LGBTQ+ History Month: Better late than never

Published: 19th February 2024

We continue our celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month by spotlighting one of our staff members who shares her personal journey.

Hello, I'm Séverine, and I joined CLCH in July 2023 to work on reducing carbon emissions from buildings, contributing to the fight against climate change.

I came out when I was 35 years old, spending the first part of my life in denial, lying to myself and others. We all experience being in the closet differently. For me, it meant not truly engaging with my peers during three years of university in Paris, avoiding social interactions, being moody and introverted. Fortunately, my move to London allowed me to learn how to have fun and enjoy socialising, even though I was still living in the straight world.

When I eventually came out, it was a surprise to no one. I realised that I had wasted precious time, and I still regret it. However, it is what it is. I also recognised that, despite not considering myself homophobic, I was, in a way. I harboured a dislike for the word "lesbian," yet that was my reality. So, I had to stand in front of the mirror and repeat out loud: “I am a lesbian.”

Obviously, there is nothing better than being free and embracing your true self. I love being a lesbian, and it is a significant part of my identity. I have embraced the queer world, enjoying the duality of having two lives: one in the straight world and another in the queer world when hanging out with other queer friends. Of course, it comes with challenges, as some people may not like you or may insult you, but the freedom is worth the pain. I learned to smile more in the street when people stared at my partner and me walking hand in hand.

While I'm not sure I have specific LGBTQ+ role models, the first person that comes to mind is Boy George. I remember watching him on 'Le Top 50,' the French version of 'Top of the Pops,' and thinking that he was really brave and cool.

Boy George.jpg

Whether living in England or in France, we are fortunate to be free to be our true selves these days, and it is essential not to take that freedom for granted. I joined the CLCH Rainbow Network a few months ago, and I believe it is crucial to have such networks to support minority groups and promote inclusivity to ensure everyone feels welcome.

Séverine Turgis

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