Georgia O'Brien : My experience of being a young gay woman
A few months ago we published an article called “You don’t look gay” - An insight into the societal issues gay men face in every day life. This article seeks to provide an insight into the societal issues gay women face in every day life
There are many pressures that the LGBT+ community face within society. Despite our older generation or people out-with the community believing we do not experience these issues as its 21st century right?! Wrong, I am contributing to this blog as this is far from the truth and I want to spread awareness of the issues we still wrongly face. I would like to express my experiences as a young gay woman.
Since a very young age I dealt with pressures fitting in with the girls in my class and out-with due to my unique fashion sense. I broke gender norms and preferred to wear typically “boy” clothes just for the pure comfort if I am honest, and that is still my very reason today. But you don’t get away with dressing how you wish when your in school, both primary and high. You had to fit in with all the other girls and so I did and hated every minute of it! I forced myself to wear those doll clark shoes, a grey pleated skirt, a blouse along with the Pauls boutique barber jacket and hand bag. I felt uncomfortable everyday and couldn’t wait to get home and put my football top and joggers on. But young G dealt with it and hoped high school would be different and I could be myself. So I tried it out for first year of big school. I took full advantage and got those baggy school shorts that the boys got, wore my shirt outside my shorts, had a skater backpack and a pair of BK skateboard high tops. Style eh!!
This is where I faced the worst discrimination I had ever faced. I was bullied everyday by being labelled either a wee boy or a lesbian and I had been involved in fights. I dealt with this for the first 2 years of school. So for 3rd year I had enough and decided to get a ‘girly uniform’ and started to wear make up. I was back out my comfort zone to fit in and avoid bullying however, I still got bullied and was still being labelled and that’s when I started dating some boys to fit in. From then on I got away from the labels and not being bullied anymore.
Until summer of 5th year where I had my first female ‘relationship’ and started to hang about with her friends who all lived in Glasgow. I fitted in as majority of the group were of the LGBT+ community. It was the best I had ever felt and started to think positive about the future and not live in guilt about who I am. But little did I know the word would get out and I came back to 6th year to everyone talking about me, bringing up my pride photos and photos of me and the girl I was with (which were screenshotted off snapchat in the summer). People started to get over the fact I am gay and started to actually get on with their lives and it wasn’t an issue anymore. I didn’t realise my year officially knew as I never posted about it and only my friends knew but turns out since I had left school everyone knew.
Fast forward to university. I have been able to fully be myself, dress my tom boy self and openly talk about my sexuality. I have never been this happy and comfortable in myself since I was about 8. Yes I still get judged by people when I am out on dates and get called homophobic comments on the passing but my university is such a safe place which I am grateful for.
With regards to employability, I worked in a very homophobic environment in a local hairdressers between the ages of 14-16. I thankfully never got found out and I didn’t directly receive discrimination. It was very tough living a double life and watching everything I said from what I done at the weekends to who I was dating ( I had 2 boyfriends in that time according to my work hehe). I got myself out that toxic environment at 16 and this is where my political journey began and self acceptance and confidence started. I started working in my local MPs office in 2017. I hid my sexuality for about 4 months until I had realised half of my office are gay!! I won’t forget the day I had came to the realisation of each member of staff and being of pure relief that I can work in my dream job and love who I love. They all helped me with being confident with my sexuality and this is when I finally came out to my family. Another pressure we unnecessarily go through. I was physically sick for years of the thought of telling my parents about my sexuality but now looking back I laugh at how daft I was!
As always I like to keep it short and not drag my story on but I just wanted to contribute to this project to cover my experiences and journey with being a gay woman and this is it very condensed. I want to make it apparent to people that it still isn’t a safe place for the LGBTQ+ community especially when they are going through pre teen and teen years and I want people to be more aware of this and educate their children that dressing and looking different does NOT make you any less of an individual. I am finally out that very once dark tunnel and I hope sharing my experiences helps both closeted and un-closeted members of the LGBT+ community. I also hope it helps people out with the community realise the pressures we face even though it is the 21st century.