The first word that comes into my head; sensual, and the best way I explore that is with another woman. It started early on in terms of insights and awareness of my own body, but labels and what society calls it would have been in secondary school. I was about 27 when I came out. It was so matter of fact; it was “Oh, yeah. I got that.” My sister said she knew all along, and mum and dad were very matter of fact about it. It was as easy, and as difficult, as that. Now I’m talking to them about specific things like relationships, friends, partners, work colleagues, and everyone. So they’re still my parents who are totally more concerned about my love and security in the world, regardless of my sexuality. I find that acknowledgement really great, and I was saying that to my mum, only the other day.
I told everyone at work, in one fell swoop! I was inspired because I’d met someone and they were out at work, and so I went, “Oh… better do that one too!” I went to my colleagues, “By the way, I’ve got something to say, and it’s actually that I’ve got a girlfriend and I’ve let someone into my life.” I was talking about how I hadn’t had a relationship in so long, and that’s also an impact. They just took it on.
I think it’s linked into how I’m actually conveying that information to them, and that at 27, I withheld who I was being around people, so now at 39, where I’m embracing all my friends collectively, whether they’re straight, gay or trans(gender), I’d rather be who I want to be amongst anyone. When I say it now, the change is that there’s an overwhelming acknowledgment and size of embrace of joy, of wanting to share, and wanting to see me. It’s always been there in the feedback from others at work that I am super tolerant, super acknowledging of diversity that exists, and I bring that empathy into my life.
I reckon there’s a collective up there. I was brought up Catholic. I’m really aware that there are so many religions out there, but due to the kind of work that I do, I can’t be bothered having an argument over a particular viewpoint. Instead, I embrace all those viewpoints because ultimately, all the people we refer to in the religions, we’re on the right track. I think this viewpoint means that I’m more tolerant and giving of everyone around me. There’s no one stance, but the essence of all spirituality is what I embrace, so it does impact on my sexuality.
I haven’t really sat down and thought about being called a lesbian. I haven’t just applied the label lesbian to myself, so there’s the pause of, “I’m not sure.” To somebody who was asking me that, I’d have to say, “What’s there for you?” There is a huge history that comes with that label and friends of mine in the community have been hurt or ridiculed over wearing that label, so there’s a whole history that goes with it. I’m prepared to wear it because it needs defending. It needs to be celebrated, which is a better way to look at it.
Who I am being is someone who is passionate, creative, open, fully self-expressed, generous, responsible and with integrity. That’s who I am in my life and in my world.