celebrating and creating our own LGBTQ+ history in honour of Sheila McWattie

Archive for February, 2014

day eighteen

Being gay isn’t always what it seems,

Sometimes it’s a collage of hopeless dreams.

People spreading rumours about you loving men,

Telling you things you’ve known since you were ten.

 ‘What if you get HIV?’ ‘ What if you get AIDS?’

‘At your wedding will you have Best Men or Bridesmaids?’

The questions are endless, but they all make me laugh,

I made my choice to walk down this path.

 I can date who I want, my friends don’t care,

I have enough love for everyone to share.

Coming out was hard, but loving is great,

The world’s too small to dwell on petty hate.

 My friends all love me, my family too,

I love men, and you can too.

Be strong, have faith and smile every day,

Because if you smile, nobody can take your love away.



Paul Willis, 20, Canterbury

day seventeen

Coming out – again.


Let’s be clear, it wasn’t lust.  She wasn’t my type at all but I couldn’t take my eyes off her.  I hovered by the stall just looking but trying not to be seen staring. She made everything suddenly crystal clear.  She was my revelation.

She was a vision of the 50’s right there in the middle of Europride 1992. Petticoated red skirt, wide red leather belt, eyeliner, blue-black pony tail and fringe hair and the highest of patent leather stiletto heels (how did she walk on the grass in those?).  And the lipstick.  Unapologetic ruby red lipstick. My gender neutral vest and Levi’s suddenly felt all wrong.  She was a validating vision.  I was like her, I may never be able to walk in the heels or wear the outfit with such panache but I bought the lipstick, the reddest I could find, and set about discovering who I really was.  A lipstick lesbian.






Lel Meleyal, 54, Brighton


G Scene promotion – Sheila McWattie

G Scene promotion – Sheila McWattie

day sixteen

Coming Out…..


The prospect of coming out whether young or old is a daunting one. It is the point in which we are committed, prepared, psyched up for telling our loved ones, our friends, our world how we feel, who we are, something that defines us, it is a scary moment that we have to go through just to be us.

So that day comes and we do it, we feel petrified yet proud, some of us get a negative reaction some of us a positive one.

I am one of the lucky ones in which my family and most of my friends were great, they were positive, supportive and happy for me, the way we would hope all our families to be. For many we lose our families our friends our homes, the experience can be devastating and for what? Loving someone, being ourselves!

Down the line it hasn’t been easy; we think we have come out, job done? No!

Every day we have to come out in some way, whether it is from that glare from across the street, stare from behind a counter. The constant feeling that I have to identify who I am to you!

I have had my fair share of abuse, verbal and physical just because someone didn’t like the look of me, because I am me a lesbian.

Yes I am me and with that come so much, much more than what you see or think you see.

So take time to think when did you choose to be a heterosexual? Was it a hard choice? Was it easy to tell everyone? Does it affect you every day?

I work specifically with LGBT young people and want to say from the bottom of my heart they should be so proud of who they are and for coming out in such a hateful world.

So please homophobes, haters, in the words of Heather small “what have you done today to make you feel proud”?

Tell you what I did, I came out!



Hayley Rees, 32, out n proud lesbian from Herne Bay, Kent


day sixteen



Pavement blood splatter glints metallic in the morning sun,

I’m hoping it’s cherry stone bird shit but no, it weaves a linear trail away up the street.

The midnight sirens I romanticised to a city backdrop come back into my mind, a figure running from a blue flash heartbeat into the dark.


Chopping block blood splatter sluices down the market stall pavement, end of the day swilling to foam and wet tarmac.

Son of the market trader, voice barely broken, calls out the wares

‘Pork steaks, lamb chops two for a pound now, lovely pork steaks’


Every accent is a local one in London, twenty languages I can’t understand, filled with city movements, purpose and time, lyrical laughter with a story unfolding behind.


A black man with a heavily scarred face weaves between my feet and wheels, with arms length wielding of a litter picker, in the ten minutes I’ve been here he has covered the whole square of the shopping mall under the watchful eye of the Angel sculpture. I’m assuming he is a refugee from a war torn African state and is probably a well-qualified doctor, but he could just as easily be born and bred in this borough, scarred in a car crash as a teenager.


A building contractor hauling sheets of plywood behind a boarded up vacant plot offers to help me up the not so dropped curb.

He begins apologising for the condition of London’s pavements.

‘Well it’s not so bad’ I say, ‘at least they’ve started and it is getting better’


Yes, it’s getting better.


The last hundred yards feels like a mile.

I stop at the entrance, haul myself up to standing with the iron railing, taking a breath before the final effort.

Two women come by smiling, dykes I think, the black one with the stylish denim jacket and the sharply cropped hair bleached to orange, offers to help.

Effortlessly she picks up the chair and puts it at the top of the short flight.

She waits, holding on to it while I make my way up behind her

‘Didn’t want it rolling away on you’ she says

I thank them, wrestling with tears as they head off, animated chatter, plans and protests fill the air, then fade away round the corner.


JJ 09




Janet Jones, 49, Brighton






day fifteen


The thing I feel most guilty about is that I ate his pasta. I accepted his hospitality, ate his pasta and a day later slept with his wife.


I can be honest with you right?

I know what you’re thinking.

Why don’t I apologise for the affair?

But, how could anyone not have fallen for Her, listened to her honeyed words and devoured each sweet lie she told? I wasn’t naive, it was worse, I was headstrong and she fed my ego, transformed my dull greying world by Midas-touching it all, without bringing any of the consequences.

We planned time together and I’d almost forgotten she was married, because for that time in London, she’d been only mine.

I didn’t know till I got to Vancouver that his flight was delayed and this meant I arrived before he left…the “friend” from out of town that I was, a lupine judas in a sheeplined coat.

How do you do?

Yeah, awesome y’all flew over.  I made you my special Italian Farfalle…you must be famished, plane food sucks. Anyways, s’nice out here this time of year and ****** would only get bored with me away on business.

No, no she won’t … I thought as I filled my fork shamelessly

Yet, seasoned with experience, now I would cough a little deeper than I should, were I to smell the savoury tang of salty capers, the sizzling of pungent garlic and rosemary leaves releasing their fragrant oil. (And now I know why you were a coward to shoot your rivals in the back rather than look them in the eyes…but I was 19 then and had no time for wisdom as I knew it all ) Yet, to break bread with him, and really see him, this real person, made what we’d secretly planned a more explicit betrayal.  Because I knew what I was going to do was wrong for him but right for me and that being with Her was more vital than morals or self respect or denying myself supper…

I cooked that meal once long after she  was a memory, and I choked a little on the stalks of guilt I’d folded in, guilt that I could have been a better person and declined his hospitality or hers, but I needed to feast on both.


Serena Gilbert, 36 , Maidstone

day fourteen

A black and white snapshot

My sister popped round the other day with some photos to give me. Now, I like to put my photos in strict chronological order, in albums – not for me the shoe box with a mess inside. Once she’d gone, I set to finding these photos their rightful place.

It’s quite striking how my sister’s memories of one event, one person are so very different from mine. Take this picture, for example: my sister would only see me, with my gang, a group of 11 year olds, in the playground of St Therese, in our last year of primary school. We are wearing the pink overall we were made to wear to protect our clothes and are standing around the only tree in the courtyard.

I see 11 year old passion, worshipping at the foot of its first love. I see me aching for a word, a touch, a look. I see me oblivious…It is May ’68 , even the student revolution could not tempt me away from the object of my desire.

All I could do was wait for the lunch bell to ring, knowing I would have treasured time with the loved one. She is taller than me, blonde and has a way of sliding her hands in her pockets that oozes confidence, poise and seduction. She does not button up her overall, she leaves it open, an act of daring and defiance I admire.

My sister would see a grumpy, plump, tallish 12 year old who spells trouble. She’s always been a pretty good judge of character.


Yolaine Jacquelin, 56, East  Farleigh, Kent