Brooke Hemphill has just released ‘Lesbian for a Year’, an account of her quest to find out about her sexuality.
In 2010, Hemphill – a relationships and sex columnist living in Sydney, unexpectedly had a one-night stand with a woman. This lesbian experience led to a year of ‘sexual exploration’ where she dated other women.
She said the year of ‘dating only women’ was not a planned experiment, but rather a fit of passion, so she decided to write a book about it.
I have always been fascinated with dating and relationships and sex, but in terms of writing this book it was an experience that unexpectedly happened to me… It wasn’t like I woke up one day and thought, right I am going to do this for the next 12 months, it kind of just happened. And after talking to other people about it I realised that there are a lot of people who have similar stories or can relate to it, or have thought about doing something similar, so I decided to write a book.”
The title of her book, ‘Lesbian For A Year’ has seen her criticised from Sydney’s LGBT community, something she had anticipated.
It is a bit of a tricky one and I understand that a lot of people who identify as lesbian have issues with the title of the book. I have been getting a lot of feedback on Twitter and so forth about how you can’t really be a lesbian for a year and you are either straight or you’re bisexual or you’re a lesbian for a lifetime… But in my experience I had a one-night stand with a woman, woke up in the morning found her in my bed and thought, how did that happen?”
After this initial experience she went on to have a relationship with a women for six months.
I met a girl and we started dating, we ended up going out together for about six months. In that time I continued to kind of question what my sexuality was, was I gay? Or bisexual? Was I a straight girl kind of going through a phase, so the book kind of explores that journey.”
While she has copped flak for the title, Hemphill is quick to reassure the book has a serious message about breaking down barriers and stereotypes.
Generally, I think with everything that is going on in the country in relation to gay marriage if everyone went out and spent some time hooking up with their own gender we would probably be in a much more tolerant place and it would open up much more conversation and dialogue around this.
Connection with a person, not their gender, it could be male it could be female, I generally find I am more attracted to people’s personalities than gender or looks.
Some people would suggest that it puts a finality to what my label should be, but I think it is a bit more fluid than that and who knows what the future holds.”
— Affirm Press (@AffirmPress) September 9, 2014