Nicola-Stephenson-in-Brookside

I feel pretty confident that I can tell you about every representation of lesbian relationships that I encountered during my youth.

 

I can tell you about that Brookside kiss, even though it’s not in my living memory, because I’d seen the screencap so many times (always accompanied by a word like ‘shocking’ or ‘sexy’) and it’s the only reason I knew who Anna Friel was.

 

I can tell you how much I tried to like The L Word, despite how over-sexualised and generally unrelatable it was to me.

 

I can tell you how it felt to watch Tipping the Velvet in my bedroom in secret, switching channels every so often so the next day I could talk about the programme which was on the other side.

 

I can tell you a lot about Zoe Tate in Emmerdale, from her girlfriend who abandoned her at the altar to the time she was rejected by that nice police officer and everything in between.

 

I can tell you all about all the lady couples in Bad Girls. I can list them in order of my most to least favourite, tell you which characters I wanted to be, which kisses most made me feel like coming out would be worth the risk, how it never occurred to me that all these women were criminals because I was too busy feeling like a kid in a candy shop.

 

I can tell you about the tropes. I can tell you about the girl-on-girl kisses to grab ratings and the almost inevitable disappearance of the storyline afterwards. I can tell you about madwomen and murderers: women who killed for, or even killed, the women they loved. I can tell you about bisexual women who cheated on each other with the same man. I can tell you about women who were abused and loved women and women who were abused for loving women. I can tell you about unrequited love and untimely loss.

 

I can tell you how these representations seeped into my young brain and shaped my expectations of the world.

 

I can tell you that I know that things are getting better, but that there is still a way to go.

 

By Anonymous, LGBT+ Staff Network member

February 22nd, 2016

Posted In: Uncategorized

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