There are certain little memories/ lost feelings that do suddenly come back and actually make a whole load of sense when it finally dawns on you that you are in fact a lesbian
Things like, my keen interest in that very brief Neighbours plot where Sky fancied a girl, how excited I was when a lesbian couple featured in Miss Marple, or just how strangely sharp it felt in year 7 when someone remarked that I was ‘probably a lesbian’, all of a sudden gain context; and you wonder why it’s taken this long for you to acknowledge this huge part of your identity which in hindsight seems glaring obvious.
And even now – after four year of being open about my sexuality – there are still surprising moments where I’m hit with the memory of another long-buried smidge. Particularly, when I do a nostalgic re-watch of old shows or films I really loved during my adolescence.
It’s hilarious really – that realization while sitting through former favourites, that the affinity and strong feelings of admiration I had for certain characters were definitely crushes. So I’ve listed a few fictional ladies who my love for really should have made things click about my sexuality a hell of a lot sooner.
Jules (Bend it Like Beckham)
In school I hated P.E with every fibre of my being, so fancying soccer-babe Jules from Bend it Like Beckhammarks the beginning of a long tradition of developing crushes on ladies who are particularly skilled in an area I’m pretty shit in.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this film. It’s a credit really to what a strong narrative it is, the fact that the least sporty kid ever could still love it, and find themselves caring about soccer for 112 minutes.
Bend it Like Beckham was the then 17 year old, Keira Knightley’s breakout role, and what’s interesting about this crush is that years later, when I was really into Pirates of the Caribbean, I noticed that I didn’t feel the same way about Knightney’s character as I did about Jules – I must’ve loved the character rather than the actress who played her.
Juliette ‘Jules’ Paxton is main character Jess’ best friend who convinces her to join the girls’ football team, and beyond her prowess on the field, what it was that I thought was just great about her was how cool her response is anytime she’s faced with backwards attitudes about female athletes, together with what a supportive influence she is to Jess.
Jane Lane (Daria)
This was a simpler time before the boxset of Daria was out and before you could stream all of it Stan, so I was stuck either watching the few episodes Youtube hadn’t blocked yet or my best friend’s really shite pirated boxset she’d bought from America.
What awkward teenager didn’t wish someone like Jane Lane was in their life? And I was never quite sure whether I wanted to be her or be with someone like her.
She just has so many great qualities – she knows what she’s about, she comes out with endless cynical witticisms, her paintings usually featured zombies, she is essentially what everyone hopes they’d look like when they’re considering getting multiple piercings, the list is endless.
Lisbeth Salander (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Prior to reading the Millennium series when I was 17, I wasn’t a big reader at all. So I do credit Stieg Larrson for turning me into the fervent reader I am today.
But yeah in hindsight most of the series’ charm was due to the crush I had on Lisbeth, given I’d lose interest really fast in every part she wasn’t in. I just loved reading about this strong female character, who had lived through some serious and horrible circumstances but refused to be a victim and if necessary could kick some ass.
I can still remember my favourite quote from the series, ‘don’t ever fight with Lisbeth. Her attitude towards the rest of the world is that if someone threatens her with a gun, she’ll get a bigger gun.’
It is funny thinking about it now – I would fantasize about her, yet it still hadn’t hit me that I might be a lesbian.
Idgie (Fried Green Tomatoes)
Yeah I’m that gay.
So I was pretty young when I first watched Fried Green Tomatoes, and the KKK scene terrified me so much that we had to stop the movie at that point. And even though I’ve only just watched the whole movie in full a few days ago, for a long time I would just fast forward and only watch the scenes with Idgie in them. Shit why is it that there’s such a strong pattern of falling for the best friend of the main character?
As well as her southern accent and how much she can pull off a suave 1930s tom-boy look, what I loved about Imogen ‘Idgie’ Threadgoode was how fearless she was and how she’d be one of those friends who – in a good way – would be a naughty influence on you.
Didn’t everyone fancy Ellen Page though?
When I think of this movie, the first thing I think about is that the quote from Juno’s Dad, ‘find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome what-have-you. The right person is still going to think the sun shines out of your ass’ – it’s just such sage advice.
Anyway as a 15 year old seeing Juno for the first time at the cinema with my Mum (watching the start chair scene was awkward AF), what made me fall hard for pregnant teenager Juno MacGuff – and subsequently start an embarrassing large collection of Ellen Page photos on my laptop – was again how quickly she could fire out witticisms, how unique yet self-assured her character seems and her relationship with Dad and step-mother Brenda – ‘did you by any chance barf in my urn’.
Actually my mum used to say that Ellen Page reminded her of me (which I was always really chuffed to hear), then when I came out I remember Mum saying like this would be a surprise to me ‘Do you know that Ellen Page is gay too?’
Pinpointing what precisely it was that drew me to each of these strong fictional babes, it is surprising how much of a pattern emerges. Clearly my type has long been witty, cool bad-asses who know what they’re about and who are your best friend.