International Lesbian Visibility Day 2022

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To celebrate Lesbian visibility, we sat down with someone who found the courage to come out as Lesbian where they agreed to tell us their story regarding coming out aswell as giving out some advice to anyone facing any potential struggles. You can find the questions and answers below:

What is your history with coming out as Lesbian?

I didn’t openly come out to my family until I was 25, I think there was still a lot of stigma around being gay and I wasn’t 100% comfortable in my own skin to have the courage to openly talk about this. My friends knew from the age of 18, and I suppose I built my own little family within those friends for that time period. I probably lived a bit of a double life for many years, which was hard, as I felt I kept a lot of secrets about who I was with or where I had been. When I finally did come out, even though it was hard at first, my family did support me and over the last 5 years they have been an incredible support.

What struggles did you face when coming out?

100% a stigma, there would either be comments such as “I knew it, as you have always played football” to “are you going to cut your hair short” or “you don’t look gay”. I always struggled with telling people as I felt it changed the way people viewed me. I have had people say to me in the past to me make sure I let people know I was gay at work because it will get me promoted – that really bothered me as I wanted to progress because of my hard work, not because of my sexuality.
I am quite a private person anyway, so I don’t feel the need to introduce myself to people like “Hi, I’m Laura, I’m a lesbian” but you get people who will always have perceptions of you. If people asked, I would be open.
When I was younger I would get the odd comment here and there and have had abuse on nights out, thankfully nothing physical, but I know people who have. I would always feel very judged going to bars about the way I looked, so spent a lot of time only going to gay friendly places.

How important is it for people to understand that some people struggle to come out as they may feel misunderstood and unsupported?

Only people who have been through this will understand, and it is hard. Even if family and friends accept and support you, you will always get people who do not understand you or can’t understand why it can be difficult. Society today is much better than it was when I was growing up, as you see more in the media or people talking about it. I still see people in the streets look at me and my wife in a funny way if we are holding hands though.
People still presume that everyone is heterosexual – the number of times I am on the phone to someone like a household supplier, and I say I have to ask my partner, they always respond with “ you ask your husband or boyfriend and get back to me”.
I think it is important to give people time and let them know that they are in a safe environment, unfortunately people will always judge you, but they will judge anyway with the way you look, what colour hair you have and what you wear, even if you are heterosexual. It took me a long time to feel comfortable in my own skin and be proud of who I am, and a big part of that came from friends who were in the same situation as me.

What advice would you give to someone who is facing struggles coming out as lesbian?

My advice would be to open up in safe environments and just know that there are many people in the community who will accept you. There are so many groups at school or in the community that can provide these safe spaces for people to be open and themselves. That would be my key message to anyone struggling – be yourself, be open and be kind to those around you.

For any more information regarding coming out and awareness of Lesbian Visibility day, then please check out the following website:
Celebrating Lesbian Visibility | Lesbian Visibility Week 2021 


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