Is the Grass Always Greener on the Other Side? – Interview: Living as a Lesbian* in Ohio

For the interview of February, we have crossed the ocean, landing in the state of Ohio. Everybody please welcome Emily.

Hey, Emily. Can you introduce yourself please?

Hello! My name is Emily Pack, and I was born in the US and am currently living there now. I'm a student in college studying biochemistry and molecular biology with the hope of getting into medical school and becoming a doctor. I also love caring for plants! My living room is full of them, and I'm actually managing to keep a tomato plant alive in a pot.

Yes, that is definitely something! During the quarantine, a lot of us started experimenting with “bio gardening,” with better or worse results. Now tell me a bit about your wider environment. How would you summarize the general situation of the LGBTQ+ community in the US?

The general situation for LGBTQ+ people in the US is definitely better than in the past few decades, but the reality is we are still a very long way off from true equality and acceptance. There is a general, surface level of support from the popular culture, but there is still a LOT of deeply embedded homophobia and transphobia in the US. Although there have been a lot of legal rights afforded to us, like marriage equality, illegal and legal discrimination is still very common, and sometimes even violence depending on where you live.

Where for example? What’s the situation where you live?

I live just outside the city of Columbus in the state of Ohio, and I feel as though it is a very split city. There is a Pride parade downtown every year and even a street called Gay Street filled with gay bars and clubs, but there are also blatantly homophobic and transphobic advertisements around the city. It is very odd feeling totally accepted and safe in some parts of town but needing to avoid others because, although they are not dangerous for others, they are dangerous for me and my friends.

How’s the lesbian social life in Columbus?

I can't really say much about the social life of the city since I'm not especially social. But my college has an LGBTQ+ club called Freezone which is wonderfully supported and often talks about lesbianism and topics related to it! It is so fun and supportive and there are lots of other lesbians that I can connect with who are so interesting and nice.

Cool! Now, can we close by hearing a coming out story of yours that is for some reason memorable for you?

One memorable story I have is that when I first met a few of my friends, who are also all LGBTQ+, we were hanging out and playing games, and I mentioned that I thought a girl in my class was cute, and they all stopped playing and looked at me very stunned because they had all thought I was straight. I had assumed they all knew I liked women, so for me it was just a very casual statement, but they all thought I was coming out to them at that moment. I thought it was very funny after I realized I came out in such a casual and unexpected way.

If only it was always so.. This one does sound fun indeed! Thanks, Emily.

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