Behind the Rainbow: Katie

My name is Katie.
I am from London ish. I grow up partly in Romford and partly in Mitcham and then I left London when I was 18.
I went to University in Warwick and lived in Coventry for six years. And then I lived in Cornwall for two years. I moved in there with my ex girlfriend. I had this idyllic picture of living in the country side and doing loads of writing and being inspired but I had a job where I was driving a lot and on the road a lot and so, connecting to the country side, it didn’t happen. There wasn’t enough there for me plus the relationship ended and I just thought: it’s the time for me to go back to London.
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When I came back to London I said to myself: “One thing that I want to do when I’m here is get a gay social life”, cause I didn’t have that. So I thought I like sports, so I decided to look up gay sports teams. I found a softball club. That was my first door opened in the gay community.
I started to really understand and I’m still learning what an LGBTQ community means. How important it is and how important the place of that kind of community is to people who don’t have access to LGBTQ life anywhere else.
3411I realised I fancied women when I was about 14. Once I realised, I was like: ok, this is alright. I didn’t have a problem with this but I understood that other people might have a problem so I didn’t tell anyone for quite a long time. I wasn’t ready to talk about it either.
When I was 16 I started to tell some people. My friends gave me a really safe space. I was very lucky. They took me for who I was.
I told to a couple of teachers. My mum. Mum… mum didn’t have a problem with it but at the time I think she thought “I wish you weren’t”. Now it’s not a problem at all. It was just a shock to her. She needed some time to adjust and process but that was cool. She had her time and then she was fine about it. My parents always have been supportive with me and my siblings. Finding our own path. Making our own decisions.
My grandparents… they were the hardest because they were just… my grandma was obsessed with when I would get a boyfriend… classic grandma. So having to cover that up, that was the hardest. Especially when I had a girlfriend. Eventually I told them. They accepted it straight away.
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At one point my life got bad cause I got cancer. I was married at that time. I don’t have a lot of good things to say about this relationship. Towards the end it became… I guess what people call “emotional abuse”. When something like cancer happens to you and you survive it you make decisions about choosing happiness in your life.
So I left and this was two years ago and we are now divorced. I came out better than when I started. I am managing my time and my schedule and putting my health first so… after a lot of stress… I come out alright in the end. If I didn’t have cancer and hadn’t left my marriage, definitely I wouldn’t be in this place now. It inspired me to take the decision to pursue my creative side which is writing.

I am proud I have such amazing people in my life. We have been in and out but we have cultivated incredible friendship. I have so much love in my life. I am proud of putting myself first in the last two years. I am proud I am doing my writing now and it’s starting to get traction so It’s a long process. Anything creative tends to be long, writing in particular. Things don’t happen overnight. Persistence and perseverance are really important. I understand that in a way I never did before.

Behind the Rainbow: La Cher

I am La Cher from U.S. I am in London because It’s my destiny to be here.
When I was 16 years old someone said “La Cher, based on your personality and who you are, you would like to come to London to visit and live” and I just remember thinking I’ve got to go over there but at that time I just never did it.

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I moved now because it was meant to come now. I just said to my kids: “In three weeks I’m leaving!” I put my house on the market, sold my motorcycle, and my father who was my biggest connection, and I was worried to leave him, he passed away a couple of weeks ago, which confirmed even more that it was meant for me to come because there was nothing really for me to worry any more. Everything worked out for me to get here.

I am a certified personal trainer. I know how good it feels to go to the gym to workout, to exercise. I know how it can dig you out of depression. I know how it can make you feel so much better about yourself, and why not be able to show other people that? This is why I got the qualification for personal trainer.

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When I was young I felt attraction for females. I would probably go back as far as my teens. But society is man and woman, man and woman. So you get brain washed. You try to make it work but you are never happy.
I realised that I was being who I thought other people want me to be. Two years ago I actually came out. I released the inner woman to inner me and that was the most beautiful thing in the world. I found true happiness. I was free to be me.

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A friend from the gym where I was working gave me a card cause I was leaving to come to London. On this card there was this rainbow. She didn’t know about me being lesbian and inside the card she wrote this nice message “I wish the best on your journey. It was great working out with you” and at the bottom of the card “P.S. Your father will always be with you. You will always be daddy’s little girl”. I never told her my father always called me daddy’s little girl.

That card was from my father. You can’t tell me no different! So he knew about me being lesbian and he was telling me that he was always going to be with me and I will always be his little girl.

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“They want to have sex with all their gender”. That’s what people think when people are gay or lesbian. It doesn’t mean that. I look at you but I’m not attracted to you. I still have preferences. That’s people’s mentality. We have to change that. Hopefully.

Everyone in the world wants to be accepted for who they truly are, but we hide parts of us and we put stuff down because of society, family and friends telling us “You’re wrong. You shouldn’t do that” or “Something is wrong with you. You are strange. You are weird”. But things are only weird when people don’t understand things. Once you understand something you get rid of depression. You feel better. It doesn’t mean you have to accept it, but understand it.

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If you try to hurt my heart it means my heart is not for you and it’s ok. It’s not a big deal. When it comes to love you don’t need to ask “Do you love me?” You do know if that person loves you. You don’t have to ask that. We try so hard to hold onto something we want but it’s probably not what we need. So just let it go. If it’s meant to be, it will be. Whoever happens to come in my heart is going to be an amazing personality because you know…I become amazing. Took me a long time to get here, but I’m here.

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It’s ok to be who you are. Don’t worry about what people say. People look and stare and say shit about you even if you are doing what you are supposed to do. That’s what people are. So at least be happy by doing what the hell you love to do because people are going to talk regardless. My motto is…I’m free to be me!