LGBTQ+ Stories Project! 3. Emma.
“Love is a bonding agent, just like glue and sometimes just as messy!”
What’s the point of the LGBTQ+ Stories Project? Sharing people’s stories, increasing understanding, food for thought, busting myths, celebrating LGBTQ+ people.
Many thanks to Emma for taking the time to answer these, and for being the third entry in this collection of LGBTQ+ people’s stories!
Please note that names may have been changed.
Read on for Emma’s answers.
* What does Love mean to you?
Love takes different forms, doesn’t it? There’s platonic love between friends and love between family members. These are non-sexual unlike romantic love that consumes you. Love can hurt as well as inspire and to tell the truth I find giving up independence (and control) a little scary.
* What is the role of Love in your life?
Love is a bonding agent, just like glue and sometimes just as messy! I’m not in a romantic relationship currently but that’s alright. You see, I’m not one of those people who feel terribly lonely without romance. I hope I don’t sound like a lost and sad case. I’m not, honest!!
* 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?
Lesbian. Genderqueer. Bisexual.
Independent (I feel comfortable and at ease with my own company while enjoying others). Spontaneous! Thinker. Nature-lover. Walker. Unfulfilled artist – I need to make time. Cinema-goer.
* What do you personally mean by these words?
I’m attracted to women. Depending on the underlying chemistry of the attraction, it’s like I flit along the femme-boi spectrum in response to it. Women for me includes femme trans and for that reason I include ‘bisexual’ as a self-descriptor (but it’s not really apt in my mind).
* What do you wish people knew about what those words mean, in reference to you?
I’m not sure I have any particular wishes other than people being less phobic about the diversity of attraction. Without wishing to sound apologetic, it’s not something anyone has any control over but simply a consequence of nature, of which we’re all part.
* What myths/stereotypes about people who identify with those words, do you wish people knew were just myths/stereotypes?
The myth that Bisexual people are over-sexed is particularly annoying and misplaced. In truth bisexual attractions are beyond gender.
* How are these myths/stereotypes damaging/influential?
They create division, are phobic and can be very damaging for individuals. They potentially create sub-cultures which, in reality, are equally valid. We should lose the word ‘mainstream’.
* 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?
Lust, sex and attraction are some of nature’s gifts to humans. We’re also gifted with empathy and we experience grief on the loss of a loved one. Our hearts can be broken. We create strong bonds as nature intended to allow us to thrive.
* How long have you used the words you currently use to refer to yourself? How did this come about?
Over a long period; since school as far as lesbianism is concerned. Genderqueer and bisexual (in so far as it applies) are more recent.
* What impact did your experiences around finding/exploring your identifying language (or not finding/exploring it) have on you?
I’ve a good, happy life.
* Have you used different self-identifying words previously? And do you think you might use other self-identifying words in the future?
* How well do you think you understand the various terms that other people use to identify themselves?
Do we need to identify ourselves beyond human?
* And how well you do think you understand the variety of different experiences that may be meant by the same word?
I can only describe/explain myself. When I see an orange, for all I know the rest of the world might see a grape.
* 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
I don’t understand the question (sorry)
* Could you think of anything you could do to be a better Ally to those mentioned above?
* 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?
Are we talking about LGBTQ+ people? If so, nothing really..
* What are your thoughts about and experiences of ‘coming out’?
I’m happy being who I am. The only disclosure I was concerned about was to my parents and cousins. There was no need
* Do you need to take a breather before answering the rest of the questions? If so, please do! Otherwise, carry on!
I’m carrying on
* Tell me something about yourself, besides your gender and sexual identity.
* What are some of your pet peeves?
Racists, dictators, phobics, war-mongers, bigots and football (I would get rid of it because of the divisions it causes)
* What are some of your daily joys?
Sex (not daily unfortunately), my work, my friends, where I live, cycling to work, looking forward to weekends
* What is a mistake you’ve made?
Life is full of mistakes! That’s why pencils have rubbers
* What is something you’ve done really well?
Positioned myself so that I live in a beautiful city with gorgeous countryside and wonder beaches and seascapes on my doorstep.
* What is something that surprised / amused you?
Brexit – for both!
* What do you struggle with / find really hard?
Accounts, budgeting etc….and talking to people I don’t like.
* 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.
I’m (apparently) a good ideas person. I’ve always being told that. I’m also good at planning. I have good vision!
* What is very important to you?
Peace, nature, and places to find them.
* What other words could describe you, at the moment (in any way at all)?
Happy but unfulfilled. I want to walk to Camino. I’m spiritual!
* Tell me about your experiences of LGBTQ+ Community Groups, Scenes, and/or publications, positive and negative (negative comments may have names edited out).
I don’t enjoy the scene unless I’m feeling lustful…too many egos, critics and the venues, generally, aren’t very nice.
* Has sexism had an impact on your life, that you are aware of? In what ways?
Not personally, not in a significant way.
* Are you proud of your gender identity, your sexual identity, and/or any other aspects of your identity?
I’m just me!! I’m happy being me
* What other things do you feel about your identity?
I’m one of nature’s creatures
* What are you grateful for about your identity?
It’s not been a problem but I don’t wear labels
* What else are you grateful for in your life in general?
Peace, parents, health, job…I’m enjoying what I have
* What things challenge you in your life and hold you back?
Time…not enough time.
* What would you do differently if you could go back and re-do any moments in your life?
That would be telling
* What would you like to prioritise in your future?
A holiday, a walking holiday! [Hey, one of my good friends runs those! See ipse wilderness. HR.]
* Is there anything you’d like to say to other LGBTQ+ people who might be reading this?
Be confident! Positive thinking has positive results. If you think I’m attractive contact me! Lol
* Is there anything you’d like to say to your Allies (of all identities, including straight and cisgender, and all the variety of the LGBTQ+ spectrum) who might be reading this?
* Is there anything you’d like to say to people who are not Allies to those of your identity yet, who might be reading this?
Broaden your minds and your outlooks
* Do you feel like you have Allies, who don’t identify in the same way as you, but who do support you?
* If so, in what ways do they support you?
* And are there other ways that you’d like support from them?
* Do you have any thoughts on ways (local or global, small scale or large scale, right now or long term etc.) to make progress for LGBTQ+ people?
No, I haven’t yet. Should I feel guilty?
* What’s been playing on your mind recently?
I need a holiday. How much of a bitch May is. The unstable world.
* What makes you laugh?
* How do you handle big emotions?
Not well….thus I’m not in a relationship
* What does your support network look like, if you feel like you have one?
* How important is it to you that people know your gender/sexual identity?
Fairly important..but ‘all’ people?
* What does a supportive, welcoming environment for people of your identity, look like to you?
It looks a lot tidier and cleaner than current scene bars/venues. Smiley faces!
* What experiences of discrimination have been formative for you?
I’ve not really known discrimination. I know many people have however.
* What experiences of celebration and validation have been formative for you?
Internal emotions and happiness.
* What do you wish the world knew (in relation to LGBTQ+ people, or other things)?
That we are just as valid if not more valid.
* How do you think things have changed for LGBTQ+ people in the last 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, century, and beyond?
Where I live, its not an issue now..that has changed over say 10 years
* Who are your LGBTQ+ heroes, if you have any?
* How would you rate your LGBTQ+ history awareness?
Pretty good. I like to read of 1920/30s Europe and the liberated ladies of the time.
* Where do you / would you go to look for information about those whose work has paved the way for some of your more positive experiences as an LGBTQ+ person today?
* In what year or decade were you born?
* In what way do you think that your age and the social/cultural timeline you’ve been part of, have influenced your experience of being an LGBTQ+ person, and your life in general?
* In what way do you think other aspects of your identity have influenced your experience of being an LGBTQ+ person, and your life in general? (For example, race, class, sex, disability, privilege, body type, and any other aspects of who you are and what’s been going on around you in relation to it).
I think I’m fortunate.
* How have places that you have lived and/or visited, and the place that you live now, had an impact on your experiences as an LGBTQ+ person?
I walked out on one relationship and returned home to Edinburgh…Good move!
* What brings you comfort?
Peace, nature, parents, family, sex, cinema, music, exercise
* What does hope feel like to you?
For many people it may feel like wishful thinking. Never give up hope
* What does home mean to you?
Lots and lots! My own place, my city, my parents home, friends. Home is Peace
* How are you feeling right now whilst reading / answering all these questions?
* What has life been like for you in the last month?
Good…the weather affects my mood.
* What else would you like to say in this interview?
It may be too long for easy analysis [I’m not planning to analyse these in any formal way – just to share them in celebration of individual people’s stories, thoughts and experiences, to increase understanding, and to provide food for thought. HR]
* Are there any of these questions you’d like me to change? Please explain why.
Too many questions, too many wordy questions too. [Noted. HR]
* Do you consent to me sharing your interview answers on my blog?
Thank you so much, Emma, 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 email@example.com If you’re not sure whether LGBTQ+ includes you, but you think that it might/should, 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/