62 year old Retired Male from Scotland
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 on the outskirts of a large conurbation. I moved north as soon as I achieved independence, met my partner and now live with him in Scotland.
Question 2. How would you describe your sexual orientation?
Happily undefined. My closest, most intimate and long-lasting relationship is with my male (civil) partner. He is a true friend and I love him above all others. However my strongest sexual feelings are generally towards women. Rather than reacting to a fixed set of types, I tend to respond to others who are open with me. None of the conventional labels seems to fit me. I think that the same would be true for many people if they avoided adopting labels that restricted their identities. Almost everyone puts some sort of label on me – such as straight, gay or bisexual. They are all correct to some extent, but they tend to miss the point, that we are all quite complex creatures for whom sexuality is but one, sometimes important but often minor, aspect. Love and friendship are what matter in a human relationship, so why define ourselves at all in terms of sexuality?
Question 3. What were the best and worst things to happen to you at school?
The best thing was making friends who shared common interests in making music, doing photography, learning about railways and art. The worst things were compulsory team games and being occasionally bullied, which seemed to be condoned by the teachers as character-forming.
Question 4. Do you ever have to conceal any aspect of your personal life? Give an example.
In my work and in many other spheres I used to conceal my relationship with my male partner, because prejudice against being gay, or at least being in a same-sex relationship, used to be so common. Prejudice clearly remains because in public I still cannot show affection towards a man through simple physical acts such as holding hands and kissing.
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 my friends and family know about the relationship with my male partner, but few people know fully about my sexuality. My parents and my friends were supportive in the early years. Coming out as having a male partner was made much easier following legal reforms in recent years and the introduction of civil partnerships. Coming out in terms of my sexuality presupposes that it can be neatly identified, so I wouldn’t know where to start. Besides I don’t see the point – my sexuality should not be seen as a major part of my identity.
Question 6. Do you experience discrimination in everyday life? If so, give an example.
Legal reforms in Europe have substantially helped to remove discrimination, although prejudices remain. Because of such prejudices within my family since the death of my parents, I am sadly not able to contact all my relatives nowadays.
Question 7. Who is likely to be more hostile to you and who is the most supportive of you in your life?
Hostility from the family hurts the most. My partner and friends are the most supportive.