When I was a young child I recognised something in me that was different to other children.
As I grew older I acknowledged what it was and could put a name to it. However it was something I couldn’t share or ask for help for fear of rejection.
Instead I hid behind what I knew to be normal.
I was a well behaved child, did well at school, yet always felt that I wasn’t ever to be fully accepted.
My school addressed many things but not this… Margaret Thatcher had seen to that with Clause 28.
On going to university I had something of a revelation.. I wasn’t any more weird than most people, and here there were even people with the same affliction as me.
My housemate was a huge comfort to me, assuring me that I should just go with my feelings. I was still trying to prove to myself that I could battle this side of myself and wasn’t quite strong enough to face the potential rejection.
The greatest thing I learnt at university was about myself, I attended my first gay pride in London in 1992 and my heart nearly burst when everywhere I looked, there were others like me. For the first time I felt a feeling of belonging.
Despite these feelings of empowerment, the government that I paid my taxes to labelled me as a second class citizen:
I couldn’t join the military (although those that know me know that this wouldn’t be an issue!)
I couldn’t be classed as next of kin to my partner – this meant I would have no say in their treatment in hospital, had no rights to pensions, could not inherit their estate etc.
I was not considered worthy to adopt or foster
My employer was allowed to discriminate against me on the basis of my sexuality.
It wasn’t until 2010 that most of this changed with the passing of the equality bill.
Still however I was not recognised as a “normal” member of society…. me and my partner could have a “civil partnership” which was supposed to placate us.
The equal marriage legislation that has been passed this week has given me an enormous boost. Not only can I finally marry my (was gonna put life partner but that’s so cringey.) girlfriend, but it also feels like the last barrier to being accepted.