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"My boss felt the need to 'warn' my co-workers about my sexuality."

What’s your partner’s name?”

It’s such a simple question but for someone in a same-sex relationship, it can be met with fear when you’re surrounded by strangers.

Coming out isn’t easy. It should be, but it just never works that way. I had the added pressure of working in the glamorous yet cutthroat world of television journalism where every move, every outfit is scrutinised.

I was mixing with the most important people in society, from the Prime Minister to the local mayor and it seemed everyone wanted to have a say in my love life.

My boss at the time, took it upon herself to play ‘match maker’, going through all her male staff to see who was single and setting me up with them.

It was never a question as to whether I was interested or not.

Without being stereotypical myself, there’s a certain stigma associated with gay women. Short hair, androgynous often fits the bill. But that’s not always the case and thankfully, shows like Bachelor in Paradise, The Bold Type and even Neighbours are beginning to portray that gay women, like everyone, aren’t all the same prototype.

I’m 30 years old, 5ft 6, size 8, have long brown hair and am obsessed with fashion. My partner Sarah is also as girly as they come. We look like best friends and often get confused as this, which isn’t surprising considering that’s what we started out as.

Coincidentally, I left the world of television at the same time I decided to enter into a relationship with Sarah. She was openly gay and soon after becoming friends, I realised she was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. It wasn’t about sexuality. It was about being intrinsically connected to other human being and wanting to be as close to them as possible, forever.

The sexual side of things came much later and was experimental. And lucky for me, it was something that had been long missing in my life so I have the honour of now keeping my soul mate for life.

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I started a job in the glitzy world of public relations, where anything goes, or so I thought from my extensive experience of Samantha Jones from Sex and the City. It was my second day in the office that I dropped a normal sentence with the words ‘my partner’ that saw things implode.

My boss who had walked away came back and said in front of a colleague “What’s your partner’s name?” to which I replied, “Sarah.”

What happened next was both surprising and insulting. I was met with blank faces and silence, just blinking. I looked on the lighter side of this reaction, they were both middle-aged women, but at the same time, I was filled with fear. I didn’t know these people, were they going to treat me differently? Was I going to be taken seriously?

It wasn’t until a few months later a colleague came to me and said, “You know she warned us you were gay?”

I was mortified.

I was then told my boss went to all the female staff in my workplace and “gave them a heads up” that I was in a relationship with a woman, so if it came up, not to act awkward.

But it was their reaction that made me stay in my role. Every single one of them had the same sort of response – “It’s like her telling us your partner’s name is Michael. It was ridiculous and unnecessary.”

To me, sexuality isn’t so much an issue I worry about anymore.

I just don’t need to label myself. All I know is I’m extremely proud to call Sarah my partner. I am proud of the intelligent, caring, thoughtful soul she is, regardless of her gender.

And to me, that’s all that matters.

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