Updated: Sep 1, 2019
This year was my third year attending Nottingham Pride. It rained pretty much all day so we were drenched during the parade but, it was still an amazing day. We had far too many cocktails and I was absolutely dying the next day. Well worth it though.
I attended my first Pride Parade in July 2017. Pride is quite special to me, it makes me realise how far I have come over the last 2/3 years.
Before that, I met Lauren (my girlfriend) through work. To cut a verrrry long story short, we became really close in such a short space of time. It got to the point where we were spending every spare moment either together or texting. We were closer than 'just being friends' but didn't have a label on what it actually was.
It was quite hard for me to get my head around things. Looking back, it was pretty rough. In the back of my mind, I knew I liked girls but I was too scared and almost embarrassed to admit it. I think it was difficult for me because I didn't really know how to deal with it all. I thought I was 'straight', but I felt a type of way towards another female.. It was all very confusing.
A few months after Pride, I had asked Lauren to be my girlfriend. Rather than telling people individually and officially 'come out', I just updated my Facebook relationship status and let people find out that way. My best friends were so supportive, but not very surprised! My dad's reaction was the funniest. I wasn't living with either of my parents and he lives 160 miles away, so the only way I could tell him was by phone. My emotions were all over the place. I was happy to tell him but so worried about his reaction. As soon as I told him, he just said "well, it's about time!". I think he always knew that day would come, aha! Both of my parents absolutely adore Lauren and I'm super close with her family, it literally warms my heart.
I think a lot of people struggled to understand that I was in a relationship with a girl. I had been with guys before so they automatically assumed that I was straight. As awful as it is, stereotypically, I do not look like a lesbian. I'm not too sure where these stereotypes have originated from or why they exist, but it made me feel awful. I genuinely felt like I had to look a certain type of way so that I wasn't judged. It did take me a very long time to realise that I didn't need to dress or look differently to be socially accepted. It has almost been two years since I fully came to terms with who I actually am and I'm finally at a stage where I am 100% comfortable and confident in myself.