LGBTQ+ Stories Project! 2. AnnA.
“I look at the soul and the heart first.”
What’s the point of the LGBTQ+ Stories Project? Sharing people’s stories, increasing understanding, food for thought, busting myths, celebrating LGBTQ+ people.
AnnA wrote these answers FROM THE OCEAN! That’s dedication. At one point in the interview, AnnA expresses confusion about what ‘gender neutral’ means. I can’t give the definitive answer, but here’s a potentially helpful article. Thank you AnnA for your time, for your answers, and for being the second entry in this collection of LGBTQ+ people’s stories!
Please note that names may have been changed.
Read on for AnnA’s answers.
* What does Love mean to you?
Connection and communication
* What is the role of Love in your life?
To remind me I am human
* What words would you currently use to identify yourself, on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, in terms of your sexuality and your gender identity, and anything else that’s important to you?
* What do you personally mean by these words?
I love personality not sex organs so I look at the soul and the heart first
* What do you wish people knew about what those words mean, in reference to you?
That I am someone who makes free choices and does not like being constrained by other people’s view of how I ‘should’ identify
* What myths/stereotypes about people who identify with those words, do you wish people knew were just myths/stereotypes?
That sexuality is fluid and can change, how you have been is not necessarily who you are or will be in the future
* How are these myths/stereotypes damaging/influential?
They lock people in to judgemental attitudes about what is ‘right’
* What are some of the best, and worst, experiences you’ve had (that you’re happy to share) in relation to your gender and sexuality?
Best with my last girlfriend who I met while doing trantric breathing which was the soulful orgasmic experience
Worst performing oral sex when not want to do anything but bite it off!
* How long have you used the words you currently use to refer to yourself? How did this come about?
Pretty much since my 30’s when I realised my adolescent preference for girls was ok, and so were relationships with good men
* What impact did your experiences around finding/exploring your identifying language (or not finding/exploring it) have on you?
Found it hard to verbalise the preference and easier just to say ‘none of your business’
* Have you used different self-identifying words previously? And do you think you might use other self-identifying words in the future?
Tried being lesbian identified but it’s just not 100% true and how `I identify now feels permanent to me
* How well do you think you understand the various terms that other people use to identify themselves?
Well gender neutral always foxes me, is it the same as bisexual or non sexual? [See this hopefully helpful article about gender neutrality. HR]
* And how well you do think you understand the variety of different experiences that may be meant by the same word?
No idea but I would try
* How much of an Ally do you see yourself as being for other people on the LGBTQ+ spectrum whose identities / experiences / identity-word-uses are different from yours?
100%, you are who are
* Could you think of anything you could do to be a better Ally to those mentioned above?
My ‘external’ social circles – eg on cruises – don’t really see anything other than gay and then in a either jokey or demeaning way and I try to navigate that to a better understanding without arousing prurient interest
* Could you think of anything that people could do, to be a better Ally to you, and to those with similar experiences and identities to you?
By really getting that who we love is not always a straightforward choice but a call from the heart, which is what love ultimately is
* What are your thoughts about and experiences of ‘coming out’?
I feel it should not be necessary – people don’t go around ‘coming out’ as straight. My experience has been polite disbelief – I don’t look like a lesbian apparently – but generally ok
* Tell me something about yourself, besides your gender and sexual identity.
I have no talent for it but I love making things, jewellery and knitting mostly as they engage my hands and not brain which is usually far too active
* What are some of your pet peeves?
The loss of a wider vocabulary in the language and the almost total disappearance of punctuation
* What are some of your daily joys?
Beauty and the acknowledging of gratitude before I sleep
* What is a mistake you’ve made?
Leaving a relationship without really trying to fix it
* What is something you’ve done really well?
Made people laugh
* What is something that surprised / amused you?
That I could sing
* What do you struggle with / find really hard?
Self belief, I am confident in many ways but without the bedrock of self worth that would sustain me in the difficult times
* What could you ‘blow your own trumpet’ (in a positive way) about? For example, a top strength of yours that you could be quite proud of, something you did, etc.
Well I help a number of people with their health issues through my work and as a coach I made a difference for some
* What is very important to you?
To feel at peace
* What other words could describe you, at the moment (in any way at all)?
Content but restless
* Tell me about your experiences of LGBTQ+ Community Groups, Scenes, and/or publications, positive and negative (negative comments may have names edited out).
Community groups none, individuals both men and women who don’t seem to approve of bisexuals
* Has sexism had an impact on your life, that you are aware of? In what ways?
No because I won’t let it
* Are you proud of your gender identity, your sexual identity, and/or any other aspects of your identity?
Not proud, it is just who I am
* What other things do you feel about your identity?
Nothing comes to mind
* What are you grateful for about your identity?
It gives me choice
Thank you so much, AnnA, for taking the time to answer these questions, and to be part of my LGBTQ+ Stories Project!
If you are an LGBTQ+ person reading this, and you would like to take part, please email firstname.lastname@example.org If you’re not sure whether LGBTQ+ includes you, but you think that it might/should, and you’d like to take part, please do contact me too!
If you have been affected by any of the issues covered here, please do reach out to the relevant professionals for support. You can see a list of some relevant organisations at the bottom of this document.
If you think any organisations should be added to or taken off this document, or their listings edited, please let me know!
Here is the Stonewall Glossary of Terminology, incase that is helpful or of interest: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/help-advice/glossary-terms
Organisations for Support:
Samaritans UK and ROI. Phone 116 123. Urgent phone support 24/7 and other services. https://www.samaritans.org/
MindOut https://www.mindout.org.uk/ LGBTQ+ Mental Health Support. Counselling, online support, and other services.
Mind, Mental Health Charity. https://www.mind.org.uk/
Albert Kennedy Trust https://www.akt.org.uk/ Supports young LGBT people between the ages of 16 and 25.
The Clare Project, http://www.clareproject.org.uk/ A self-supporting transgender support and social group based in Brighton and Hove, open to anyone wishing to explore issues around gender identity.
My Genderation, http://www.mygenderation.com – Film projects created by trans people, about trans people, for a much wider audience.
LGBT Switchboard. https://switchboard.lgbt/ Helpline 0300 330 0630, open 10:00-22:00 every day. Other services too.
Bi Pride UK. https://biprideuk.org/about/ Not a mental health service at present, but a charity which champions those who experience attraction beyond gender, and works to make Prides more inclusive, and more.
Mind’s Guide To Crisis Support and Planning in case of Crisis. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/crisis-services/accident-emergency-ae/#.XH0n7dHgrBI
GrassRoots Suicide Prevention. https://www.prevent-suicide.org.uk/