Welcome to the World, Baby Dyke
It's 20 years to the week since I came out for the very first time by uttering the words "I think I'm gay" within earshot of another human being. It was very, very scary, and also exhilarating and liberating. From there, I just wanted to tell more and more people, although I chose those people very carefully, so there was no tremendous domino effect in the first year. I waited until I got to university for that.That summer of 1986 opened up possibilities. I started to crave independence, exploration and experience. I started to understand the value of friendship, and to recognise when I wanted so much more than friendship. I dreamed of intimacy and the secrets of sex. I knew the promise contained in a woman's breasts when brushing against my arm just long enough could make my entire skin tingle and stand to attention. I got depressed and lonely because I wanted the world to change immediately for me.
I feel lucky that I still have my teenage diaries. Loads of people want to forget their adolescence, the angst and agony. I don't. I like remembering the path I've travelled, how my teenage uncertainty blossomed into ... well ... a whole string of new uncertainties! There are still plenty of reasons why I think the world should change. But at least I'm certain about who I am, and I know how to express that in a whole variety of ways, how to remain true to myself, mostly without fear these days.
In the summer of 1986 I had my first holiday with friends rather than family. We stayed on a caravan park for a week near Paignton, Devon, and it rained nearly every day. But it was a taste of freedom, a slice of the discovery I wanted life to be:
July 27th 1986
J had some cannabis and we had our first experience of drugs. We didn't smoke it in a joint, but burnt some and inhaled the smoke from under a glass. It made us feel incredibly horny - it was quite amazing how much it aroused you. We had a really good time. I was so happy - I have always wanted to do what we did last night. This is the perfect opportunity for new experiences - away from everything - no family to answer to. I think I need to get away from home more often - the taste of freedom does wonders for me.
Somehow or other, we got onto the subject of gay sex. M said she thinks everyone is bisexual to a certain extent and I said that I thought I was gay. But, I don't think in our state that I was taken all that seriously. K and L were moaning that they want their men, and L asked me if I wanted a man. My answer 'No' led her to ask: 'Do you want a woman?' My frustrations made me say 'Yes' and she said 'Oh, I won't sleep near you, then.' This statement hurt me because it is the kind of response I was expecting but didn't want.
Never mind! I don't think I was taken really seriously. K thinks women should 'just go for it' if they really want to (her words of last night). We are all getting on really well and I don't think this lot could frown upon me, but I still don't think they quite understand my feelings.
August 4th 1986
We had a fantastic holiday. I came home and developed post-holiday depression - I wanted to continue living with M, J, L and K. As well as providing great amusement and entertainment, the holiday gave me a chance to reveal my true feelings and have them accepted by two of my friends.
One night I had a detailed talk with K (L didn't hear as much - she fell asleep) until 3.00am about my gay feelings. This is such a relief to me because I have needed to share my thoughts with someone. Now that I have had the courage to admit to myself being gay I might make an easier time for myself.
Being easy on oneself - about anything - takes a whole lifetime of learning. Twenty years is a pretty solid background, though. I'm far from wishing my life away, but I aim to discover even more in the next 20.