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Coming out as lesbian – lesbian personal stories

F’s Story

My story – From a 22 year old lesbian
who managed to escape transition

I grew up in a working-class household, and I often wonder that if my parents were middle-class and university educated, quite how many years of tomboyishness I would have enjoyed before being packed off to a gender identity clinic to be fixed in the name of progressiveness. If given the option in my teenage years, I would have swiftly taken myself there, had a mastectomy, taken hormones, and changed my legal sex. I wanted nothing more.

Being a lesbian, and a gender-non-conforming lesbian at that, in the current climate, is extremely hostile. The desire in many girls to distance themselves from the growing pressure to conform to a hyper-sexualised and porn-inspired idea of womanhood should not be treated with surgery and hormones – in fact, with nearly all of the girls who are enduring this being same sex attracted, I view it as gay eugenics and a form of conversion therapy. Encouraging lesbians into “heterosexuality” cannot be labelled as anything else.

The pressure to transition comes from many angles. One side of the issue is lesbian invisibility. You can’t know that it’s okay to feel the way you do, that there’s a community waiting for you, if you can’t see it. It’s hard to see a future for yourself that doesn’t lie with the other half of the problem – the questioning of whether or not you believe you are a man. It’s one thing to brush off the age-old question posed to butch lesbians of “do you just think you’re a man though?” from less savoury men on the street and in your life. It’s another to hear the questioning posed in a more insidious way by educated, clever, and articulate peers and teachers. The same people would ask me my “pronouns” every time we saw each other, expecting the answer to have changed.

I was lucky though, the summer before I left school I met, and became good friends, with a large group of lesbians of many ages. Because of this, I was able to see a future for myself as a lesbian, and have a community. I never bowed to the intense pressure “to become a man” because I understood that it is socially and biologically impossible. It is a lie told to lesbians and everyone around them. No-body can change sex, and nobody should try. And certainly, nobody should be allowed to threaten, harass and assault women who say this. I also never bowed to the pressure of heterosexual men claiming to be women, therefore “lesbians”, insisting on their right to join our spaces and to have sexual access to us. The bottom line is, we should be allowed to assert our exclusivity as a group of women who are sexually-attracted to other women.

Miranda’s Story, age 25

Older Lesbians’ coming out stories from the
Women’s Liberation Movement

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