I kissed a girl - and I like how far we've come since

One of the first lesbian kisses on TV opened doors for others to talk about their sexuality. Let's stop dithering and legalise same-sex marriage

Share

Sign the Petition today!

When I was 16 years old, I took a role that was to change my life forever. The character I was playing – Beth Jordache – was a lesbian and one of the first on British TV.

It seems hard to imagine now that this was such a shocking role but it provoked a huge response; some positive, some negative. I had met gay men and women at work - it didn't strike me as strange and my family and friends didn't make an issue of it. I had grown up knowing that any life decisions I made – about my career, education or sexuality would have been supported unconditionally.

I will always be grateful to have come from such an open-minded family who could discuss sexuality and other issues around the family dinner table. That role opened some doors (and some minds) but also opened my eyes to the fact that across the UK not everyone was from as supportive a home life as me. I received letters – thousands of letters – from young women (and men) who confided in me – or Beth – that they were gay and that their parents could not (or would not) accept their sexuality. Teenagers thrown out of their family homes or ridiculed in the streets for who they were.

Now, many years later, things are much improved.  We have civil partnerships giving gay couples many of the same rights as married couples but which still differentiate between a heterosexual and homosexual relationship. Years ago there was fierce resistance to the idea of female clergy – but today we see women vicars all over the UK.  They are as loved and respected as any other members of the church. If the church and the state can accept this fundamental change to religious doctrine, then would it be too much to accept the fact that people of the same gender should be allowed to be married in church?

I received letters from young women, and men, who confided in me that they were gay and that their parents could not (or would not) accept their sexuality.


Over ten years after that kiss I was lucky enough to be a ‘best woman’ at one of the first Civil Partnerships.  It was a joyous occasion shared by family and friends to celebrate the fact that after 15 years together two old friends – and my daughter’s God-parents - could finally formalise their relationship in the eyes of the state. My daughter Gracie has been lucky enough to grow up with gay men and women in her life and she will talk about the fact that her god-parents are gay without giving it a second thought.

She says that they are 'married' but of course they’re not – and that's what she would find difficult to understand.

Independent Voices has launched a campaign to legalise same-sex marriage. To read more about our Equal Partners campaign and sign the petition, click here.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Support Analyst / Helpdesk Support Analyst

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is the UK's leading ...

The Jenrick Group: Finance Manager/Management Accountant

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: The Jenrick Group: Finance Manager/Manag...

Recruitment Genius: Manufacturing Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a rare opportunity for ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Political Editor: Mr. Cameron is beginning to earn small victories in Europe

Andrew Grice
Pakistani volunteers carry a student injured in the shootout at a school under attack by Taliban gunmen, at a local hospital in Peshawar  

The Only Way is Ethics: The paper’s readers and users of our website want different things

Will Gore
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'