Bio: Rachael is a 34 year-old lesbian from the UK and she is also a mum of 2 teenagers. She is now very involved her local gay scene, however she didn't come out until she was 27. Rachael is a keen writer and is eager to share her experiences with the Stand Up Speak Up audience. Having suffered from Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) she also keeps herself informed about mental health issues.
Sweet Release of Finally Coming Out As a Lesbian
"Mum, I’m a lesbian".
Waiting for the response is always the hardest part with sweaty palms and hearing your own heartbeat, wondering if your mum can hear it too. Actually is that my heartbeat or my mums? Oh God, say something, anything, punch me, cry... JUST SPEAK!
"Yes Rachael, I've known since you was 14".
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It's taken me until the age of 27 to pluck up the courage to say them words. Do you know how many boyfriends I had so no one would know because I thought I would be chased with pitchforks and banished forever to burn in hell?
Don't get me wrong I don't regret it because I got 2 beautiful children out of my time in Narnia, and I don't regret them for a second but, God, the man parts I could have avoided, the stubble scratching my face whilst they kissed me and I pretended I liked it. Eurghhh. God, I feel sick thinking about it!
Suddenly I’m thinking, wow my mum’s cool with this, I’m gay, I’m out, I’m proud, this is amazing. I’ve waited so long for this. Women, boobs, lesbians, the world is all mine... oh wait... oh God... I’ve no idea how to meet women!
The coming out euphoria soon died a quick death when I realised I was an outed lesbian without a single gay friend, and no gay bars where I live... that I know of!
So, what now? Online dating sites? That seems like a good place to start. Right?
As a newly outed femme lesbian who has seen only her own vagina, a dating site is a very scary place. There were women left, right and centre and, at first, I was flattered and thought: what was I worried about? This is easy! Little did I know I’d thrown myself to the wolves. I was soon scared for myself as I was pretty sure some of these lesbians ate fresh meat like me for breakfast and, let’s be honest, I’d be no good to my children if I became hospitalised by butch Freda!
Back to square one!
My best friend was, um, helpful, if that’s the word. First she offered to sleep with me to give me experience, even though shes straight. Sure, she scores points for the moral support but I’m not sure I could have looked her children (my godchildren) in the face again knowing what I’d done to their mum.
So, her second plan was to approach every pretty girl in a straight bar and ask if they were straight and then if they would like a lesbian experience. Suddenly to this room of straight women I became scary Freda and they were fearing me, the lesbian in the room.
Some people are, as I say, "born gay". They shimmy down the birth canal and come into the world, like a drag queen coming through the curtains at a show, already covered in glitter and ready to be out and proud. I envy those people so much. I’ve been out for 7 years now and I’m still aware of the looks, the comments and the judgement. I’ve come to realise as a gay person we don’t just come out once. We come out every single day to at least one person, whether it’s starting a new job, or your friends introducing you to their friends. For me I have a lot of straight friends too so being outed is the norm.
However, it’s not just social scenarios, it’s everyday life. Walking down the street holding my girlfriend’s hand, or her putting her arm around me or giving me a spontaneous kiss. To me this is the best thing in the world, it shows her love for me. Its natural. Its normal. But to some people we may as well have just walked down the street and kicked their dog from the reactions and looks we get!
Coming out is different for everyone and we all have our own story. Some are funny and some are easy, like mine. I was very lucky to have understanding friends and a supportive family. For some though coming out is very different and the hardest thing in the world to do. Society’s attitudes to being gay, bi, trans etc. can ruin a person’s life and we need to appreciate that this often leads to suicide and self harm. Mental health issues in the LGBT community are so high and I can honestly say I do not have a single gay friend that doesn’t struggle with some form of mental health, myself included!
However we are in a time now where it really is ok to be gay, its ok to be bisexual, its ok if you are the wrong gender and want to put it right! I genuinely feel so lucky to be born as a lesbian in a time where I can walk down the street holding my girlfriends hand, I can put my arm around her and I can kiss her. I can take my girlfriend for a meal and hold her hand across the table. We can go into any bar, not just bars designated to keep us away from straight people. We can legally get married, we can have a baby with both names on the birth certificate and we would have the same rights as a married straight couple.
So yes, coming out can be scary but if your family rejects you, or some friends walk away or have one too many opinions, honestly, who cares? They don’t deserve you anyway and being gay gives you the best family ever because who doesn’t want a Christmas surrounded by over the top, camp, glitter loving gays and lesbians?
Out and proud!
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