I am old, my joints tell me so daily. I had forgotten I am gay however until recently when there was a homophobic hoohaa in the local press.
I have been living with my partner now for more than a quarter of a century in a supportive relationship, we are both partners and best friends. It is more than I could have dreamt of in my youth.
Most people we mix with now know of our relationship but this hasn’t always been the case. In the 70s and 80s nearly all gay people stayed firmly in the closet, sometimes keeping your job depended on it. You were the only one, the subject was rarely talked about and there were no gay characters on TV. It was hush hush.
Being young and gay is hard.
When I moved to the Salisbury area I knew no one. I lived alone. The only social life I had was once a fortnight on a Thursday when I drove to Southampton where a woman ran a support group for lesbians in her front room. It was such a relief to be with others, to drink tea and chat with people who understood even a little bit. We were a diverse group of women from different backgrounds however I could relax.
I didn’t attend a Pride event for many years but when I did I was overwhelmed. I stood on the footbridge by Waterloo overlooking the Embankment whilst crowds, noise, flags whistles and colours filled the road below. My eyes filled with tears then I cried...I never knew so many gay people existed in all the years I had lived. Apparently 70,000 people marched beneath the footbridge that day.
I was not alone.