Interview with Becky, 18-19, White British, middle class, no religion. Women, Risk and AIDS Project, London, 1989. Anonymised version including field notes. (Ref: LSFS2)
Anonymised transcript of interview with Becky, who moved to London from Lincolnshire about nine months ago. She has been in a couple of relationships with women, and has been with her current girlfriend for six months or so. Becky has really enjoyed her time in London, especially with how comfortable she feels in the gay nightclubbing scene - she didn't feel as if she could easily come out at home, but now lives with three other lesbians. Her family have been quite supportive of her, other than her dad who she is no longer in contact with. She had attempted heterosexual relationships in the past, but had a natural aversion to them. Becky doesn't feel as if she at any risk of AIDS and recognises that lesbians are a low risk group, but she didn't have any formal education around it. She is aware of it as a social issue, and thinks that it is being taken seriously, especially within the gay community. There seems to be a divide between the current and older generation in how they are managing the risk.
Reanimating Data Project
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Q. I thought that, I mean, we could start with just what relationships are important to
you? If you had to say, kind of, your relationships with say your family or women friends,
men friends. What do you think are the most important?
A. The most important, I would say, is my family. We are a very close family and it
always will be important to me, mainly my Mum, not my Dad at all because I don’t really
have anything to do with him at all. My mum and my older sister and my younger
brother. Because, I've got an older brother but he's mentally handicapped, so I don’t
seem him that much, because he lives in a special village up in NORTHERN
ENGLAND, so I don’t see him.
A. Yes, do you know it?, yes.
Q. A friend of a friend of mine...
A. It’s a lovely place up there, it really is. Yes, so, I'm still really close to JACK as well.
Yes, my family is very important to me and
Q. How many of you are there?
A. There's four of us, two girls and two boys.
Q. Because I noticed you said you lived with your older sister.
A. Yes, DEBBIE. My younger brother SCOTT, who lives with my Mum, and JACK's
away. Friends are very important, and my girlfriends are very important. So, most of my
close friends from school I don’t see a lot, one of my very close friends from school I live
with at the moment, but we're not that close any more because her girlfriend, she had a
girlfriend about six months ago and then she went over to EUROPEAN COUNTRY
because she's EUROPEAN and she went back there, but she's come back now and
AMY, my friend, changed a lot and doesn’t really want much to do with anyone, really. I
think she's sort of clinging to FELICITY, her girlfriend, and doesn’t really want much to
do with anyone else, so yes, I just don’t understand her actually. So, we are not really
that close anymore.
Q. It’s sort of rejecting the familiar?
A. Yes, oh yes, because I went to school with her since I was 13, 14 so we've always
been close, but it’s just got to a really bad state at the moment. And all my other close
friends are sort of scattered around the country really because they all went off to
different polys and I don’t think any of them are in London apart from me. So, but I've
made lots of new friends since I've been here.
Q. Are you from London or?
A. No, Lincolnshire.
A. Horrible place. Have you ever been there?
Q. I've been through it, but I don’t know it very well.
A. It’s nice to grow up in because it’s very quiet and sort of, I don’t know, it’s alright for
kids, small kids, but when you get to about 16, 17, there’s just not enough there to keep
you interested. I couldn't wait to leave. I left when I was 18, it was last June when I
Q. So you've been down here about 9 months?
A. Yes. Not long really.
Q. As you said, you've made quite a lot of friends down here?
A. Yes, yes I did, because when I first came down here I moved straight in with AMY
who was down here already at poly and I met lots of her friends and we went to clubs
and everything, and I met lots of different people like that, really. It was quite good
having her down here and my sister was down here as well, because she was at
college, so it was OK.
Q. And does your girlfriend live in the same place as you?
A. No. She lives in SOUTH EAST LONDON.
Q. That’s a bit of a trek?
A. Yes. But I spend most of my time there anyway because there's five of us in our flat,
and it’s only a small two bedroom flat so it’s a bit crowded. So I tend to spend most of
my time down the road with her, rather than bring another person into our flat which is
Q. So how long have you known her?
A. About just over six months. Yes, last October.
Q. How did you meet?
A. I met her through my ex-girlfriend. I started going out with someone in, I think it was
July, it wasn't long after I came down here, I met someone through AMY and ...... and I
went out with her for about 2 months I think, and then we split up and she ended up
going into hospital. She had MEDICAL ISSUES and I went, because we had only just
split up, and I spent a lot of my time in hospital going to see her and my girlfriend now,
LINDA, she knew JOSIE vaguely and she came to visit her and we met there in
hospital, and then she came to visit JOSIE a couple of times at home because I went
and stayed with JOSIE after she came out of hospital because she couldn't do a lot after
having a big operation, and I went to stay with her to help her and LINDA came round a
couple of times and I started going out to a nightclub with a group of them and we
ended up talking, and I asked her to go out for a drink with me and she said yes.
Q. And that was it?
A. Yes. And we split up actually over Christmas because LINDA, before she met me
she went out with someone for three years like, as soon as she came out when she was
18, she went out with someone and it didn't finish up until September, so it’s been
nearly 3 years and she had a bit of a bad time with her ex-girlfriend, so. And I think it
was all a bit too soon meeting someone else, going straight from one relationship to
another and we split up over Christmas because she wasn't, she didn't really know
whether, if she wanted to get involved, sort of, you know, think it over, and then we got
back together again in February.
Q. And it’s been alright?
A. Yes, it’s a lot better now, I think. The way she sees it is that she needed some time to
feel single, and feel that she could be single and sort of manage on her own without,
you know, feeling attached to someone. She needed that time to know that she could
be like that and once she knew then she felt alright about getting into another
relationship and I mean, all the time that we split up we saw each other because I didn't
want to split up, I wanted us to get back together but she wanted us still to be friends, so
we saw each other and we saw each other quite a lot and a lot of the time we ended up
sleeping with each other which was a bit of a mistake, and in the end it just got better
and better really. We got more and more close and she ended up saying, "I don’t want
you to find someone else, I want us to be having a relationship", so we did.
Q. So in a way splitting up made you actually closer than you were before?
A. Yes, I definitely think it did. It was good for her really, I mean, I didn't want it at all, but
I think she needed it.
Q. It must have been upsetting for you at the time?
A. Oh yes. It was just before Christmas, it wasn't very nice at all but.
Q. Because you said something, you wrote that things had changed so much in the past
two years, or so many things had happened to you?
A. Yes, because there’s like coming down to London and coming out really, because
Lincolnshire is very, you know, I was very unhappy there because I couldn't be myself
or anything. Since I came down to London everything has completely changed, and I
started to go out to gay clubs and everything.
Q. Would you have come out in Lincolnshire when you were at home?
A. No, not at all. My Mum, my parents knew, my Mum, not my Dad and my sister knew,
but none of my friends in Lincolnshire knew. AMY knew down here in London but
nobody else. I mean my Mum and my sister were really lovely about it and I think they
wanted me to come to London just to see if it was what I really wanted, because I knew
I couldn't be happy in Lincolnshire as I was.
Q. How old were you when you realised it?
A. I think it hit me really when I was about 16 because I ended up falling in love with one
of my friends who was,... She hadn't always been my friend, I met her when I was about
16, she was in .... at school and I spent about a year and a half going through, you
Q. Without her knowing?
A. Yes, oh definitely. I couldn’t tell her at all. She had boyfriends and all that and I just
went through a lot, sort of. I had a bit of depression and I failed my 'A' levels at school,
and I was really unhappy.
Q. What, related to ..?
A. Yes. I used to get so jealous because she had got boyfriends and sometimes it would
be "I can’t go out with you tonight BECKY, I'm going out with so and so", and I used to
think, oh God, you know, I used to get really jealous. I felt really rejected.
Q. Which presumably she wouldn't understand at all. She was off with her boyfriend and
that was totally comprehensible and that’s what you did?
A. Yes, I don’t think she realised at all. She thought she'd got a really possessive friend
but all the time I was at school actually, because AMY and I went to the same school,
neither of us knew that we were both gay and it didn't come out until she had moved to
London and she came out. And she rang me up one night and told me over the phone
and I said, "well actually". Yes, it was quite funny.
Q. Did you ever go out with boys?
A. Yes. I think I forced myself to really because I felt I had to. Everyone else did it so,
you know, so if I wanted to fit in. I never had a serious relationship with a boy. I've never
been out with anyone longer than about a month. ... I had some close friends who were
boys that I really got on with.
Q. But not as boyfriends?
A. No. No, I've never slept with a man.
Q. So you've never had a sexual relationship?
A. No, I never wanted to. The thought of it turns me off completely. But some of my
friends now, one friend I've had for a long time from school, one of my closest friends,
HUGO, I went out with him actually. I was really close to him for ages, throughout my
later years of school from when I was about 14, 15, and he had a steady girlfriend who
he'd been going out with for ages and he always said how much he really loved me, and
he thought I was wonderful and he ended up finishing with her and we ended up sort of
getting together, but it lasted about 2 weeks. It was a complete disaster. I think it was
just a mistake, you know, what we felt for each other was just friendship and we mistook
it for something else. And he wanted to sleep with me and I didn’t want it at all. I couldn't
take it. But we ended up good friends and I still see him now.
Q. Did you feel you couldn't sleep with boys because of how you felt about other girls,
other women or was it just sort of a natural repulse?
A. It was more a natural repulse, I think. I just didn't want to. I didn't have any desire, I
didn't fancy blokes or anything, and I did women. I mean, I've always had little crushes
on, you know, all the way through my teenage years and then when I went out with
men, I just didn’t want to sleep with them, I didn’t want anything sexual to do with them
really. And I always thought what it would be like to sleep with women, but I stayed
Q. So when did you actually sleep with a woman?
A. It was when I came down to London. My first girlfriend, I've only had two girlfriends,
JOSIE first, then LINDA and so it was, I think it was about 3 or 4 weeks after I came
down to London and I had been seeing her for about 2 weeks or something and I think, I
don’t know, I was really curious, I wanted to a lot, I did, but I did fancy JOSIE and we
got on really well and it went alright, you know. I was so nervous, but it was lovely, and
when I had done it I knew that that was what I wanted to do.
Q. So did it fulfil you?
A. Yes. Yes, it did. It felt alright, quite natural. I was quite happy and pleased.
Q. All the people in your flat, are they gay as well?
A. No. My sister isn't. My elder sister isn't but then there's AMY who is and her girlfriend,
and EMMA, who's at college with AMY, she is as well. So, its 90% of us.
Q. So it’s just your sister who isn't?
A. Yes. She's got a boyfriend in the MILITARY SERVICES, but she’s, she comes down
to clubs with us and everything, she's really lovely.
Q. What do you do, sort of, in going out to clubs, in terms of going to clubs and pubs?
A. If I go to a club I don’t know whether you've heard of The Bell at Kings Cross, that’s
where we usually go, its open every night of the week and that’s where most of my
friends go, so it’s a place you can go down there and see someone you know. In
Camden there's Heads on a Sunday night, I go down there, but a lot of the time LINDA
and I will just go to a pub. A lot of the time we go to straight pubs down in the Elephant
and Castle. There's not many gay pubs round there. We just, like, sit in a quiet part just
being able to chat and then we go to pubs down there, or we come up to Camden and
go down there, there’s the Black Cat. We go out to the cinema, not very often because I
have trouble affording it, yes it’s so expensive, but we try sort of, we don’t go out that
much actually, a lot of the time we tend to stay in, or we have friends round to dinner or
we go to someone's house for dinner.
Q. So do you spend most of your time with other women?
A. Either with LINDA,... I spend most of my time with LINDA basically, all the time I have
apart from working or being at college, I spend with LINDA, so it’s every night really, it is
now. It didn't used to be before we split up because she used to want her own space,
she had to have sort of a couple of nights to herself, but she feels differently now. We
spend just about every night together now, and so I spend most of my time with her but
if we go out it’s usually to meet other women. I spend most of my time in the company
of women because I live with them. Yes, it is really. Most of the people I work with are
women from the playground, so.
Q. So in the context of, you know like I was saying part of the study’s to do with people’s
attitudes to AIDS and having learnt about it and what they think about it, do you feel that
it doesn't really apply to you, or do you think that there is still something that is relevant
A. I don’t know. I don’t really feel that it applies to me a lot. Because I don’t, to be
honest I don’t really know a lot about it sort of regarding lesbians, you know. I know that
we are the lowest risk group and all that and I don’t think it really affects me that much. I
will talk about it with my sister DEBBIE because she sleeps with men and we will talk
about it and whether she takes precautions and all that, and I do come into contact with
talking about it but really I don’t feel it affects me personally a lot.
Q. Yes because presumably at the moment, I mean has LINDA had relationships with
A. No. She's never slept with men, so I think we both feel quite happy about that. It’s
good really that neither of us have ever slept with men and her ex-girlfriend slept with
blokes and mine had, but I think we feel quite safe really, I suppose.
Q. As you were saying in terms of kind of risks, sexual risks, you feel that you are in the
lowest possible category?
Q. You say that AIDS was kind of not around when you were at school?
A. Not when I had sex education at school no, it wasn't really heard of, so I never learnt
anything about it at school at all. When it all came out in the media was when I first
heard about it. It came and I read about it in the newspapers and leaflets through the
door and everything.
Q. Did you think it had any relevance to you then?
A. I think it scared me a bit. The initial shock that everyone got I think when it first came
out, that this disease was spreading so fast and killing so many people, it did shock me
to start with but I never slept with blokes and didn't have any desire to, so it didn’t sort
Q. There could be other ways obviously, through drugs?
A. No, I've never had anything to do with drugs. It didn't really bother me.
Q. Do you actually know about it in terms of how its transmitted?
A. Basically yes. I think so. You mean sort of through needles?
Q. Yes and how you actually get it, I mean, how it’s passed and what it actually consists
of, the sort of viral disease?
A. Yes. I think so, yes.
Q. Through men and women....?
Q. And do you ever, say, talk about it with AMY sometimes?
A. DEBBIE, my sisterQ. Is she worried about it?
A. Not at the moment because her boyfriend is in the MILITARY SERVICES and he has
to have a medical every so often, and they have AIDS tests.
Q. Do they?
A. Yes, they have to, and he is clear, he's in the clear so, he doesn't sleep around and
neither does DEBBIE so at the moment she feels quite safe about it but I do, I think she
wouldn't really be that stupid, if she didn't take precautions. I asked her when she
started seeing him you know, if she did, but it was OK.
Q. What do you mean by take precautions?
A. Well, I mean, she's never slept around or anything like that, so I feel she's safe
anyway and I think she does.
Q. Do you know any or many gay men?
A. A few, yes, a few of my friends are men but one of AMY's friends is very sort of
promiscuous and I don’t know him very well, but I think he's very stupid. I don’t know
whether he has safe sex or not but of the friends I have, most of them have steady
Q. It’s not something that they ever talk about?
A. No not really. OLIVER, a friend of AMY's whose quite promiscuous- AMY told me
once that he said that there’s no point in having an AIDS test because if he's got it he's
only going to die anyway, and, you know, that’s such an immature attitude, I couldn’t
believe it really. If he acts like that it’s up to him, butQ. Yes, but obviously..?
A. It’s not just him that’s going to be affected.
Q. No. Do you think people actually take it seriously?
A. Yes, I do. It’s died down so much now since the initial sort of media hype and when it
all first came out. There's not a lot really, but I mean if you read the gay papers, there
are still a lot of adverts about it in there, but nationwide there's not much heard about it
really, well I don’t think there is, not compared to what there was.
Q. No, it’s a bit like last years’ news.
A. Yes, which is stupid because it’s getting bigger and bigger all the time, really. But I do
think people take it seriously.
Q. Do you think people have actually changed their behaviour because of it?
Q. Do you know anyone who has?
A. No. I’m afraid I don’t. Not really. Because my friends from school, they are all straight
but none of them have really, one of my friends, JULIE, she has just worked in a
homeless hostel in SOUTHERN ENGLAND and she had to leave in the end because
she was having a relationship with one of the residents there who was an ex-junkie and
alcoholic and whatever, and she slept with him but she did take precautions, and used
condoms I think, and she's quite sensible about it but I don’t know whether she would
have done that before it all came out. I don’t know.
Q. Yes because some people think it’s like being safe or double safe just using the pill
for contraception and thinking you're safe, it seems not necessary to wear a condom for
A. Yes. I do think people's attitudes have changed though.
Q. How do you think they have changed?
A. I do think people are more wary of having a lot of sexual partners, especially at the
beginning when it all first came out, it shook people so much that they calmed down and
either stuck to one partner or you know, or if they had sex with other men they made
sure they had safe sex. I think it has affected people. But being a lesbian, I don’t mix
with that many straight people who I know that well, who talk to me about having sex
and whether they wear a condom you know, that AIDS really worries them. My mum is
divorced and she had about three boyfriends since she's been divorced, and we've sort
of touched the subject but I think she feels that it doesn’t affect her age group, do you
know what I mean, most of her age group are either married or divorced and have only
had a couple of recent sexual partners, and it just doesn’t affect her. She's got a
boyfriend at the moment, but I don’t know whether they've talked about it or not. I
haven't really talked to my mum about it a lot.
Q. Yes. Do you agree with her?
A. Not at all, no. I suppose it’s the older generation, she doesn’t think that, she thinks
that she probably has got the idea that it just affects young promiscuous people or
young gay people or gay men.
Q. Do you think there are a lot of those stereotypes around?
A. Oh yes. A lot of people think it’s mainly homosexuals and young promiscuous
heterosexuals or bisexuals. I think there's a lot of it around.
Q. Do you know anyone who has got AIDS?
A. No. Not in my set of friends, no.
Q. How would you feel if you did?
A. What if someone said it to me or something?
Q. Well if you discovered that someone you knew was either HIV positive or had AIDS?
A. How would I feel? If it was someone who was close to me, I would be upset basically
because they've got the disease you know, but I wouldn’t think any the less of them
because of that or run away because they'd got AIDS. It’s something that’s there.
Q. There’s a lot of very strange paranoia?
A. Yes, you can’t drink out of the same cups or something. You get a lot of people in
gay clubs and probably a lot of gay men or bisexual women who are HIV positive. It’s
around. I mean, if you know the ways that you can catch it then you know you can’t
catch it from drinking out of the same glass as someone or sitting on the same toilet
seat as someone else, you know, you don’t get paranoid about that so it doesn’t bother
me like that at all.
Q. Can you think of anything that would make people take it more seriously?
A. I think the media coverage of it shouldn't have fallen like it did, it should be covered
more like it was in the first place. There should be a lot more heard of it on television
and in the newspapers, whatever, I think because if people don’t hear about it they tend
to forget it and it’s still around, it shouldn't be forgotten. I think there should be a lot
more media coverage of it. I don’t know, make people sit up and talk about it and do
something about it. I don’t know.
Q. Do you think in terms of people who take risks, as you say, you're probably in a very
low risk category from AIDS and presumably from getting pregnant as well, are there
any other ways in which you might be a risk taking person. I mean do you, like
healthwise, in terms of drinking or smoking, gambling or anything else like that?
A. That I might get AIDS?
Q. No, no, nothing to do with that. Just whether you feel you take risks in life?
A. Me personally not really. I don’t smoke, I used to smoke but I gave it up, basically it
was smoke or eat because I got so poor, and I gave up smoking and I don’t drink
excessively, you know, moderately. I go out and have a couple of drinks at a nightclub,
but I don’t get roaring drunk all the time. I don’t really think I take that many risks, I'm not
at risk of getting pregnant, you know. I think I'm quite stable and safe really, so, I don’t
think I'm in danger.
Q. There are sometimes the attitudes around which obviously don’t apply to you, that
somehow caution is thrown to the winds?
A. What’s the point of taking precautions when you can die from smoking.
Q. Yes, or get run over by a busA. No. It’s true you could get run over by a bus, but if you walk on the pavement you're
taking a precaution against getting running over and you take a precaution from
catching AIDS. I think it’s worth it. Definitely.
Q. Sometimes that sort of attitude, of almost fatalism about you know, if it happens to
me, it happens to me sort of thing which people sometimes have, whether it is to do with
pregnancy, just this once won’t hurt, or AIDS?
Q. Another thing I was going to come back to was something you wrote also, this is
coming away from AIDS, but sex education, you said that there wasn’t anything or
enough about homosexuality when you were at school. Was there anything at all?
A. Very sort of basic, sort of teachers being really embarrassed talking about it.
Q. But they do actually talk about it?
A. I think we had books and they may have touched on the subject, what homosexuality
was but we never actually had a lesson on it or were told that it was completely normal
or completely, you know, nothing like that at all. No. I think how I heard about it was
through children talking, you know, kids, teenagers talking and whatever you saw on the
television. I didn’t, you know, even when I was a young teenager I was really scared if I
sort of thought that I was attracted to another women, whether it was someone at
school with me or an older woman around, it really scared me and I used to think no, it’s
wrong, because I had been taught different and I think most teenagers think like that. I
do think it should be put into part of the sex education, definitely.
Q. So what did your sex education come under, did you have a special lesson for it or
was it fitted in under biology.
A. No, it was fitted in under general studies, actually. It was a couple of lessons on
contraception and pregnancy, you know, it was very sort of, there wasn't a lot really, it
was just a couple of lessons basically explaining what sex was, we never had sex
education lessons, really, and I think kids should. A lot of parents feel that they
shouldn’t, kids shouldn’t be taught things like that at school.
Q. But then that assumes that parents are going to do it themselves?
A. Yes, a lot of parents don’t. My mum, I mean, I am really lucky because I'm really
close to my mum, and I've got an older sister who I also feel really close to, so I found I
could talk to them about most things regarding sex, and things like that so I think I was
lucky. But you know, a lot of my friends couldn’t talk to their, my friend JULIE, who’s just
been at the homeless hostel and had to leave and everything, I mean she had to go
home again back to Lincolnshire to her parents and she told her mum what had
happened but she couldn't tell her that she had slept with this bloke. She's 20, she will
be 21 this year and she couldn't tell her mum, because she thought it would really upset
her, upset her mum, and she's 20 years old. I don’t think I could take that, because I'm
19 and I can take LINDA home with me and stay in the same room and it just wouldn’t
bother my mum at all. I do think that I’m very lucky to have a mum who's so
understanding, and I found it so easy to talk to her about things like that. So.
Q. No it is often like an illusion that there is this sort of way in which girls, or boys in fact,
but girls could talk about anything like to their, probably not to the father in some cases,
or a lot of cases, but as you say, a lot can't talk of their mothers about it.
A. Yes. There's this sort of illusion that the fathers will give their sons a sex talk and
explain to them what goes on and all that and it just doesn’t happen. My dad who was
always really, I mean I couldn’t talk to him about anything really, I found it so difficult, I
never got on with my dad at all, and I found it really difficult to talk about anything and I
don’t think my brother would ever talk to him about sex or anything. My brother would
always go to my mum. My mum is so easy like that, we find it really easy to talk to her,
but I don’t think any of us would talk to my dad like that, so.
Q. How did your dad and your brothers react to ..?
A. My brother is a completely laidback person. You know, "OK, if it’s what you want, I'm
glad you’re happy", and that’s really lovely, he's 17 and he's told most of his friends so
he's obviously not ashamed because you know, we were at the same school together
and I know all his friends and he's told them all and none of them are really bothered,
you know I still see them when I come up to see my mum and they are just as friendly
as they always were. He's not bothered at all, but my dad couldn’t handle it, he can’t
take it. I haven't spoken to him since he's found out, because my brother told him, but I
haven’t spoken to him since last October, I think. Last October, November I just made a
conscious decision not to have anything more to do with him, because every time I saw
him or spoke to him he managed to upset me in some way. Either he likes to put me
down a lot, he has to feel he has control of you he still loves to put me down because
when I left college and came to London I didn’t have anything to do, but I just wanted to
come to London basically because I thought I was gay and meet women, you know, and
I didn’t do anything throughout the whole of the summer and then I decided to go to
CSB because I wanted to do some volunteer work, and I decided to go part time to
college and he hates people who are on the dole and living off the state so that didn’t
please him and every time I saw him when I went home it was like, "what are you doing
now, you're still on the dole, you're a waster", and I mean. I only met him once when I
started going out with her, I took her home and luckily dad was in London at the time
and he offered to give us a lift home, so we took it because it meant not having to pay to
get back, but it meant having to talk to him for a while, but anyway it ended up in front of
LINDA, who I didn’t know that well because I had only been seeing her for a couple of
weeks or something. He ended up telling me what a disappointment me and my sister
were to him in front of her but I just felt, oh god, I'm not going to take it anymore. I just
can’t. So I just, I ended up, I think we had an argument over the phone one day and I
think I told him to fuck off or something like that and put the phone down on him, and
then, I lived in LONDON BOROUGH then, and I moved house in with my sister and we
never gave him our address or telephone number or anything and then my brother told
him about me. He knew about AMY being gay actually last year before I moved down, I
used to come down and visit AMY all the time and he knew AMY was gay and he
accused me of having a relationship with AMY, and he said sort of, "what is your
relationship to her, is it more than friends?", and it wasn’t because she's always been a
really good friend but nothing more than that, and then, but I didn’t tell him that I thought
I was gay but my brother told him. I think he asked my brother, I think he said something
like, "Oh, is BECKY as gay as AMY", which is a strange way of putting it really, and
SCOTT sort of said, "if you mean is she gay, then yes, she is". And I think he mumbled
something, and SCOTT said "what?", and he said, "what a waste, she will never be truly
fulfilled in her life". I think he meant I would never have a man and have children or
what. He sees it as wrong, in his eyes it’s wrong. He doesn’t agree so, I think that put
me really low down his scale. But I don’t at the moment care, I don’t need his approval
so it doesn’t bother me at all, he can think what he likes. I think he has got a cheek
judging me when he's made such a mess of his own life. He left my mum for another
women, he was very, I mean he didn’t go about it in a very nice way at all. I mean, I
suppose you can’t go about that in a nice way anyway, it was wrong, but he was awful
to my mum, mentally he destroyed her, and she had a nervous breakdown and he
would do anything to put her down and then he was just awful to her and I just think,
you know, you're not so brilliant yourself, you know, why are you judging me, at least I'm
happy, I'm happy in what I'm doing, whether I'm on the dole or not. I like my job, I like
college and I've got someone who I love and I'm really happy. I mean, he said to my
mum, DEBBIE and BECKY can’t be happy living in London with no money and, you
know, I think everything to him is money. He's such a capitalist, it’s unbelievable.
Everything is money, he's very materialistic. He always used to say, "when are you
going to get a job?". I mean he used to go around looking at job adverts and bring them
to me and say "look, a job advert, good money, you could be happy with all this money".
Yes, and I would say, "oh, so what", I'm happy in what I'm doing.
Q. It’s obviously not your happiness that counts with him?
A. Oh no. A lot of it is to do with his sort of, he's very big in the community where he
lives in Lincolnshire, he has got his own BUSINESS, so he's very high up around there.
And I think a lot of it is to do with his standing in the community and people saying "what
are your daughters doing now?", and he's having to say "oh, they're on the dole in
London", you know what I mean, and he can’t say if she's got a good job and is
engaged to be married and a lot of it is his problem. And I just think, so what. It’s my life,
and I will do what I want. I think he wants to run my life basically and tell me what I
should do, and I just got fed up with it so I just don’t want anything to do with him
Met at Tufnell Park Station and drove back to Dalmeny Road. She is a boyish-looking 19
year old with short reddish hair, fresh-faced, attractive, quite short in height, probably quite
stocky in build but difficult to see as she wore jeans under a rather masculine style raincoat.
She had come straight from work, which was being a volunteer on [YOUTH GROUP] in
[INNER LONDON BOROUGH]. She is on DHSS Income Support, and is not allowed to work
more than 24(21?) hours per week, even though she is not being paid anything. Works there
4 days a week through csv.
She is doing the Womens Studies Course at [NAME OF POLYTECHNIC] which she enjoys
a lot; and has applied for a place at [NAME OF POLYTECHNIC] for next year in [SOCIAL
SCIENCES]. Hasn't had an interview yet. Was worried because she only has one A-level
and she can't bear to contemplate doing more now. Thought it was all fairly straightforward
but she has had to fill in a PICAS (?) form because she is under 21.
She was very friendly and willing to talk. She seemed very open, although she was rather
nervously finger-tapping on her leg when she was being asked about, and talked about her
sexual relationship with her girlfriend.
She is very pleased to be living in London, after being brought up and living in Lincolnshire
until last June (i.e. nine months ago). She could never "come out" there because there was
no privacy and it was just not done to be a lesbian.
She currently shares a flat with her sister (who is not a lesbian) and two others (who are) in
CAMDEN. It is rather overcrowded and she is not sure how long they can stay there. As it is,
she spends most of her time down in SOUTH LONDON in her girlfriend's flat.