My small town gay night out
When a city girl dates a country girl, will a night out be fright or delight?
Recently I started dating someone who is from a small town in Buckinghamshire. I knew the day was fast approaching where she'd ask me to visit her on her turf and meet her friends.
Don't get me wrong, I am totally fine with meeting friends and family, no matter how nerve-wracking it can get. But, and this is a big but, I am fully aware that outside of London, especially in small towns, my 'kind' is not always greeted with open arms. By my kind I mean a tattooed and pierced, mixed-race lesbian. I had grown up in Oxford, which mainly consists of accepting, cultured people. Needless to say though, I did experience my fair share of homophobia from small-minded people on nights out.
I panicked all week wondering what to wear, what to say and how to behave around my girlfriend in her town. She wasn't yet out to her family and many of her friends, so I wanted to make sure I respected that. I worried that I wouldn't be able to contain my temper when someone inevitably said something offensive to one of us. Having escaped to London where I've lived for the past three years, I had forgotten what the outside world was like and wasn't keen on finding out.
Worries aside, sure enough, come Saturday that week, I found myself on a train entering what I perceived as hostile territory. My fears were immediately confirmed when I saw the town was plastered in UKIP posters, and UKIP cars dotted around the place with speakers attached to their roofs preached to the small-town people.
Later on, I learned we were going to be attending the town's only club, which just so happened to be in some sort of converted barn. Yay. This was all so alien to me and I braced myself for the worst. I attempted to speak to my girlfriend and asked her if we should perhaps 'tone down' the PDA. I wanted to protect her and stop her from seeing how cruel people can be. Despite my efforts she was adamant that we walk into the club hiding nothing and strictly ordered me to avoid getting into any arguments. Her funeral. Flashbacks of girls throwing disgusted looks and boys crowding round echoed in my head as I thought about countless nights ruined for kissing a girl openly in my hometown.
After sharing a bottle of wine, we got ready to go out and I nervously entered the club, wondering what the night held for us. I visualised the night ending with me in a police car. My girlfriend seemed to know everyone in there and immediately grabbed my hand and proudly strutted over to a large group of her friends as I reluctantly followed. I thought: what the hell is she doing, she hasn't been out long enough to know the consequences, how am I going to bite my tongue, is she crazy?
'Hi guys, this is my girlfriend Anisa.'
(Jesus, she didn't warn me we were going to her coming out party as well.)
I looked up to see a group of fifteen faces intently staring at me and awkwardly waved. There was a moment of silence and I waited for the backlash, the dirty side-looks, the endless sex questions, threesome requests - I was ready for it all with little, clenched fists but instead, I was greeted with smiling faces and hand-shakes
I was completely stunned. Perhaps there is hope for future generations. One girl explained to me later on in the night that 'around this area, it is mainly the older generations who are homophobic and racist'. I was warned about a couple of older men who had been known for nasty comments and kept my distance, but other than that we had a decent night, as decent as it gets clubbing in a barn surrounded by fields, but decent all the same.
Times are changing and perhaps it's time I learnt that people are changing with it.
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