Sam Marshall, the beauty Guru and columnist with KitschMix, talked openly with us about her life and the trials of coming out in small North Western town in the UK, as well as the challenges people face in Britain today regarding their sexual preference.
KitschMix: Where were you born and raised?
Sam Marshall:I was born and raised in Bakewell in Derbyshire. We lived in a beautiful house up a hill, away from anything except cows and sheep! I suppose I was fortunate – my parents had a successful clothes shop and I went to private school and had a pony! We always had loads of pets, and mum used to grow fruit and veg. It was fab.
KM: When did you first realise you were a lesbian? Did you tell anyone else about your feelings?
SM: I “realised” I liked girls at 17. A boyfriend pointed out that I kept staring at a waitress I worked with. I then remember going to Sheffield with a friend and kissing the only lesbian in the only gar bar there!
Looking back my bedroom wall was full of female pop stars and models with short hair – I think I only had one picture up of the man holding the baby!
I went to Sydney in 1999 and had my first “experience”. Very drunk, and she had a huge bush. Not very memorable! Then came my first girlfriend – she was beautiful, quite boyish and, of course, still in love with her ex!
When I returned to the UK and told all my friends in Bakewell I was now “Gay”. The lads loved it; the girls said I was doing it for attention. At that time Bakewell didn’t even have anyone who wouldn’t have ticked “white British” if you know what I mean.
Needless to say I went back to boys due to the non-existence of lesbians (and much to the relief of my “it’s a phase” mother).
I moved to Manchester in 2001 and in 2004 started seeing a boy who worked on the doors in the Gay Village. We went out there a lot and I felt like a kid in a sweet shop! I didn’t know there were so many gay girls! I never looked back.
I got civil partnered in 2010, now separated and we still remain friends. Mum totally accepts it and welcomed my ex like part of the family. My sister now says, “if you went back to boys I’d be sick”. Nice.
And the answer is no, I wouldn’t. I’m totally 100% gay.
KM: Have you experienced any discrimination or bad feeling from people because of your sexual persuasion?
SM: Only years ago in Bakewell saying it was for attention. I also had a rather “challenging” employee at Urban – a gay man who decided to try to make my life a living hell. He would tell my waxing clients I was gay, and shout “Dirty Dyke” across the shop floor. He didn’t work there for long after that!
Other than that even clients (after a while its inevitable they will ask about home stuff) that I was waxing were cool about it. I think if you make it an issue then it becomes one. This is normal for me now.
KM: What sorts of challenges do you think LGBT people face in Britain today?
SM: I think times are changing. My late granddad was quite homophobic, but when I told my Nan (his wife) she was like “Whatever makes you happy”. I think generations are dying off that had that negative mind-set. Also it helps that it is illegal to be homophobic -in the workplace it is seen as bullying. I do fear for my son (he has two mums and a dad), but I have friends with a 16yr old daughter who has never been teased or bullied over having two mums. After all most kids have single parent families, with mum’s new partner etc.
Most straight people like having a “gay best friend” – Madonna made that popular with Rupert Everett. Every time a get speaking to a straight man they say “can we perve at girls together?”!
I think the Trans still get a hard time – cross dressers especially. People just stare and feel it ok to say out loud “is that a guy?” I treat a few trans clients and it really is such a brave thing to do. It easier for transsexuals as they don’t look “out of place” – I have witnessed one girl in Manchester (who is stunning by the way) being ogled by guys who have no idea the object of their attention probably has bigger tackle than them! I suppose it’s about looking different that people don’t like.
It might help that I’m apparently “a lesbian disguised as a straight girl”. One of my exes was constantly called “Sir” in Indian Restaurants, and once asked if she was a girl or a boy! My current partner looks (apparently) like a “good looking gay boy” and always gets hit on in the village by men until they spot her ample cleavage! We have stereotypes in our head and things will naturally stand out.
Years ago men looked a certain way, and women did too. Now the lines are blurred. Men wear make-up and women wear boxers!