I’m gay. It’s one of my multiple identities (see my first post on the blog). It has, in fact, been quite handy for me in my career. People do not forget who I am. Women don’t feel threatened because I’m not chasing after their men, and men quickly stop pursuing me when they realise there is no hope of getting in my knickers. There’s also the simple shock value – “What? You’re gay? Are you sure? But you don’t LOOK gay!”
Imagine a stereotypical lesbian – visually, I’m about as polar opposite as you can get. Handbags and Gladrags. Mentally, well, we both want to fuck girls (blush).
I promised myself in my early adulthood that I’d be authentic and bring my whole self to work. I’d correct people if they made a false assumption. It’s proven that authenticity makes for happier employees and increases productivity. Surveys show that lesbians in the UK earn 8% more than our straight counterparts so loving the ladies even works to my commercial advantage. Hurrah!
I gradually became a bit more sophisticated in my way of coming out and acting on my sexual orientation. It’s a big part of my identity.
1989 – declared I wanted to be Liesel from the Sound of Music and dance around a conservatory in the rain. Watched Sound of Music at least once a week. With hindsight, I wanted to be IN Liesel from the Sound of Music. Nobody knew.
1999 –stared at a woman’s breasts, hoping she’d cotton on that I’m fantasising about fucking her. This didn’t work. Watched a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
2004 – got drunk at a gig at university, announced completely spontaneously to another lesbian, “I’m gay too!” whilst standing next to the hand dryer in the loos. Dyson airblades hadn’t yet been invented so she was able to hear me. Became friends and met other lesbians.
2005 – got drunk (again), flirted with a choir girl on choir tour, feigned the “I’m tired, shall we walk back to the hotel together so we’re safe?” thing, pushed her up against the wall in the lift and kissed/molested her, then had sex with a woman for the first time. Ran away embarrassed in the morning and never made eye contact again despite singing alto in the same choir for another 3 years. Whole choir knew of our sexcapade and it’s one of those stories that has passed down from generation to generation.
2006 – fell in love with best friend. Didn’t tell best friend. Melted into best friend’s arms whenever we hugged. Other people noticed. Invested in battery operated friend.
2006 – cried when best friend chose a Texan Spelling Bee Champion to be her girlfriend instead. True story. Placed a little profile on a dating website for fellow students saying I’m looking for women. Went on dates with a few women but don’t kiss any of them. Still, able to relate back the horror stories to more friends so they then figured it out…
2007 – experimented with being straight. Not fulfilling. Used battery operated friend instead.
2007 – “The Whole Lesbian Sex Book” fell out of a bag my mother was carrying for me. That was a quick coming out to the parents process.
2008 – got set up on a date with a lesbian hottie. No need to come out. Fell in love with her immediately (and I haven’t stopped since).
2008 – prompted by my mentioning her like a million times, when asked if lesbian hottie was a friend or a “special friend” by my father, I burst into tears and told the truth.
2009 – started work and referred casually to doing things with my “partner”.
2011 – got engaged so therefore harped on about my wedding and how nightmarish it was having two brides.
2012 – asked to speak to a room of 200 senior executives in financial services about being a “future gay leader”. Half the City knows I’m gay.
2013 – got married and started referring to my wife in conversation when people asked what I’d been up to or what family I have. No way of hiding and no desire to lie.
2013 – no longer have wife. She died after five and a half years of being together. Coming out to people who don’t know me becomes hard again.
2013 – whole new challenge. Coming out as a widow. A lesbian widow. A lesbian widowed by suicide.