It’s 2017 and the world seems to be painted in rainbow colours. Gays are getting married, leading countries – big shout to Ireland for making the move this year – and generally people are being allowed to live their lives as openly gay and being celebrated for it. So why is it so hard for us to accept ourselves?
I remember it so clearly the moment I knew I was gay. Picture this – a open topped bouncy cast, a clear summer night, stars for days and two teenage girls lying down holding hands. I know, it’s a scene worthy of a John Hughes credit, but it was a night that I will never forget. The important thing to note about this night was that nothing happened, there was no kissing, no big dramatic reveal and certainly no hanky-panky. It was perfect night, everyone else had left the party and we were just lying there enjoying the silence. The only thing I could hear was my heart beating at 5000 beats per minutes and the word LESBIAN echoing in my head.
I was 17 and girl on girl action wasn’t new to me. I had kissed girls at parties – I went to an all-girls school so you had to get your kicks from somewhere! And in those moments, I felt excited and exhilarated but I never thought I was gay, I put it down to the sheer taboo of it all. I was kissing girls and boys were watching and it was daring and it was sexy and I thought I must just be a bit of an exhibitionist. But then I met the girl who would led me to the bouncy castle and everything changed.
I was a lezza.
I liked girls. I fancied them and I wanted to kiss them. Boys were gross.
Of course, I did what any other girl in my position would do. A girl who was raised as a catholic, in a family who were super religious, in a small Northern Ireland town that was very unforgiving – I suppressed it. I was not going to be gay, that was not my life and I ran from myself and shut myself in a closet for most of my adult life.
Let me tell you something about living in the closet, it’s dark and it’s lonely and it puts in in situations you don’t want to be in (hello all the hetro sex I endured). My advice; get your sexy gay ass out of there, honestly, it’s so fun out here now!
Oh why, oh why is it not that simple I hear you say, why can’t I come out, why can’t I tell anyone. Because the first person you must tell is yourself.
I know that sounds ridiculous, why would you tell yourself something you already know. But you don’t know, until you look yourself in the eyes and say the words out loud, then you don’t know.
The day I turned my back on my happiness and locked the closet shut was another scene John Hughes would have approved (side note; I love me a John Hughes film). Me and bouncy castle girl were standing face to face and she asked me to be with her and come out together, and be there for each other if it all went tits up (pun completely intended). And I looked her in the eyea and I said, ‘I’m sorry I’m not gay.’ In five words, I lost my best friend, my friendship circle and what could have been a great love. In five words, I was completely alone. Alone in the closet.
Guys, girls and everyone in between – take note. The moment you know that you are marching to the beat of a different drum, own it. Even if the only person you own it is the person looking back at you in the mirror. Because the closet is not a home, and it’s certainly not were the bright young things of the world should be hiding. Get out, come out, be proud!
Because if you can’t accept yourself, how the hell can you expect anyone else to accept you (Thank you RuPaul)
Love always, A