Do you identify as a queer woman?

 
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1. How old are you?

2. How do you identify? If you do not formally identify as anything, that's okay! Sexuality is confusing and it takes many of us a long time to work it all out. Equally, if you are certain of your orientation but do not wish to identify as anything, that's okay too! Regardless, please describe to me how you feel about your sexuality and how you would describe it at this moment in time. If your identity has changed somewhat over the years, then please describe this below, too.

3. How old were you when you realised that you felt a little bit different? From a young age, I know that I felt different in some way, but I couldn't put my finger on what it was that was different about me. I only realised the reason why I had felt different for all those years when I was much, much older! If you didn't ever feel "different" as such, and was always confident in your identity, then please describe to me the first time that you thought: "I am queer".

4. Please describe your experience growing up queer to me. What was your childhood like? What was your experience at school like? Were you ever singled out or bullied for who you were?

5. Coming out is often seen as a milestone by much of society. However, I don't believe that this is the case. Whilst it's refreshing to have this secret lifted from you, I don't believe that this defines your experience as an LGBTQ+ citizen. Being queer is much more than just coming out. If anything, coming out to yourself first and feeling comfortable in your own skin is much more important than telling the world how you feel. Sexuality is an awkward thing to talk about, especially with your family. So, if you have come out, when did you come out? What sort of reaction did you receive? If you have come out, are you glad that you did? Has it altered your experience as a queer person?

6. This question is aimed at the older queer women I am interviewing. If you are too young to be able to answer this question, then please skip this one! Alternatively, if you think you could answer this from an outsider's perspective and give an opinion on past attitudes to LGBTQ+ issues, then please do. How was your experience coming out or growing up queer in a world which was much more conservative than it is now? Please describe, as best you can, society's overall perception of queer women at the time you grew up and/or came out. Were you involved in any queer liberation groups? Did you protest? Please list details below.

7.This question is about mental health. If this triggers some upsetting experiences, then please, please don't read this question and don't answer it. I want everyone to feel as comfortable as possible. Have you ever had any struggles with mental health? Do you feel this is directly related to your identity as a queer person? If so, what is the link between your identity and your mental health? If you have not suffered from any mental health problems, please feel free to give an opinion on mental health issues within the LGBTQ+ community. Do you feel there is a direct link between the two? How do you think we can resolve this if you believe there to be a link?

8. Many lesbians/gay women/women that are attracted to other women have not exclusively dated women throughout their lives. Many initially dated men (I know I did!). Of course, bisexual and pansexual people are attracted to both their own gender and other genders. If you identify as bisexual or pansexual, then please skip this question. So, if you identify as a lesbian/gay woman, have ever been in a relationship with a person of the opposite sex? Can you please describe this relationship? What was the dynamic of said relationship? Did it make you realise that you were queer? If you have always exclusively dated other women, please describe how you feel this defines your experience as a queer person.

9. The LGBTQ+ community has come so far and we have achieved so much. We have broken down many barriers and facilitated the cause for greater equality. However, there is still much to do. Please outline the way you feel British society perceives the LGBTQ+ community now. If you feel that you need to differentiate between different groups of people, i.e. Socialists and Conservatives, various religious groups, then please do as opinions will not be universal throughout society. What is the most important point that you want society to recognise about the LGBTQ+ community?

10. Leeds is a very welcoming city and is full of LGBTQ+ groups and spaces. Please describe your experience as a queer person in Leeds. Have you joined any LGBTQ+ groups? Have you visited any queer social spaces, i.e. clubs, bars? Have you attended Leeds Pride (or any other Pride demonstration/festival, for that matter)?

Please use the space below to add anything else you wish to say. Equally, if you have any comments on the project itself then add these too! 

You can email your answers to: editor@freedomquarter.com or en16en@leeds.ac.uk

 
Editor