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They were true eccentrics who gave us a very colourful and sometimes bizarre education. During drama Miss G would sip hot milk and whisky from a thermos while we rehearsed "Queer street" an odd bit of theatre in which I played a bearded, pipe-smoking , Mackeson-drinking burglar. Domestic science consisted of learning to strip wash and I remember regularly standing in front of the drying cabinet in our knickers and vest having our nails checked for cleanliness by a very masculine camp comandante Miss T. They were amazing women and I'm sure a number were gay, but with all the cruelty of adolescence, we thought them freaks and despite having a huge crush on a girl in the form below me the last thing I wanted to be was a lesbian.

When I was 15 I started going out to town with my school friend Shaz. After a glass of wine in Pizza Pizza we would cross the road to Kirklands and dance to David Bowie's Golden Years. Shaz used to tell people we were hairdressers - she had a Saturday job at Hairways in Childwall Fiveways brushing up and washing towels - we immediately became popular with a group of boys who'd encourage us to try out colours and cuts on them. We'd go to Eric's, the Harrington bar and occasionally drop into the Masquerade to buy poppers from "Shady Harry" for them. Everyone was a budding poet, or in a band, or a clothes designer.

But despite all the boys we knew being as camp as Christmas we still didn't know any lesbians and being a lesbian just didn't really appeal to me. It didn't seem to be glamorous - not like being a gay man. Without any lesbian role models I contented myself with going out with boys who respected me too much to have sex - most of the time and fantasising about 'Watch the Woman' presenter Jenny Lecoat. Until I saw an article about Mathilde Santing - the openly gay gorgeous Dutch singer. And then I decided I had to leave Liverpool and go to drama school. I came out within 6 months. Coming back with my girlfriend 20 years later I realised that Liverpool was full of wonderful lesbians but I had been looking in all the wrong places.

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