To be Scene By the Highland feminist

To be Scene By the Highland feminist

To be a lesbian is to be marked out as different. From as young as five years old, I knew that I liked girls. I liked their company, I liked kissing them, I felt happy and connected in their spaces. But I also grew up in a rural area, so although I felt a great affinity with, and desire for my own sex, I dare not have expressed it openly for fear of being bullied, or worse. Small, rural communities can be notoriously unaccommodating of anyone whose outlook on life is far removed from their own, and I felt this acutely. So, I did what many young women do, and I pretended to be someone I wasn’t so that I could fit in.

     It wasn’t until I arrived at university in Edinburgh in my late twenties, that I kicked the door off the closet with as much bravado and force as I could muster, to embrace what today we’d probably call my tribe. My best friend and I had lived similar closeted lives at school and so we adopted the mantra gay is the only way and spent most nights of the week in the gay bars and clubs of the city’s pink triangle. It was fun for a while, and much safer than the straight bars my other uni pals went to, but eventually even we tired of the scene and so began, the serious business of living our lives as working adults.

     I returned to the Scottish Highlands determined not to be defined by my sexual orientation, and instead focused on doing the things I enjoyed. By this point, I was out and proud and less afraid to be myself, and eventually, life brought the gifts of marriage and motherhood, and the label “lesbian” seemed less relevant than ever.

     This LGBT History Month as I look back on the people and the places that shaped me, I wonder where I might have been had all the brave men and women before me not taken up the mantle for gay rights. I am grateful for their activism, their courage, and their tenacity to make all our lives a little more open, and freer.

     I think about the theme of this year’s LBGT History Month, “Behind the Lens”: celebrating LGBT+ peoples’ contribution to cinema and film”, and how fortunate we are that the visual representations of our lives on screen are more diverse, and more accepted, than at any point in the past. Now, in my early forties, still living in a rural area, I care a little less about what anyone else thinks, and more about those who are closest to me, because coming out these days, is more about coming home. And Netflix.