So, can you just introduce yourself a little bit…
I’m Claire, I’m 20 and I’m waiting to go to University to study Children’s Nursing. I’ve been in a straight relationship for a year and a half and I am now engaged. I was in a relationship with a girl on and off for around two years and our relationship was kept a closely guarded secret from everyone but our closest friends for the majority of that time.
I don’t want to focus too heavily on labels, but I did find it interesting that you described yourself to me prior to this interview as straight, but you have been in a long-term relationship with a girl in the past, why is it that you wouldn’t identify with being bisexual?
I guess to me saying that you’re bi or gay or straight to somebody is like saying who you would be in a relationship with. So I would say I’m straight because I would only now be in a relationship with a guy.
Why would you now only date guys?
Because a lot of the things that I personally want from a relationship, I don’t feel that I could get if I was with a girl.
What sort of things do you want from a relationship that you don’t feel you could get from a gay relationship?
Hmmm. I guess I’m just really traditional and so I want to be in a relationship where there’s a guy to look after me and protect me. And I’d want marriage and kids.
So you wouldn’t feel comfortable marrying or having children with a girl?
I guess a big part of it, is that I’m scared of other people’s reactions….. And having a baby wouldn’t be the same because it doesn’t happen in the same way, it isn’t biologically a part of both of you.
Do you think it would bother you to raise a child as your own that isn’t biologically yours, or is biologically yours but not your partners?
Hmmm, no. I don’t know why it is that [having a child as a gay parent] would bother me; it’s not really something I’ve thought about. I just know that I wouldn’t want that. Maybe I just assume that a child with two female or male parents is set up for pricks to pick on and then if that happened it would be my fault, so maybe I’m just trying to prevent that.
So you would, for example, adopt with a male partner but not with a female?
Yeah, I was having a conversation with my fiancé about adoption yesterday and yeah it’s something that I would do. It’d be nice to be able to provide and be parents to a child that otherwise might not have had parents.
Yeah, I agree. Do you think that gay parents couldn’t provide a secure family for that child?
They could. It’s not that I don’t think that gay parents could provide or care for a child. I just think that you get different things from your Mum and your Dad, so where possible a child should have a male and a female there to be those different things.
What are those things?
I don’t know…
I think that most kids look to the mum for more of the caring side of stuff and then Dads are the ones that are meant to be there to protect. Stuff like that.
You said you would be scared of people’s reaction if you tried to have a traditional future with a girl. Whose reactions would you be scared of? And what sort of reaction do you fear?
Everyone’s. And any bad reaction at all I guess. People having a problem with me being with a girl, or that I’m in a long term commitment with them, or that I’m raising a child with them, I guess there’s a lot of things for people to have a problem with.
Were other people’s opinions and reactions a problem for you when you were in a relationship with a girl?
Nobody knew. I mean, that doesn’t really apply, because I knew that the people that we told wouldn’t have a problem with it, that’s why we told them.
How did it feel for you to keep your relationship a secret?
Did your family know about the relationship?
My cousin knew and apparently my Mum knew.
What were there reactions?
My cousin was fine with it, which I knew she would be which is why I told her. And I don’t know about my Mum because I didn’t know that she knew. I hadn’t told my Mum that I was in a relationship with a girl, because I didn’t know how she’d react to it, and I knew that my dad wouldn’t be happy about it. But when the relationship ended I found out that my Mum had talked to one of my friends about it, and so she had obviously known what was going on. I only found out when I started seeing somebody else, when my friend told me that my Mum had commented that at least she hadn’t had to worry about me getting pregnant when I was with a girl. It pissed me off that I didn’t know that she’d known, because at the time it had worried me wondering what her reaction would be.
How did you know your dad wouldn’t be happy with it?
Because I know his opinions towards being bi or gay, because of things he’d said in the past, just comments he’d made about people.
Do you think hearing negative opinions towards being gay from your dad made you more scared of people having negative reactions to you dating a girl in general?
Yeah. I think hearing negative things from someone related or close to you shows that they wouldn’t support you. So if the people that are meant to support you in whatever circumstances don’t, then why should strangers or people you meet.
Do you have any advice you would give to anyone who was dating a girl but was worried about negative reactions from their family or have family members that they know have homophobic views?
Erm, well in my case, I just stopped dating girls, so I don’t think I’m really the best person to be giving out advice. I never dealt with my situation, so I think that I need the advice!
Ha. Ok, if you could go back, would you change how you dealt with the situation in any way?
Looking back I know that I was meant to end up where I am in my life now, in a relationship with who I’m with. So I wouldn’t go back and tell everyone I was with a girl and have to deal with everyone’s reactions, because I’d know that I wasn’t meant to be with that person.
Do you think society is accepting of gay relationships?
Half and half. I think it’s a Marmite situation, people either have no problem with it at all, or they are really opposed to it.
I like the marmite metaphor. Ok, one last thing, did you have any gay role models?