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LBGT+ History Month - Personal Perspectives - Kimberleigh Parsons

Posted on February 2021

Girl smiling to camera with quote its only love

1. Tell me a bit about yourself and your background?

My background is quite sporty. When I grew up my life revolved around football. I played a lot of football with my local team and had tryouts to get a scholarship in America to take it further. Unfortunately, it was at a time when I was growing up probably quicker than I should have been and my life revolved around, ironically, lads and then alcohol. So, I was partying hard and derailed most of what I wanted to do. So, by the age of 18 I moved to Devon to escape friends who had gone down the wrong path. I spent 3 years there then moved back and worked in a care home. At that time, I was with my then boyfriend, when I met Petra. We went on a night out and just instantly clicked. And that was when all my 22 years of life as I knew it changed massively. I ended up leaving my boyfriend even though we had our whole lives planned together, for Petra.

I’ve always been open-minded. Not necessarily with regards to sexuality, but I was always open in accepting anything and everything. I’ve always been more of a lads’ girl. Of course, I had girlfriends, but I didn’t look at them in a different way. And I still don’t. I respect people’s beauty whether it’s male or female, I can appreciate that. However, if something bad ever did happen to me and Petra, hopefully not. Would I go back to dating guys? I don’t think so.

People have misconceptions though, like you have had issues or something but it’s not like that at all, it just happened! It’s a different kind of love. It’s a different kind of mutual understanding.

2. Why do you think it’s important to celebrate LGBT+ history month.

I think it’s massively important. Being the way I am, the way I feel about someone, I am still scared to walk down the street sometimes and hold her hand. Whereas if Petra were a male, no-one would double take or have anything to say. But the minute you walk hand in hand with someone who is the same sex as you, you will get a response even by someone’s facial expressions, just by them turning their head to have a look. With that, the history of our pride, what we stand for, it needs to be shown just how much people go through for an everyday experience. It’s just love. It’s not as if we’re asking for something out of this world. In some places it’s still frowned upon massively but even in the UK, which is “accepting” in the fact you can get married, there is still so much homophobia. They don’t have to be an ally or make out they are someone they are not. It is having that response of not being rude. We don’t need them to raise a flag, we just need them to not burn the flag so to speak…don’t rain on our parade.

There are so many people who are now coming out. I don’t want to talk too much on the negative, but I have seen a lot of bad comments on social media. LGBT history is being highlighted and people are saying we should not be teaching children this, there is so much hatred. It’s definitely ruffled some feathers yet if only it could just be accepted as love. I will never understand, how people can have so much hatred for something they aren’t a part of.

3. Who has been an inspiration for you on a personal note?

My mum, she’s always been a personal inspiration to me. She has been through hell and back, she has raised me and my two sisters the best she possibly could even when facing her own personal demons.

My sister came out as gay, before me, and I was a bit like huh how do I do it now? I saw how my mum had reacted and she did say things in front of me to my stepdad which displayed her internalized homophobia, she said nasty things about my sister being gay. Then it came to my turn, where I had met Petra and my life took a change and I was like I can’t tell her, and I never actually had that sit down conversation with her. So, the reason why I admire her is because she knew what I was going through, and although we didn’t have that big sit down, she, in more ways than one told me that it was okay and that she was still there for me. She fully embraces Petra now. So, if she can change, going through all she has been through and having the views she had, it gives me hope that other people can as well.

4. Are there any unknown, untold or underrated person or story that you think everyone should know about?

Marsha P Johnson. People don’t understand how far back this goes. She took a stand, being both trans and black in the 60 and 70’s at a time when being gay was classified as a mental illness in the United States. She stood for what she believed in while being true to herself and without her we wouldn’t have the society we have today with LGBTQIA+ rights. We needed that one person that was brave enough to come forward. I don’t think people fully know the extent of history and how we should be proud of this society becoming one. People need to know her name. I had to do my research when I was coming out –I felt that I didn’t know any history, it intrigued me to know. I knew that people had gone through hell. I remember meeting this older couple and the conversation turned to me having just come out and them both saying you have no idea what we have been through. Now we have the ability to be out and proud and yet they had to hide their relationship for multiple years and were abandoned by the people who were meant to love and protect them. That to me speaks volumes as to why as a community we have to talk about this. I don’t want to be that person that pushes it down people’s throats, as I don’t believe that works. But it needs to be put out there so people do see it, and understand it. I think knowing history helps move forward as well stopping the silly questions and stupid remarks. I’ve had off the cuff comments from individuals in the past and I know it’s from ignorance.

5. If you could go back and talk to 15 year old Kim what would you tell her?

I wouldn’t change what I’ve done but I would definitely tell her to embrace who I am more, be more loving and more accepting of my whole self. Love myself how I deserve to be loved. Also, I’d tell her it’s not as scary as you think it is. There are so many people going through the same thing. That voice of someone who’s been through it, will help you though and to move forward. Above everything, just be happy, and be true to yourself – no matter what anyone says if you are happy you’re already winning.

6. Name five other people you could invite to your LGBT history month dinner party – who would you choose.

RuPaul - Because he dresses so fly and I’m in love with him.

P!nk - Although she isn’t gay she’s still a massive part of the community. Everyone looks up to her

Hayley Kiyoko - She’s a singer. She’s not a proper head turner but confidence is key for sure.

Alan Carr - He is hilarious so we need him there for the giggle.

Petra - My girlfriend /partner.