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Help me to be out and proud.

(29 Posts)
proseccowithastraw Fri 17-Jun-16 11:57:29

Hi,

Already have this in chat, but thought I stick it in here too.

Been with my gf for over 3 years now. Was in a long term straight relationship before that and I guess I always identified as heterosexual. I found certain women attractive and thought maybe I was bi curious. Then I found my gf and assumed I was bi sexual, whereas now I'm wondering if I'm actually a lesbian.

You might be thinking, does it matter? Why the need for a label? Well in all honesty, I don't know. I just have this uneasy, untidy feeling. That probably sounds odd....

When my gf and I first came out as a couple, I was quite confident and I didn't really care what anyone thought. We were openly affectionate, like any other couple, but as time as gone on, I'm feeling more and more uncomfortable and I'm becoming really angry with myself.

I don't feel safe anymore. I feel like we will be stared at, pointed at, or worse, verbally, or physically attacked . We have dealt with all that, which I know is contributing to my feelings.

We're engaged and I do want to get married, but I'm worried about certain family members reactions.

I never just feel relaxed and at ease when we're in public, or even around family or friends. Even people who have accepted us, I still feel a slight sense of paranoia.

I feel a bit like I'm going backwards. Like I accepted who I was in the beginning, but now I'm having trouble accepting myself. Maybe this is why I have this sudden need to identify myself.

I love my dp so much. She is amazing and I can't imagine my life without her, so what is my problem? Our relationship went from 0-60 very quickly, so maybe this is kind of a processing delay?.. I don't know.

I want to be out and proud, as the title says, so why can't I be?

I should just be enjoying being with the person I love. I want to feel like I used to, but maybe the homophobic abuse we had in the beginning has affected me more than I initially thought.

I need to find the strength to be open and proud of my relationship. Not hide away, feeling on edge of unwanted attention, comments etc.

Sorry for rambling. Really appreciate some advice.

Thanks for reading.

Oddsocksgalore Fri 17-Jun-16 12:18:53

I don't really have any advice by I will say if you love your partner and she is making you happy then try to concentrate on the positive aspects of your relationship.

I will never understand why anyone would verbally abuse or physically attack someone because of their sexuality.

Perhaps it's because of what happened in Orlando that you are feeling like this.

The majority of people I'm sure wouldn't state or attack you.

proseccowithastraw Fri 17-Jun-16 12:46:12

Thanks, Odd.

I have been feeling like this for quite a while now, but yes, I suppose the recent events in Orlando have really surfaced things.

I just hate feeling like this. It makes miserable.

category12 Fri 17-Jun-16 12:50:47

Are you in much contact with the lgbt community? If not, maybe getting involved in Pride and getting support from others in a similar situation would help?

AnthonyPandy Fri 17-Jun-16 12:52:17

I'm not gay so forgive me if I am looking at it from the wrong angle, but would it help to go somewhere for a weekend where you can be physically open because everyone else is too, I'm thinking Brighton? Hebden Bridge? These are the two places I would first think of if anyone asked me where the gay capitals of the UK are, maybe there are more? If everyone else is behaving like you want to, maybe you would feel more able to act like that too?

proseccowithastraw Fri 17-Jun-16 12:55:53

category, I'm on a few websites, but tbh I find most of them quite unfriendly. Never been to Pride. Was going this year, but we really can't afford it.

I do feel very isolated. I don't have any gay friends and quite frankly, it sucks.

proseccowithastraw Fri 17-Jun-16 13:12:12

Ant, I would love to go to Brighton! I would even consider living there, but jeez it's expensive! Keep meaning to go there for the weekend or something.

Seeing other couples definitely helps my mind set. I saw a couple on the train last weekend and they were holding hands and it made me feel comfortable enough to do the same with dp. It's amazing how different I feel actually. Had a rather bitter sweet experience in Venice. I was feeling quite urgh because I didn't feel like we were "allowed" to hold hands and be open. Anyway we were sat having a drink and this German lesbian couple sat next to us and were holding hands. The anxiety lifted a bit, but then one of them burst into tears. It turns out that they had been verbally attacked and I instantly felt like hiding again. We were in the most romantic city in the world and w(hy)tf shouldn't I show my partner that I love them, like everyone else was doing?!

thedogdaysareover Fri 17-Jun-16 13:51:10

Gay people are still very much pioneers, I think. Yes, some society is different, but not everywhere, maybe it is the inconsistency, you are always on high alert for where your completely normal and lovely behaviour will be deemed inappropriate. I feel sorry for people that have to worry about whether they'll get hostility for holding hands. It breaks my heart, and you should be enjoying being with your GF how you like, where you like. It is really dreadful that you have to live this way and I am sorry, and I am not surprised you are having these feelings. It's not you love, it's this freakin world.

Sniv Fri 17-Jun-16 20:51:33

Like other people have said, strength in numbers really helps.

Are there any local gay groups, for example on meetup.com? There are a few groups in my area who organise get-togethers including pub nights and coffee groups, and these have been really great for me. If you have something similar, those'll be good paces to be with your partner surrounded by people you know won't bat an eyelid, and also as places to make LGBT friends who you can invite out with you if you want to go out but feel a bit vulnerable just the two of you.

I totally feel where you are coming from, though. I'm normally super comfortable and open but yesterday my gf and I got quite aggressively hassled - the first time that's happened in years. I have a feeling I'll be looking over my shoulder the next time we go out but, like you, I'm absolutely going to keep going out and being out.

proseccowithastraw Sat 18-Jun-16 15:12:49

Thedog, thank you. I wish everyone was of the same opinion.

Sniv, I'm really sorry to hear you and your dp had to deal with that. What happened ? Are you normally an out and open couple in public? I get angry with myself for giving a damn. I'm feisty and I don't take crap from anyone , but that doesn't mean I don't feel shook up afterwards and it gradually chips away at my confidence, which I resent.

We're on a lgbt meet up, but have never actually been. It's a very small group anyway and sometimes it's just one or two people going and we wouldn't feel comfortable with that. Also money is a bit of an issue right now unfortunately. I know having gay friends would help me enormously though. Do you have many yourself, Sniv ?

Kungfupandaworksout16 Sat 18-Jun-16 15:59:00

You don't need to come "out" , you don't hear heterosexuals "coming out"
You need to accept who you are first before you have the strength to stand against people. You love your partner , she loves you. What does it matter about your gender? Would you be seeking this approval of you was with a man. Maybe join a few groups, or places like the gay village in manchester. Don't be ashamed or shy of who you are. Own it!

LastFirstEverything Sat 18-Jun-16 17:20:54

With respect Kungfu, I really don't agree with some of your post. If you're straight, you certainly don't need to come out- that's right.

But if you're gay, it's very different. Many people/sometimes most people will automatically assume that you're straight. My gay friends have told me many times that they didn't come out just once. They have to keep coming out, again and again, to new acquaintances, new colleagues, in fact to everyone they meet for any length of time. That can really take it's toll. It's often stressful and boring and difficult. It's sometimes (sadly) met with homophobia and judgement and even hate.

And people who are straight do not get stared at, pointed at, verbally or physically abused because of their heterosexuality and their relationship- the OP has said that this ahs happened to her. It has happened to me. It's happened to most (if not all) of the gay people I know.

It's not really fair of you to say as (I assume) a straight person- 'you don't need to come out, because straight people don't have to', although I do appreciate that it shouldn't be necessary for anyone to have to- life would be so good if there wasn't a default=straight thing going on.

OP- I sympathise and empathise with you and your gf. I think the advice others gave about finding contacts who are lgbtq is spot on. Life is easier if you're not alone. Are you living very rurally/ near any major cities? Is there any kind of gay scene where you are?

Where I live, there is not much on the surface, but if you have just a couple of contacts, you realise there's quite a few lgbtq people about.

I have friends who have met loads of gay contacts via a group for their particular religion. Do you have any interests that might have gay people involved in?

FWIW, I do understand how hard it is to be a 'visible' lesbian. I have had several relationships with women, but am now with a man, so feel rather weak giving any kind of advice! But I remember the difficulty, the constant coming out etc. It can be very stressful.

Let your love sustain you. Bon courage. x

proseccowithastraw Sat 18-Jun-16 17:42:18

Kungfu, I wish it was that simple and you're completely right when you say we shouldn't have to come out. I wish I just corrected people and everyone moves on. Like if they just got dps name or age wrong, but instead of moving straight on, I often get "so when did you come out?" "how did your folks take it?" Oh god and the absolute stereotype of what I should be. Ie, people have assumed I'm a vegetarian hmm (apparently a lesbian thing) and I obviously fancy aaall women and I love all lesbian films and tv shows.

Sorry, I'm ranting now.

TheNewSchmoo Sat 18-Jun-16 18:44:21

This is probably likely to be very unhelpful, but I hope it lightens the mood. People who have assumed you're a vegetarian because you're in lesbian relationship made me laugh out loud.

Kungfupandaworksout16 Sat 18-Jun-16 18:56:33

I'm meaning it as, they shouldn't have to "come out". Aslong as your happy that's all that matters. Keep doing you and have a fantastic life, life becomes so much easier when you don't give a shit what people think smile

Sniv Sat 18-Jun-16 22:08:42

proseccowithastraw I don't really want to use this thread to recount bad experiences because that's not helpful so I'll just say briefly that in this case the guy was aggressively insistent about going home with us (ugh!) but he backed off when challenged and we both got out safely. Really, I've not had it happen in years.

I recommend giving the meetup a few goes. There may be more people coming to events than are signing up (some people are obviously pretty private and don't want a record of them going to gay stuff), and you signing up to go to things will encourage more people to come along too as there are probably lots of people who see the low attendance and think the same as you.

And, yes, although I live in a town which has no proper gay pub/bar and everyone moans has no gay scene at all, I have a good circle of LGBT friends that I've built up in the past few years , due to a mixture of our local meetup group, my employer's LGBT group, the local gay club night, friends of friends etc. I have really made an effort to go out and be part of our little gay community and it's paid back dividends for me, although it took a while.

SpookyRachel Sat 18-Jun-16 22:33:09

Hi OP, I'm so sorry you're feeling anxious and vulnerable. I'm sure your social isolation as lesbians is very problematic - it's not that I think lesbians should only hang out with other lesbians, but in the early formative years of your lesbian identity, it is hugely helpful. I have been out for over 30 years and am constantly amazed at how much easier it is now to be out and proud - but then I live in London, and understand that many parts of the country aren't like that yet.

But you need to find some nice, friendly lesbians - have you rung your local Switchboard, or looked in the back pages of Diva? Kenric?

AnthonyPandy Sat 18-Jun-16 23:01:02

Birds of a feather flock together!

proseccowithastraw Sun 19-Jun-16 14:42:28

Last, thanks for your kind post. Tbh, I'm reluctant to join certain goups, as they don't always seem as welcoming of lesbians like me, or bisexuals. It's ridiculous because I'm not on the look out for a gf, I just want to make friends with other like minded women and men. There seems to be this caution attached to feminine lesbians, which is ridiculous because why would I waste my time?!

I probably sound like I'm procrastinating, but I am on several forums, websites and it seems very territorial and unfriendly. The only ones which were friendly were looking for something I'm not, so the wrong kind of friendly. Anyway, I'm just getting tired of the isolation and pretty much constant paranoia. It's got to the stage I'm genuinely worrying someone will come looking for us and hurt us.

TheNew, it's irritating, but it did make me laugh.....the first time anyway!

Sniv, sorry I probably shouldn't have asked! What a nob though. We used to get this a lot in the beginning, but then we don't really go out to clubs and bars anymore and for that reason. I'm glad you've built up a good circle of lgbt friends. I'm jealous envy but it gives me hope smile

Spooky, my dp works in London and I think that's probably why she feels so much more at ease about her sexuality \our relationship. She sees other same sex couples all the time, whereas I hardly ever. Only recently discovered Diva (was actually in an article, which is how I discovered it) so will have a look in the back pages. Thanks.

Anthony , well if they could all flock this way, that'd be great! wink

proseccowithastraw Mon 20-Jun-16 21:27:19

Well after watching a discussion on The Wright Stuff this morning- " does stigma still hang over gay people?", at least I know I'm not alone. Apparently latest figures show that 90% of gay couples don't show affection in public at all, due to fear of verbal and\or physical abuse. 90%! How sad is that?...

thedogdaysareover Mon 20-Jun-16 22:09:14

Very very sad. I will never understand it. Luck and love to you, and hope you meet some good people who will help you feel less afraid. I think people who consider themselves straight should do everything in their power to support organisations like Stonewall etc, injustice and violence happens to LGBTQ people all the time, every day, even though it's not always overt. I don't know what I would call myself, I suppose I am a person who has always had 100% heterosexual experiences but has always seen sexuality as fluid. I think it is essential to show support, numbers count to policy makers. Just got to be there for people and to acknowledge that what is happening is NOT OK and hope the tide turns everywhere, not just in cities. I honestly do not get it, I really don't, but then I remember as a little kid watching the Bronski Beat video "Smalltown Boy" (shows age here lol), working it out in my head and going "WTF?".

Anyway, just wanted to say hi again. If you feel a bit para posting about this stuff in the other places you tried, just post it here if you feel comfortable. It would make a change from all the stuff about lazy cheatin men and mother in laws smile Those posts are mostly mine, though ;)

proseccowithastraw Tue 21-Jun-16 09:58:52

thedog, thank you smile

It really does suck. The people who hate our "kind" are so focused on the sexual aspect, that they can't see it's just about two people loving each other.

My parents are now supportive, but they were proper homophobes before I came out. I can still hear my dad telling me that by definition, gay people are a perversion of nature. I remember my mum getting agitated and actually, disgusted when a celebrity came out. Her answer was always the same "oh I wish they'd bloody go back in". Comments like that have really stuck with me. They hurt more coming from people you love.

rumred Tue 21-Jun-16 10:14:28

There's loads of local prides, Google the areas around you. These tend to be easy and relaxed events.
I think you need to broaden your circles, if you don't have gay friends it must seem like gay people are other and different. Go to pubs and bars, join a walking group, do some stuff aimed at gay people. Forums are full of idiots of all sexualities.

proseccowithastraw Tue 21-Jun-16 18:23:01

rum, thanks. I think I've had bad luck with gay bars. All the ones I've been to, admittedly not many, were either completely dead, or just ....scary confused I've never checked out Soho though. In Cambridgeshire, where I live, the gay scene is notoriously quiet.

rumred Tue 21-Jun-16 22:49:43

The reality is that like any bar, some are suited to your tastes and some aren't. Depends on age and interests but for me bars and clubs are very occasional outings these days.
My geography is rubbish but there will be small pride events near you. These generally attract people from all walks of life, and feel easy to be part of.
Round here there's also women's walking and dining groups.
And most of us struggle with ingrained homophobia as we grew up with it as the norm. Maybe counselling could help you excavate some of your feelings?

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