CG-4462.jpg

Chloe

 

Chloe

 
 

The most important references for me now are other women and humans in my life. My relationships. I learn a lot from culture but my touch points are my friends. It’s a more realistic way to live, right?

 
 

Growing up, I had the most unqueer, queer life. It was a feeling that came from within me. A lot of my friends talk about having massive crushes on people from TV, or having contraband videos of The L Word passed around class - that wasn’t my experience at all. I had no-one to pass it to. I didn’t have a community or people to offer me that insight. That internalised shame and the idea of queerness being for men’s sexual enjoyment really stayed with me. But I think I was hungry for gay culture. There was something in me that clearly understood the injustice of homophobia. Things like Sex in the City, and Friends, which were pillars of my youth, are so homophobic. Watching them back you see that being queer is definitely not okay in these shows. Carol and Susan were the only ‘normal’ lesbian couple I saw on TV, and they’re such punchlines and totally desexualised. I’m now watching The L Word, and seeing all this stuff for the first time as a fully-fledged, queer 28 year old. I just wish I’d been exposed to it a lot sooner

 
 
 

I grew up in an ex-council house, on a council estate, with parents who were relatively low-income and benefitted from tax breaks - and that existence for me was a very proud one, as well as a struggle. Yet there’s such a strong narrative about poor people and people on benefits that I still have to check myself over my perceptions of people who’ve come upon tough times.

If this is my own story, and my own experience, and yet I’m still prejudiced against people who have been through stuff similar to my family, what does that say about the media narrative around working-class people?

And what does that say about our own ability to forgoe our logic and experience to be overcome by the way that images are given to us, and the way the media shapes our perception? That’s an experience I’ve had with internalised homophobia. We doubt and shame ourselves. We feel disgusting, unsure and wrong, because we’re told we are. I have that experience with sexuality, class, and with being a woman. It’s all based on what we’re told about ourselves.

LM-21.jpg
 
 
 

The most recent really relevant thing I’ve seen was the Bisexual on Channel 4. I wish that had come out 10 years ago. It feels very real and natural, and shines a bit of a light on the difficult part of our community where there is prejudice against people who aren’t monosexual. What is it about women who are gay or queer, kissing dudes that offends queer women and lesbians so much? Does it feel like disloyalty to the community or cause? There’s a weird preference for monosexuality and ‘picking a side’. I feel that’s one of the real contradictions within the movement and community. If you identify as a gay woman, you’ve had so much sh*t thrown at you. You’ve had to overcome so much after being put into a box by an aggressively hetero culture. When you make peace with that, why force or enforce boxes on other people, when you’ve felt how hard it is to be in that situation? Anyone who’s not straight is on the same team.

We all face oppression and discrimination, and have that struggle of being a non-straight person in a hetero world.

Can’t we just bandy together and decide this family is wide, and diverse, and wonderful?

 
 
 

You can follow Chloe on Twitter and Instagram.


Chloe is one of the five founding members of
The LOL Word, a London-based queer collective who run inclusive comedy nights across the UK which prove that you don’t have to punch down to be funny. An absolute oasis in and disruption of an industry that’s deeply problematic. I’d definitely recommend hitting a show.