‘You are a lesbian? But you are so girly!’
‘No way. That’s just a phase most girls go through. Find yourself a nice boyfriend, and it will all go away.’
‘I told you that you should have gone to a mixed school. See how four years in a single-sex school has turned your head?’
‘What, the guys here are not manly enough for you?’
‘You have to stop this - this is not good for you. Girl-girl relationships never last.’
‘Don’t make me call your parents.’
Familiar phrases, familiar intonations. Lesbianism is not real. Gay relationships are bad. A young lesbian/bisexual girl goes through much of this in her coming out phase.
Not that coming out to oneself is any easier. Some of us know from the time we innocently held hands with our friend. Some of us, not until we realised that the kisses of our boyfriends were not as sweet as the ones stolen guiltily from that girl. Or until we realise we are checking out the girl next to the handsome hero, not him. Some of us don’t know at all, preferring to hide behind a veil of denial.
Not that our schoolmates are any help. They think lesbianism is something ugly girls do. They think it is just a phase, a girlish crush on an authority figure, quick to fade away when the first masculine figure appears on the scene.
Not that our parents help. We know they will probably kick us out if a whiff of our sexuality reaches them. Or take us to a doctor, pleading for a cure. We can’t bear to see the tears on our mothers’ faces, when they hear their daughters are’ different.
Who helps, then? Me, for one, as I take you on a journey across the choppy seas of being a young queer girl.