As part of the the #BeYourself campaign, we have reach out to various member of the LGBTQ+ community to share their stories. Whether you are Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Pansexual or any member of the LGBTQ+ community it is important to be able to follow your own path and express who you are.
Always a little different and now a lot
I think I always knew I was a bit weird…not quite the same as the others kids in class. I struggled with a feeling of belonging in school and growing up. I formed crushes on both boys and girls but I was such a tom boy and most of my best friends growing up were boys, I just felt more at ease with them for some reason and girls tended to not take to me and would leave me out. I don’t know why maybe because I was a tom boy or because sometimes I didn’t know how to interact with girls because I knew it was different for me than it was for them. This was from a young age, as young as about 7 or 8.
My first time I remember enquiring about what Gay was, I heard it on the Tv when I was about 7 and I asked my mother what it meant. She told me it meant you were happy. This has always stuck with me and I think it’s why I have always had such a positive feeling about the LGBTIQ community. It must have been a happy community the word “GAY” literally meant happy. How could that not be good!!!
I had my first experience with a girl when I was 12 and this came out when I was in secondary school in about second year. At this stage most of my close friends were gay and it wasn’t an issue for them to be Gay but for me because I was also having boyfriends it was an issue for me with people in my school. I felt like I didn’t know what was right or wrong or who was right or wrong to fancy and it led to me not coming out for a very long time. Again in 5th year of school I fell for this Canadian girl and well she outed me in school and I isolated myself. I was heartbroken and devastated so I moved school.
When I was 17/18 I kissed one of my sisters friends and it was such a passionate kiss and I was so full of excitement exploring this side of myself once again. Then the next morning my sister called me Gay and I out right denied it. To this day I am still not sure why. Then I was in relationships with men for years. Till I was 25 and then I came out as Gay. People assumed that this meant I was a Lesbian and I let them also that this meant I was only attracted to women, I have spent the last six years in relationships with women, and one of them is someone who will forever be so special to me and a best friend. I don’t know what the future holds for me with who I will fall in love with and now I am very comfortable to identify as Bi-sexual/Pansexual. It took a long time for me as I really felt both the LGBTIQ community and the straight community really don’t accept bisexuality or pansexuality that we must pick a side but for me it just isn’t like that. I truly fall for the person and not a gender.
As for how I am as a person I now beyond the labels society puts on us I love the work that I do with the ISPCC and Aware, I also volunteer with Shout Out and give talks on LGBTIQAAP issues to inform youths of what sexual identities are and gender identities in an attempt to pave the way for each generation to be better and more understanding than the last.
I am also doing a Law degree in Trinity and I plan to work in human rights law. I got back this time last year from spending a year in Uganda and I was on the Pride community there and with three other amazing people here in Ireland we managed to raise a donation of E1500.00 for their Pride, which was a huge help and I was so proud of the Irish for this, I also organised Mr and Miss Pride and performed at the show as well but not as a contestant. I also worked on women’s rights there. I previously spent time in Cambodia working in an Orphanage. I love giving back as in my life if it wasn’t for the kind people I have met through the years I wouldn’t be here.
It took me a long time to accept who I am but I truly feel so happy with myself now and that is getting better all the time. I love the friends I have in my life which are in Ireland and far and wide around the world. I love being different now and it doesn’t scare me anymore. So I encourage everyone to try and let go of society’s expectations of you and just be yourself!!!