Last edited: 13th June 2019.
In celebration of Pride Month, it felt time to write this blog post…
For me it was girls first. I can’t remember when I was first attracted to women because I just always was. I had crushes on female celebrities and teachers growing up, secret passions I kept to myself and would write about in diaries. I read about Lesbian icons, lusted after actresses on screen in movies, and felt certain about my sexuality as a teenager. I briefly dated a male friend in school when I was 16 but I just wasn’t feeling it. He put a lot of pressure on me to sleep with him – he was a typical horny 16-year-old – but at that point in my life I didn’t want to sleep with anyone. I was painfully shy with low self esteem and body issues. I wasn’t ready to be intimate with anyone, male or female, but I did know that my feelings for women seemed to be stronger than my feelings for men. When my mum and dad would ask me about dating and if there were any guys I liked, I would shut the conversation down. I wasn’t ready to come out and risk disappointment or judgement. Now I think they would have been very supportive of me, and I could have shared that with them, but at the time it felt deeply personal and terrifying to actually say aloud that I was ‘different’. I just buried myself in my school work and avoided dealing with the issue.
At university I started to share who I was with trusted friends and became braver when their responses were so positive. I had feelings for a female lecturer who was in a relationship with a woman. She was very sweet with me, respecting my feelings, but it was clear she was very much in love with her girlfriend. We became good friends and she gave me the confidence to just be me, to be open with my thoughts and feelings. She also told me that I didn’t have to label myself if I didn’t want to, that it was entirely up to me who I wanted to be. When I made a comment during a class presentation about Sigourney Weaver in Alien being a sexy badass and quipped ‘but enough of my fantasies’, my classmates responded warmly and my lecturer/friend told me how proud she was of me. Today she is happily married to the woman she was with all those years ago, they have two much-loved daughters and live in Melbourne.
Post-university, I met the guy who became my first love. I was 22 and he was a total game-changer. It wasn’t the case that once I met a man I was attracted to and loved that I ‘turned straight’, that’s nonsense. He was a huge surprise to me, a total eye-opener that made me realise that it’s OK to be attracted to men and women. He was gorgeous. Tall, athletic, with lovely eyes and a soft Geordie accent. He was shocked to be my first, but completely understanding when I explained that until him, it had just been women. We had a great relationship while it lasted, eventually parting as we wanted divergent things in life. He knew I was still attracted to women when I was with him but we trusted each other, both being faithful, and we would often joke with each other about the women we were attracted to. Our tastes in women were very different which was interesting and amusing. Our sex life was fantastic and I’m grateful that he helped me to overcome the body issues that had, until him, been holding me back.
After our relationship, I became comfortable with not identifying myself as either gay or straight. Sex with men and with women is satisfying in their different ways but I have always found sex to be better with people I have feelings for, rather than casual encounters, whether I’m sleeping with a man or a woman. On the sexuality spectrum I sit somewhere in between and I’m fine with that. I loved it when the beautiful Sophie Turner from Game of Thrones said that she loves a soul, not a gender, because that’s exactly how I feel. I get involved with people I click with, feel connected to, want to share my time with, am attracted to, irrespective of their gender. For me there has to be more than just a physical attraction – I also need to be mentally stimulated and emotionally engaged to bother getting involved with someone. I have tended to date more men than women but that hasn’t been a conscious choice and I am very open to dating men and women in the future. What matters is how someone makes you feel and the quality of the relationship, not the anatomy of the people involved. Love is love.
I remember how I felt growing up, not wanting to reveal who I was, and it makes me sad to know that there are people in the world living a lie, who feel they can’t publicly be their true selves. I totally understand the pressures that exist, that people may be living in countries that are anti-gay, have families who are religious and perhaps not accepting, may fear being trolled or even physically attacked for just being you, and if that is your experience, my heart goes out to you. Living an open life is liberating and something everyone deserves. This Pride Month, find the courage to be yourself, gay, straight, whatever, and please support everyone in the global LGBTQ+ community.
Peace & love, take care,