Questionnaire - Submission 1
This response was submitted by Jaime, a 61 year old retired male. He lives in Scotland with his partner.
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 suburbs of a metropolis. I moved to Scotland for work and made it my homeland, where I have lived more than half my life.
Question 2. How would you describe your sexual orientation?
Gladly gay and ultimately undefined. Love has a way of transcending gender boundaries.
Question 3. What were the best and worst things to happen to you at school?
The best things to happen at school were at primary level, where we learnt to express ourselves through play, drama, dance, art, music and movement.
The worst things came at secondary school, with its pressures to conform to an emotionally restricted version of masculinity, on pain of bullying and ridicule.
Question 4. Do you ever have to conceal any aspect of your personal life? Give an example.
Concealment is engrained through long training. It becomes second nature to avoid obvious signs of affection for a friend or partner of the same gender – holding hands or kissing in public risks verbal or physical abuse.
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. When I was in my teens my parents found my diary and initially saw my sexuality as a medical problem, but they moved away from this, to respect my sexuality as part of my life and to value my partner. The big confessional ‘coming out’ to friends has been replaced over the years by most people surmising anyway. Letting people know is easier if you have a partner of the same gender, as people tend to assume you are not straight. Indeed they generally want to assign you a neatly assumed and exclusive category.
Question 6. Do you experience discrimination in everyday life? If so, give an example.
The last decade has seen important progress in legal changes to tackle discrimination. I now experience little discrimination, with the significant exception of the freedom to express myself and my love in public, which still risks violence and abuse.
Question 7. Who is likely to be more hostile to you and who is the most supportive of you in your life?
The most hostile are the right-wing populist press and those who believe they have the fundamental knowledge to decree that loving your own gender is wrong.
The most supportive are friends, including family who are friends. Our friends are our most valuable resource, the treasure of our lives.