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The other day I overheard a couple of Switchboard telephone counsellors
discussing Portia De Rossi's book, Unbearable Lightness -- A Story of Loss
and Gain. Portia is very open and honest about her eating disorder, self-
esteem issues and underlying need to be found smart and attractive. Added into
the mix for her were the expectations of how Hollywood actresses should look
and behave; the pressure of being on a hit TV show and being in the closet.
Every day we are bombarded
with images of what it is to be
cool. is isn't just restricted to
the straight media ; o en the gay
press perpetuates these images as
well. It can be tough if you don't
look like Ruby Rose. We o en
see pictures in the gay press of the
"perfect butch" with slick styled
hair, the latest grunge jeans and t-shirt, tattoos and piercings -- very lesbian chic.
As teenagers many of us have been on the receiving end of hurtful comments
and behaviours from school mates. Some of these comments may have been
homophobic, some just because we looked, acted, dressed or were di erent to
the norm. Sometimes this stu doesn't always get easier as we grow up.
So what happens if you don't t the mould? What if your body shape is
di erent or you can't a ord the latest look or if you're more lesbian 'dag'
than lesbian 'chic'? Here at Switchboard we o en receive calls people who
are dealing with these sorts of issues. Some callers may be about to or have
just come out and feel unsure about how 'visible' they want to be; others
may be feeling pressure to dress and behave more conventionally when
visiting family or going out with straight friends; or perhaps they have just
ended a relationship and wish to socialise and not be turned away from
a bar because they don't look 'right'. We can be at times shocked that the
LGBT community is not as accepting as we may think it is.
It takes a bit of inner strength to be who you are and sometimes having
the chance to talk to someone about these struggles can help. e trained
telephone counsellors at Switchboard can listen, refer you to LGBT
friendly therapists if need be and assist you to nd social, sporting or
other groups where you may meet women just like you. You may even nd
someone to marry just like Portia!
Maybe I do...
So what happens
if you don't t the
Gay and Lesbian Switchboard
Counselling: 03 9663 2939 (Melbourne) or
1800 184 527 (regional Vic and Tas)
Monday to Thursday 6pm-10pm, Wednesdays 2pm-10pm,
Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays 6pm-9pm
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