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Coming out in an all girls’ school

Fran Hayden looks back on a formative experience

Fran Hayden

Mon, 14 Jan 2013 12:26:57 GMT | Updated 4 years today

It may be clichéd, it may be a stereotype and it might even be expected, but I first began to accept that I was a lesbian at school in Hampshire.


Ok, so that's not the clichéd part. But the fact that I went to an all girls' school is. I remember an instance in Year 10 where my entire class went on a trip to another school to learn about their new computer technology. We were impressed and excited to gain a glimpse into this other school, however, our reputation preceded us. As we left the minibus and approached the playground we were met by a tirade of comments: "Lesbians! Dykes! Look at the lesbos". Wow, I thought, they don't even know us and they're making these assumptions.


At that point I was slowly emerging from the closet so their comments felt like a personal attack. It also gave me a slight insight into what life might be like when I came out fully. I didn't look upon it favourably. However, like these pupils were assuming, I know that I didn't "turn" gay because I went to an all girls' school - it was just an intrinsic part of me that decided to rear its head when I was there.


So, what was it like coming out in an all girls' school?


In all honesty, it was both complex and simple at the same time. In order to preserve what little "rep" I had, (I was being bullied at the time anyway) I came out as bisexual as, in my opinion, society at the time deemed this a fashionable "label" to identify as. I had a short platonic relationship with a guy to make this credible and tried hard to pretend that I wasn't lusting after Michelle Ryan as Zoe in Eastenders. Needless to say, the whole "boyfriend" thing never really panned out. Shortly after ending the relationship with the guy, I felt like it was about time I told the truth - for some reason I felt that I owed it to my friends. I began coming out. Much to my dismay I lost a few friends, some girls assumed that just because I was a lesbian I was going to fancy all of them. They even resorted to changing in the toilets for P.E. Don't flatter yourselves; I do have standards - thank you. I was even told once I was pretending, as a result of my "not being able to sustain a boy/girl relationship". Some people, including teachers, labelled it as a "phase", or ignored it. But by far the strangest response I received from a select few was that they began flirting with me. They'd glance at me and then blush if I smiled back. I mean, what?? If I'd approached them and made an advance, they would've run a mile! (Honestly, the straight female psyche baffles me sometimes!) On the whole, most of my friends supported me. I was still the same Fran, the only thing I think they found difficult was adjusting their conversations with me; they felt they could no longer talk about "that hot guy from that band" in front of me. The benefit of this? I no longer had to pretend to be interested in him.


Things probably would've been different at a mixed school. The responses I received would have been different; no better, no worse, but I still would've been coming out the closet regardless. I think us queers have accepted (albeit with a struggle) that we're forever going to experience some hostility to our sexuality at some point in our lives, but we just have to be strong. Even if that means endlessly explaining to a straight female friend the benefits of a sex toy over the "real thing" - she never could understand it, try as I might.


If you'd like to read more "coming out experiences" click here for Louise's story: Louise's story

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