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Before I Was Gay

Before I Was Gay

By: Sarah Jones

“I told a friend that I found myself attracted to buxom glamour model Kelly Brook. She replied, ‘You don’t want to kiss her tits do you, Sarah?’”

It's amusing to cast my mind back now to those days before I came out. Those are the days when I had not even come out to myself yet. As a teenager, I had a life-size cardboard cut-out of the siren that be Angelina Jolie at the end of my bed. She watched over me for years, as I slept, dreamed, cried and fantasised about my face in her bosom. Behind her hung and swung my blood-red-coloured punchbag; I loved so very much to hit, punch and kick. I was angry about a lot of things, including living in a predominantly straight world where beautiful girls did not think quite as deep as I'd like. Neither did they burp or fart, and they would invariably always choose a dick over me. 

I gravitated to wearing fat boots with stains from muddy puddles. I wore many shades of dark and would flash my bare, skinny arms, regardless of the season. Heavy weather was best, when the rain poured; my moody face blended in better. Carol Ann Duffy, Jeanette Winterson and Sappho were my favourite writers. I had dog-eared the enchanting pages. I relished all the intimate, deliciously descriptive parts devoted to beautiful women. If I was lucky, they would be making love to other women. Winterson’s words, in particular, ignited a deep passionate fire in my loins. After my literary fix, I would be left with the most terribly sweet ache. I knew to never get too carried away. My little bible lived in my school bag. I was afraid of God then and believed he was watching over me and knew all my depraved, lustful thoughts of feminine curves and flesh. I established, after a while, the discomfort of having a sore fanny was God’s way of telling me I had to give up all this naughty business. 

I disclosed to a close family friend that I found myself attracted to buxom glamour model Kelly Brook. To me she was a goddess, born again to move us all into a state of awe, a case somewhat undermined by the lady’s intellectual prowess, or lack thereof. Said friend and I were crossing Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon: I was masterful at choosing appropriate places and times to bring up emotionally jolting information. She replied, "Well, you don't want to kiss her tits, do you?" I detected a hint of disgust. Yes, of course I did. I am a hot-blooded mammal. Yet I smiled weakly and brushed it off.

She started taking me to a few gay clubs. I was underage, still only fourteen years old. However, I was willing and very eager to have a slice of adult nightlife. The Astoria was as special as I'd hoped. Queens, glitter, sticky floors and sweat. Yet my heart sunk once I spotted the fat, unattractive lesbians punctuating this glorious gay scene. It was pushing me to question: how committed am I, really, to putting my face in a fanny? Presumably I was taken there to show me the reality. There were no goddesses here, except those with dicks under their frocks. 

It wasn't just the potential ridicule of being considered a carpet-muncher and a dyke forever more; I was desperate to appear somewhat normal. I wanted a beautiful girlfriend, who looked like a girl. I wanted her to think for herself and have a curiosity to learn and grow. Which seemed abysmally futile, since the lesbians I encountered were more butch than most men. 

Worthlessness overcame me and I hopped into the bed with older men. Sometimes I felt whorish, without getting paid. I mostly ignored how my heart fluttered every time I saw a beautiful woman. Then, when I was 20, I caught my boyfriend watching porn. The sight of his pale, hairy skin and erect, alien penis made me shudder, and I knew how little I was attracted to him. The following day, I trawled through his computer history. I came across a couple of lesbians, beautiful lesbians, having sex. My body flushed with an all-consuming heat, and I found out I could make myself orgasm, for the very first time. It took all of 30 seconds. I began to visit lesbian porn sites daily, yet still could not face the fact that I was gay. 

Remembering me, lying on a bed, staring at the scruffy ceiling of my therapist’s room. Here, I had the mighty light bulb moment. My therapist loves dreams, so I told her my most frequent: sexual dreams about women. I told her about the porn and the orgasms. I confessed that even the thought of a penis made me ill, but I ignored this while in bed with men; used my imagination, thought of women. Why do you do this? she said. Then it struck. I only wanted to be wanted. Men wanted me. But I wanted women. I am gay. 

So I joined a lesbian dating site. After a day or two, I found a beautiful lady who I’d seen on a similar site eight years before. I was too shy to message back then, but now clicked my way there after a fight with a boyfriend. I rarely received attention online or at gay clubs from women. I felt invisible and unwanted. Yet she saw me. And she was everything I wanted: clever, emotionally intelligent, generous, thoughtful, insightful, gentle, kind, gorgeous, talented and gifted. Not very long after getting to know her I found myself in love and decided to let people know: I announced it on Facebook. 

A rather vulgar, cowardly, modern way of coming out, I'm afraid. But for once, I felt genuinely unconcerned by what anyone might think. My oldest friends said they always knew. Before, I was not brave enough to love myself and choose what I truly wanted. After all the angst, finally it was easy to come out, because I had met someone so special. 

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Want more from Sarah?

Go read her piece on disability. Or Love & Neglect, a survival story.