Wow. What a summer… Like many of life’s beginnings, my summer began with an ending. The end of a relationship. All of the usual cliches applied. It had been coming for a couple of months/if only she accepted this/didn’t react like that/we hadn’t rushed in/I had been more assertive… it would have been perfect. But she didn’t, she did, we had and I hadn’t. So I found myself faced with the decision of whether or not to attend a weekend lesbian music festival that we’d planned to attend together, by myself. Possibly bumpng into said ex. Then I got an ear infection. That burst my eardrum. Making me bleed from the ear. In the early hours of the day I was due to go… So I found myself, somewhat inexplicably, standing outside The London Dungeon on Friday 17th June, attempting to guide a woman I’d never met before, towards me via the power of mobile communications technology, so that we could travel to the festival in Kent together. Wait. Did I mention the singles group? Forgot that bit. So when deciding whether or not to go to GoGo (said festival) I joined a ‘singles group’ on Facebook. This group was designed for people going to the festival alone and was paired with an area of the campsite set aside for such women so that we could make connections beforehand and meet up once there. I figured I could always go home if it was crap/my ex was there/I felt like a complete lonely loser… So I met my first GoGo girl outside London Bridge and my second when I threw my tent and campbed at her (unintentionally) on the platform inside. These two women were the start of the biggest snowball of friendship that has ever gathered momentum in one weekend in my life.

Since GoGo (June 17th – 20th), today (October 7th) is the beginning of only the second weekend during which I won’t be spending time with GoGo girls. What a summer. Romances, Prides, tattoos, piercings, new friendships, testing times for old ones, camping trips, innumerable nights out, Oktoberfest… and that’s just me. You should see what the other girls have been up to…

It has been a whirlwind and it has been one of my favourite summers. Why? Because it is exactly the sort of summer I should have had when I came out four years ago. To mix with like-minded women and talk to people who understand the dynamics of a lesbian relationship, to share in jokes about U Haul and cats, to be able to go to local gay bars and cafes and bump into familiar faces with welcoming smiles, to be able to freely and confidently chat someone up and recieve similar attention in return, to have silly summer snogs and significant sun-drenched chats, to realise that my experience is unique to me but that it is a positive thing that has shaped who I am and that everyone has a unique story, not that the rest of the lesbian world share a common ‘induction’ that I missed. The breadth of experience that I have encountered this summer has made me realise that there is no
right or wrong way to come out, be gay, no identikit lesbian image or story. I have exited summer with more confidence and self-assurance than I entered it with and, just as importantly, my social circle is now much more reflective of my lifestyle and my interests. I have forged friendships that I hope and envisage will see me through many summers to come and most of the people I have met have left an imprint on me.

To anyone who is struggling, newly out, still in the closet, feeling low, self-doubting, whatever the circumstances, I just want to confirm the message that became a viral phenomenon this summer – it gets better. But you have to come to the community, then it will envelope you with it’s open, welcome arms and you will feel like you’ve come home. It gets better. Nothing like a field full of fit lesbians helps confirm that.

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