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One: That’s so beautifully gay!

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

In 2009 I met my future wife. She is a wonderful woman and people warm to her instantly. She is full of puppy dog energy and adventure, coupled with calm and safety. When we met, I think we both found an inner peace and the prospect of a future that we had both never really experienced before. My drinking calmed, I stopped smoking and even exercised for fun! I was in love and started to feel good about myself.

Let me rewind here to provide some context to who I am. I grew up in the 80’s in a small seaside town. Loving parents, nice house, my father was a doctor, my mother a housewife. I had an older, studious brother who was following in his fathers’ footsteps. I was the free spirit of the family. The artist, the extrovert, strong willed and loud. Yet something was wrong. I felt different and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I didn’t know why I felt outside of the traditional family set up. That I didn’t fit in at school and perplexed as to why others didn’t obsess about Jodie Foster’s acting abilities in the same way I did. Neither overly feminine or particularly masculine, I was unsure of myself and a little lost.

By my mid-teens I had lost loved ones, escaped grief in parties, found Madonna and suspected I may be gay. Outside of my very safe home, homophobia was rife. Section 28 came into effect which prohibited any promotion of homosexuality, and the AIDS epidemic was tearing through the community. In what should have been a time of liberation, the vilification and fear of gay people was everywhere. Newspaper headlines inked the words dying of ignorance, cursed, disgusting, judgement day, facing the wrath of God, and getting what was deserved. Young gay men were dying in isolation with what seemed like little or no external compassion.

Lesbian was almost a swear word, spat out and used to mock the feminists. Women portrayed as overtly butch, man hating extremists, with no sense of humour or bras. Men seemed contemptuous and women scared for their own sexual safety. Small seaside towns aren’t known for their positive gay role models, and I was being taught that being gay and lesbian was wrong, not to be spoken about, shameful and to be feared.

My suspicions were confirmed when I was 18. I was gay, scared and stayed silent but I felt right. I cut my hair short, left the comfort of my home, the narrow-mindedness of the small town and skipped all the way to the anonymous big city. It was here under the bright lights of the gay scene where I found myself, my community, and numerous other women. Together we fully embraced the LGBTQ lifestyle. The clubs, bars, Pride parades and boozy brunches. Life was good and somehow, in between the partying and stumbling around Hurst Street and Soho, I got an education, travelled, and made a good career for myself.

My formative years, like many others, was not the healthiest and it will come back to haunt me but, in the meantime, lets fast forward to my early thirties. Under a different bright light, the men’s toilet sign at Waterloo station, I met my future wife. From day one we did everything at speed. We travelled at every opportunity, moved in together, bought a house, a fish, and two years after we met, we had the most amazing rainbow filled wedding. We were fulfilling every lesbian stereotype so decided to not buy the cat and instead began the process of building our family. Now how the hell were we going to do that?

Words Matter: That’s so gay?

At this point I’m going to press pause for a moment. I love being gay. I love the fact my children have gay parents and I wear my lesbian label with pride. It took time and sometimes those deep-seated feelings of shame and fear emerge. They come quickly, without warning and can paralyse me. This is not good when in the company of others, but the more I understand why, the more I can manage those excruciating moments.

It might seem trivial but, in my view, ‘That’s so gay’ is never ok to use when meant in a derogatory way. Particularly in front of children. The message of being wrong, not good enough, a bad kind of different seeps in. This is the same for children of LGBTQ+ parents. It tells children their parents are wrong. I implore anyone reading this to not say and correct others (children and adults) if heard. To be ‘so gay’ is wonderful so let us be explicit and say what we mean, ‘That’s so beautifully gay!’

Let’s get the conversation going. Please share in comments. The more we talk about LGBTQ+ parenting the more we will fill the gap

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Apr 08, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

A very honest and enlightening account. Look forward to reading whatever comes next.

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