could play football in the local school's yard and football pitch even after school hours. We also used to climb around in the backcourts and get up to lots of mischief. There was a lot of freedom to run around and plenty other kids on the street. Things changed when my parents split up and I moved to Haghill which was really rough. I spent the last few years of my teenage years dodging spittle and ignorance, screaming fights and sometimes violent people and threats. You weren't allowed to be different ie. being a dark clothed goth type. I was glad to get out of the area at the age of 21 because then I was free to wear a hat without being hassled!
Question 2. How would you describe your sexual orientation?
I have described myself as predominantly lesbian and mostly still do. I tried men because it was all that was on offer but it didn't click for me. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be with women. However, I consider myself to be open about sexuality and would never say never. It depends on the person. Now, I wouldn't really want to pigeon-hole myself and would be most likely to describe myself as queer. The only thing I know for sure is that I am not predominantly heterosexual.
Question 3. What were the best and worst things to happen to you at school?
Best was meeting friends. Worst was being ostracised by the most of other pupils. Not because of my sexuality but because I didn't want to fit in with what they were doing which was largely heterosexual and, to my mind, infantile role-playing.
Question 4. Do you ever have to conceal any aspect of your personal life? Give an example.
I don't conceal much about my personal life due to my sexuality alone. On the other hand, I don't go about advertising my sexuality. I work with some older people, a couple of whom are religious. I don't particularly think they would get my sexuality so I don't discuss it. They haven't asked. I might tell them if asked but not if I thought it would change their attitude toward me. In new work places, if other people are discussing their partners, I might not volunteer that info. until I was sure about how they might take it. This actually came up at a new workplace the other day. A workmate and I were casually discussing our weekends. She asked 'Where's your boyfriend?' or 'What about a boyfriend?'. I said 'I don't have a boyfriend?'. She said 'Oh, when was the last time you dated?'. I said 'Oh let's not discuss that right now. I'll tell you all about that tomorrow!’. Basically, it was 5 to 5 and I couldn’t be bothered going through a coming out story! Obviously she was assuming I was straight. I’ve no issues with that but it can be extremely tiresome!
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 am not out to my parents and most members of my family except for my brother and my cousin who I consider to be friends. I don't discuss my romantic or sexual life with my parents. They know I have friends but I'm not sure if they know I'm queer as I also talk about and hang a lot with male friends. I think they are embarassed to ask. I'm embarassed that I haven't told them and it would seem stupid now as I'm 40 years old and we are all happy with things. I don't think they would care that much. They aren't the type to describe relationships, friendships or intimacy regardless of sexuality. It doesn't seem to bother them or me.
Question 6. Do you experience discrimination in everyday life? If so, give an example.
My partner was kicked in the street once and we weren't even holding hands or anything. Not that that should matter! It was shortly after the Brixton bombing. A bunch of guys came up behind us while we were walking back from town. They said something to my friend and she said something back. Then one of them kicked her. She was really angry and started shouting back. The guys said "They should have bombed you in the Brixton bomb". I got really scared and told my partner to run away and ended up screaming at her cos these guys were really scarey and horrible. A male passer-by came up and was sympathetic. My girlfriend and I went home and had a blazing row because I was so scared she could have got hurt. Nasty. It was a hate crime. We could have been any two women. We didn't even think it to report it to the police.
Question 7. Who is likely to be more hostile to you and who is the most supportive of you in your life?
It depends. Most people are OK. Sometimes the most hostility actually come from so-called friends. Strangers can be kind. There's no rhyme or reason to it. The most hostility tends to come from people who are bothered about their own sexuality and who's to know who that is? The most supportive people are those that get to know you as a person for your other qualities besides your sexuality.