Luisa Bradshaw-White: I came out as gay by accident06/16/2021
Growing up, it never really crossed my mind that I was gay.
The realisation came when I was around 19 and talking with some new friends. They both said they liked women and without thinking I replied, ‘Ooh yes, me too!’.
I sort of gasped as it was the first time I had even considered that I might not be straight.
I’d never had a serious boyfriend before, but I’d kissed loads of frogs.
So it seemed like a good idea to go and try this ‘gay thing’ out and my friends took me to a lesbian night downstairs at The Box in Soho.
I remember being very nervous – not because of my newly out status – but because my friends told me that if the female bouncers didn’t believe you were gay they made you snog one of them!
I got through the door…
At that point, I was wondering whether I was bisexual and labelled myself as that for all of five minutes before fully embracing my gayness.
As a teenager, I felt like I needed an identity so badly, and up until that moment I always considered myself to be the ‘nuts, eating disorder, mad girl’. While I was strangely comforted by this tagline, it seemed like so much more fun to be gay.
It soon became a core part of who I was and I would go out to gay nights regularly. I would sing my heart out with all the gays at the Piano Bar and danced the night away every Friday at Popstarz Club.
I recall walking past a Wetherspoons one night and feeling so sorry for all the straight people because Candy Bar, the lesbian place I was on my way to, was so much cooler!
It’s crazy that a fleeting conversation with new friends could have had such an impact on my life and I got the best introduction to being a gay person you could ask for. I had huge amounts of fun.
While I was out to have a good time, I knew almost instantly after coming out that all I wanted was to find my true love, settle down and have a family.
That happened 21 years ago, when I was 25.
In true lesbian style, things moved quickly. I found her after going to the opening night of Mamma Mia in London. She was in the cast and I went to see the show. Our eyes met across the room at the after party and I knew, instantly, that she was my love.
Annette came back to mine that first night, never went home, and we got Daisy the dog a few weeks later.
She is my soulmate. With our kids, we all fit together so comfortably and there is such a huge amount of love in the family and respect for each other.
Our children are extremely proud to have two mums; they have always stood up for the gay kids at school and been at the front of the Pride parade.
My parents were quite easy to come out to – they just wanted me to be happy. It took a while for them to get used to the idea that I would never have a boyfriend or husband, but over the years my mum has realised that nothing is any different.
I still have a family, who she loves dearly. And her and my 98-year-old nan adore Nettie.
There is more and more diversity in my family as the younger generation grows up and I am so proud of them for living their truth at such a young age, but also so proud of the older generation in the family who are really learning and growing and allowing the younger ones to freely be themselves.
Family is really important to me, and I think it is important that I represent a family that is extremely loyal, loving, supportive and free.
I saw a slogan the other day that said, ‘if you won’t accept a queer child, don’t become a parent’. It’s spot on.
It is so important that any generation can live their truth and be free. Freedom is everything.
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