Going to Brighton Pride at sixteen was the best thing I could have done. By then, I had come out. I wasn’t ashamed of my sexuality- or, at least, not as much as I had been. But I had a black tunnel where my future should be. Just as I rarely saw older mixed-race people, it seemed to me that I never saw older lesbians. When I tried to envision my future, I never got past 24, because that’s the oldest I could imagine being and still being gay. It’s not that I thought my sexuality would change. It seemed like one of the few certainties in my life at that time. It’s just that I couldn’t see it as a thing with a future, or think of myself as a person with a future.
Brighton Pride was revelatory. I saw families there. Gay couples with children, straight couples who were proud to bring theirs along. I saw lesbians of thirty, forty, fifty, sixty. Gay guys of all ages, too. I was there with my second proper girlfriend, and we held a rainbow flag. For maybe the first time, I felt genuinely accepted and understood by all the people around me.
I’m 27 now. Sometimes I wish I were more “obviously” gay. I get urges to shave my head or dress boyishly to prove myself. Part of that is a feeling of wanting to be more visible to other lesbians. It annoys me that I am so often an “invisible” lesbian.
Part of it is that, when I get older, I want to be able to show that lesbians can, and do, live past 24. We exist, and continue to. We grow up, have families or don’t, have partners or don’t, have jobs or don’t. We are real.
At some point in my life, I would like to work with younger LGBT people. I would like to say that it’s OK, that there are more people like us, that we do grow into real adults, and that we come in all shapes and sizes, with all kinds of fashion sense. I would like it if the need to prove these points would become redundant, and young people could accept themselves and envision their futures easily. But I doubt that the need will disappear any time soon. I am responsible.