G.A.P. apparently means Gay And Proud in some schools, but not in a good way. It’s being used as an insult… to the extent that if a pupil wears Gap Inc clothing, they hide the logo to avoid being teased and I guess ultimately will stop buying the brand.
There’s an opportunity here for Stonewall and Gap to create an advertising campaign. I hope they take it. I may write to persuade them now I’m a grumpy, middle-aged 😉 woman!
I did ‘come out’ once but found it hard to face other people’s shock, perception and the feeling that I became somehow different to before. I realised in my late teens that I am bisexual, more in theory than in practice to be honest, as it was hard thing to be in the eighties so I kept it to myself. However, I want my daughter and my nephews especially to know so they can talk to me openly about any questions they have. Now increasingly I see and talk to people who literally switch sides at various stages of their life. As a result, I’m not convinced that being gay or not is an exact science. It’s of course about physical preference but also a personal choice based on experience, life stage and who you meet along the way.
What I find interesting is why other people really care who you sleep with? Why is it such an issue in some circles and so not an issue in others! There are a surprising number of people who still think sexuality defines the person, it doesn’t really, it’s just part of the tapestry…
It’s the teenagers today I really feel for. Sexuality is so widely discussed and yet society feels less tolerant in some ways. When I was a teenager I knew I felt differently to my peers, yet no one teased me for it even though I suspect they guessed I was gay. It was silently accepted. Acknowledged just not spoken of, as sexuality was only part of who I was. Today defining a person’s sexuality has much more weight and ranks highly in the level of importance for their identity.
Gay individuals, already struggling with how they may feel, face potential judgement from their peers and the wider world simply for who they are. This may compel them to hide their real self as a protection mechanism, which not only distorts their personality it makes life very hard. Alongside the growth in information available for children and teens, perhaps we should also discuss the impact of our preoccupation with sexuality with the older generations. There must be thousands of gay people who have concealed their sexuality routinely throughout their lives to fit in, to conform, to survive. Ironically they may be living next door to someone in exactly the same position, just not know it!
There must be a better way. Let’s feel comfortable about who we are, feel able to be gay, straight or whatever at any age. Time for that Gap/Stonewall campaign methinks…
All the best to you all… whether you’re having sex or not, sleeping with the opposite sex or not, or just being happy with yourselves and frankly not thinking about which sex you fancy at all 😉.
Love Ruth x
Header photo by Nikita Belov on Unsplash