In this third instalment of our series on ‘coming out stories’ in honour of Pride month, we continue to catch up with more of the Nonchalant contributors. Asking them about what it was like for them growing up questioning their sexuality.
1.Is that it?
“As a kid, I was 100% a tomboy. I played football, I loved trainers and I of course always wanted to be Sporty Spice when tribute groups were forming at school (#90s). Yet, I was always into boys at school and they were either my boyfriend or best friend.
Fast forward a few years and I find myself at that awkward age of 13. I recall thinking to myself I need to grow up now and be more feminine. Having an older sister who was drop-dead gorgeous and hugely popular with boys only encouraged me more to get into understanding my own vibe. So within the space of a summer holiday, my sister had given me a huge overhaul and I went back to school with makeup, my hair down, a handbag instead of a rucksack, and school shoes that had a bit of a heel (LOL – cringe), which naturally was followed by having more interest from boys.
Fast forward again to 17. I had a boyfriend who at the time was lovely but in general, annoyed me. I’d leave him out a lot and go to house parties without him (what a bitch)… We (as teenagers do) experimented with sex but I recall thinking “is this actually it? Is this what love and lust is meant to feel like?” … nothingness basically (again, what a bitch).
And then one day it just hit me like a hard slap across the face. A girl in the year above me who was Head of Sports (cliche) came into my life and for some reason, I remember just being a bit infatuated. I recall seeing her and just thinking – wow, she’s funny and super pretty. Did I want to be her? Did I idolise her? Did I want her to be my mate?
Turns out I tried to answer all of these questions with denial on a massive scale. I actually just fancied her. Back then there was zero representation of feminine lesbians so I was extremely confused that I could be a lesbian because I wore makeup and had long hair. That sounds stupid now but back then I think the only lesbian thing on TV was the t.A.T.u. music video (Lol). Not to mention, the word dyke was used often in my group of friends as an insult and also “you’re so gay” – urgh, terrible. So, in summary, there was absolutely no positive representation involved with being gay, purely just rejection from society.
So what happened next? All the good stuff of course haha. I ditched my lovely boyfriend (sos, byyeeee). And this girl and I became really good friends but there was always this odd chemistry between us and we’d flirt outrageously. At the time I was headstrong that I was telling NO ONE about what I felt and definitely not her because I was terrified that she would tell everyone at school that I was a big dyke. But, lucky for me, she got drunk one night and called me and said she didn’t know how to tell me this but she thinks she’s in love with me. Queue celebration dance.
After that moment we dated in secret which was a lot of fun and a lot of stress all in one. We’d find ourselves having to kiss boys at school on nights out to stop people spreading rumours about us which at the time was horrible.
After all of this, I had time to think back to when I was going through those awkward teenage years and I definitely did fancy a lot of female celebrities prior to my first girlfriend but at the time you force yourself to think you just idolise them because you don’t want to be gay. It’s nice to see that things have changed a lot since then and society is way more accepting now.
I’m now a happily engaged woman (to the absolute love of my life) – my family love my fiancé as part of our family. I’m out and 100% accepted at work. I’m femme when I want to be, and a tomboy when I want to be too.”
2. Catholic and gay
“I grew up in Ireland in a quite rural Catholic town. Going to an all girls school, being taught by nuns (you couldn’t paint a picture of a more Irish childhood right?!) and being told that if you did anything bad, including any sexual contact with boys (obv girls weren’t mentioned as that’s an immoral sin) then you’d go to hell.
Therefore, growing up, in the early 90s, in Ireland, I didn’t even know what a Lesbian was, never mind knowing what one looked like or how it would feel to be one! ( I was however always the Mel C of my friends.)
That unknowing didn’t stop me having female friends and female teachers, that I naturally grew more attached to than others, those that I always wanted to be with or near, or like.
At that stage, I didn’t know what those feelings were or what they meant. My two cousins were in fact Lesbians I later found out, of course, it was never openly discussed within the family, but as I grew older and I met their ‘friends’ then I slowly realised.
That didn’t spark any realisation in myself, I was still oblivious, dating the most popular boy in town, driving about with my name sewed into his passenger headrest, thinking this was what it felt like to be with someone. And let me tell you that feeling was mediocre! I would question myself, is this really it? Do my friends just lay there thinking when is this going to be over? What am I having for dinner tonight? Pretending to your friends that this is everything you’ve wanted.
It wasn’t until that relationship turned a wee bit bitter my mum actually pushed me to take a visit to London, that my life took a drastic shift, and my eyes were opened for the first time. I stayed with my cousins in London, and they took me to G.A.Y bar for the first time for one of their birthdays.
Down to the lesbian dungeon!
And that was it, eyes opened, the realisation hit me like a ton of bricks. Shit…How do I try and explain this one to my Mum?! Fast forward a few months, I pack my bags, move to London, ready to live my best Lesbian life. Soho’ing every night of the week, Ghetto, 100% babe, Astoria, G.A.Y late, Candy girls. You name the bar or night, I was there.
When I got my first girlfriend, I realised I had to try and break the news when I visited home, I wrote a letter, and I left it on my bed. Mainly explaining that these were MY feelings & not that influenced by my also gay cousins! (I knew that would be the first instinct)
Wrap up of my story is that my Mum told me that she always thought I was, and that it wasn’t a surprise, and it changed nothing in her eyes. Don’t get me wrong it took her a while to really be comfortable with it, but she couldn’t be more supportive now. Guess I’m one of the lucky ones.”
If you have enjoyed this instalment check out the other instalments in this series.
Love Team Nonchalant xx