We will be sharing some stories from our volunteers about their life experiences as LGBT+ people. Next up is Katie’s Story:
”My name is Katie and I’m going to tell you about my experience growing up as a lesbian in the 80’s and 90’s. When I was at school the education system was still feeling the affects from section 28 brought in my the late Margaret thatcher so any mention of lgbt awareness was pretty much forbidden at school and homophobic bullying was rife among the pupils and staff. I was verbally and physically bullied everyday right from starting secondary and on several occasions quite badly injured while staff just stood by and watched because on their eyes lgbt plus people deserved everything they got.
My life was pretty much unbearable and there were some very dark times and times I thought I wasn’t going to make to through. I hated my sexuality and turned to the local church and asked the vicar to help me not to be gay anymore. Needless to say it didn’t work.
Despite all this I was very lucky because my family were always very supportive of me and in fact it was my mum who helped me come out properly when she sat me down aged 15 and said so when are u going to tell me Your gay to which I reply don’t be so ridiculous and went and got a boyfriend just to prove her wrong.
Everything changed for the better some years After leaving college when I met a friend through work called Steve who was gay and we became firm friends. I slowly started to explore the London gay scene and every Sunday night myself Steve his boyfriend mark and a group Of friends would go to the Queen Anne which was a local Gay pub in Maidstone. During this time I also had counselling through a local lgbt charity called the metro in Greenwich and I started learning to accept my sexuality, be proud of It and be comfortable in my own skin. My experiences have certain left their mark and I still lack some confidence and it’s take me many years to rebuild My faith and trust in people and improve my self esteem but there’s a will there’s a way. This is why I want to share my story and why charities like say it are so vital. They represent hope and can be that life belt that our young people need to keep them safe during the storms of life. To anyone lgbt plus young people who Are reading this who are being bullied because of their sexuality or sexual identity my message to You is a simple one. Don’t give up Hope. You are all beautiful individuals inside and out who deserve love, respect and happiness. Reach out and speak up because u deserve all the support that say it, friends, family or your school can give you. Don’t suffer in silence. The world has changed so much since I was at school and it’s still Changing. I really believe one day no one will be bullied because of the sexuality, gender or identity. We must all Remain strong and fight for that brighter future and always remember that where there is life, light and love there is hope.”
Katie, SAYiT Volunteer, 2021