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So after taking some advice from various people I opted to keep it simple and just put down simply what I felt my mum needed to know. It won't win any awards for style or wit but here it is. I'll be putting it in the post on Monday,so any suggestions welcome.

Dear Mum,

 Writing this letter hasn’t been easy and I wish I knew an easier way of saying this, but I think all I can do is come straight out and say it.

 I’m gay. I’ve known I’ve been attracted to women for years now, since I was 15 in fact. I’d hoped that this was a phase that I would grow out of, but in fact as I’ve gotten older it’s become more and more clear that this wasn’t something that was going to go away. I didn’t feel a need to worry about telling you about this, because in the past I still felt attracted to men, and as you know most of my major relationships were with men.

 Over time though I’d noticed that my feelings were changing and being with Elliott confirmed that I couldn’t be with a man anymore. Elliott was in the processing of transitioning from female to male, and while he had been taking testosterone for years and passed as a man (I very much doubt Catherine or Dad noticed anything unusual about him when they met him) he was pre-operative when we were together. As the dates of his chest surgery got nearer I realised that I had been attracted to and fallen in love with all the ‘wrong’ parts of him. The masculine features he was developing were leaving me feeling disgusted, and I knew I couldn’t support him through this as his girlfriend anymore. Despite us being together for nearly a year, and still loving him I had to end it and I knew that I was no longer attracted to men at all physically.

 I’ve been seeing a woman for a few months now and things are going well. I was sure before we met of who I was, but being with her has made me glad to have been brave and making this step.

 I appreciate this may all comes as a bit of a shock, and I don’t expect you to welcome this news. I can assure that I am certain about this, and this really isn’t something which is going to change. If it helps at all I now feel so much happier to be able to acknowledge this to myself and to stop pretending. Feeling like I’m lying and constantly having to cover this up from you and dad has been really stressful, and I knew I didn’t want to have to continue all of this deception.

 While I’m not sorry about who I am I’m sad that I haven’t been able to be the kind of daughter that you had in mind. I know it wasn’t easy for you when Catherine came out to you. I’m also sorry that I’ve not said this to you face to face, but I knew it was important that I put all my thoughts down in a way where I can make myself clear. I’m off work this Friday and Saturday and I’d be happy to get the train down to see you on Thursday evening to talk things through more. I’d understand if you’d prefer it if I didn’t but if you could please just let me know.

 I don’t expect you to be happy about this news but please remember that really not a lot (except for me a bit more honest) has changed.

 

Hopefully see you soon; please ring when you get this.

 

Lots of love,

 

V

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So Christmas and returning to my parent’s house down in the shire looms large. It’s fair to say that while I generally get along pretty well with my parents, and lord knows it’s been far worse in the past, it’s not really an experience I relish. So with eleven days to go till I go back to the house I grew up in, back ‘home’ feels very far away indeed. Mental and practical preparations need to be made for me to put on my three-day long one woman show entitled ‘I’m not a kinky, poly queer cock-dodger’. As if dealing with the big gay white elephant in the room (which as far as I know only I can see) wasn’t tiring and stressful enough I’m sure I have yet more of dad’s bad tempered snipes about my career or lack thereof to contend with.

 The last proper family gathering for my mum’s 60th in October was incredibly stressful. In the middle of the countryside cut off from civilisation, and my Manchester family and going cold turkey from my mobile internet connection I knew it was going to be hard. Going out the night before with A to see Rent was simultaneously a fabulous secret life-line giving a place to drift off and daydream to, but also by relief with the conservative surroundings something of a taunting distraction, bringing a flush to my cheeks that had nothing to do with wholesome country walks.

My resolve was strong though, the previous night’s show tunes still ringing in my head I was determined to be a quiet version of myself. I didn’t wear seamed, thin or patterned hosiery (ok, they had to be stockings with a good suspender belt, but they’re quite opaque with concealed support). I wore a made to measure 40s style satin dress that I ordered because it looks smoke-grey demure, and covers my cleavage, shoulders and upper arms. The material is of a weight and cut that no matter how fast I spin it would never fly up and flash my knickers. I put on demure ivory toned (simulated) pearls and small white artificial flowers in my hair. I left my false eyelashes at home, and only put on foundation, liquid eyeliner and simple cold-toned red lipstick.

I still got from my mother ‘Hmm, dressed to kill again I see’.

From my sister in law ‘Why do you curl your fringe? You’re cutting down on drinking time’

From my other sister in law ‘Where’s that from? Very Dita!’

 I had a gorgeous four-poster, high mattressed bed in a beautiful room at the top of a high hill in the Peaks. Alone I felt cosy and protected. Being gawped at by a large room of slightly too drunk people is nothing new. Sadly neither is feeling utterly alone when I’m the weird spectacle….I still missed my husbear quite painfully. I was feeling an altogether different kind of longing for A.

 Being the black-sheep in my family I guess wouldn’t be hard, next to my painfully high-achieving, squeaky-clean uber-respectable sister. Ok, she’s gay but she’s very much settled with a respectable wife, pension, mortgage and career. My brother’s right-wing outlook on the world might have given Goebbels the heebie-jeebies, but he was also there with his (outwardly) blonde and ditzy wife. Choice conversation from him included scientific ‘proof’ of the gay gene, and proposing that travellers, the disabled and all long term benefits claimants undergo enforced sterilisation by the DWP.

 All in all they’re people that wrapped up in their own concerns it’s really quite unlikely that they’d show enough of an interest to be ‘caught out’. I can safely let go of that insecurity. Arming myself with my laptop, some choice music and DVDs will get me through. Failing that there’s always a bountiful supply of gin at the Bona Clan residence. Once Christmas is officially over I can finally begin the process of finally doing the final reveal to my folks. Part of me feels quite scared about the disapproval and hurt that this might provoke, part of me wonders if it’s really going to be all that significant. I have no idea what few adjectives they’d put next to me. All this will do is add ‘gay’ to that limited list that describes the tiny view of my life that they have.

 

Bring on the New Year and a return to sanity…

 

 

 

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Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty
According to my bond; nor more nor less.
The jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes
Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are;

When I began the process of coming out I hadn’t realised this was something I would have to do over and over again. Coming out to myself and leaving the stage-lit, elaborately decorated Barbie dream-closet I’d made wasn’t easy. Leaving the husbear was worse. Maintaining a relationship as lovers had become impossible, and I’d so often dreamed of an escape from the constant black cloud of worry that had been hanging over my head for months. My love for him as my friend and companion never waned. Part of me still wishes that I could be the dutiful femme he needed to see him through the process of transitioning. I think it came to a point where him growing into the person he always was had to take priority over a relationship that had sprung up between two people who no longer existed.

 Another surprise has been the sheer length of time it’s taken me to get to this point. It always seemed to me that being either gay or straight was something you simply knew from day one in black and white terms.  I’m still unsure as to whether I’ve ‘jumped the fence’ from a predominantly straight bisexual to lesbian, or that I was gay all along and simply wandered off the path for a spell. Either way I can’t help but feel like in the school of sexual orientation, I’m sat at the special desk in remedial class with a circle of paper and a chubby crayon.

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October 2014

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