Sage Women's Space: Full Interview

Duration 46:12


This interview was recorded in the summer of 2019. For recent updates on the activities of Sage, visit the Yorkshire MESMAC website. 


Sage Women’s Space
Interviewed by Ray Larman
8th July 2019

Ray: Everyone is just going to briefly introduce themselves.

Pauline: Hello my name is Pauline. I am a trans woman, mature in age if not in wisdom [others chuckling] and I have been in Leeds 26 years and it has been, you know, a great blessing to me in many ways; it’s been very important to me, as has this group where I have found a kind of welcome and acceptance and been included, which has made a big difference to my life, which changed hugely, you know, when I transitioned which was only five years ago so I don't have a long experience of being in the LGBT community but the experience I have had since then has been an extremely positive one which I am grateful for.

Pam: Hi, I'm Pam. I'm lesbian. I came back to Leeds about four or five years ago to be with a partner but other than her, I didn't know any other [sound of object being dropped] other lesbians and actually probably through, mostly through the Sage project, got to know LGBT people and lesbians.

Susan: Yes, Hello. My name's Susan. Yeah, I've lived in Leeds practically all my life. I first thought that I was gay at the age of fourteen when I was at school; I actually came out, left school, and celebrated my sixteenth birthday as coming out as gay and lesbian. For that first two years it was absolutely amazing. You know, it was, like, you know for the first time I had actually been able to put a name to this, to this that I was feeling. Yep, I came out at sixteen, so I got introduced through Mind, through a woman there who I went to see, she actually introduced me to some women that were already on the scene. So for that first two years was great; I was totally oblivious to the world. Margaret Thatcher had just come into office, you know, she she, you know and... Yeah, and so that for two years I was clubbing, dancing, you know, playing the field a bit, you know, as you do when you're a lot younger.

Anyway after that two years I started to get ill, mentally, so there was a big gap from, at the age of nineteen probably, because that is when I was diagnosed with, you know, manic depression. So there was a bit gap in my life, you know, from there. I mean, I was nineteen so and I was gay from the age of sixteen. But at that time, you know, I suffered a lot with my, with, I suffered very badly mentally. But so, those years wasn't really as much going out as I did when I was a lot younger. There was a big gap in my life. I think lost... For that ten years I lost my life to depression, you know, manic depression. So I mean I did actually meet people, but not sort of like in any great detail, [sound of squeaking chair and whispered 'sorry'] yeah it was just one-off sort of thing.

I might meet people where I've lived and stuff like that but then, I heard about, ... so from that, sort of like, I've been drifting, sort of like, you know, just existing through the years. So but then I've lived, I've lived in a care home; I lived in a care home, not for older people, its Oakwood Home, it’s a place that people go who are not well due to some form of abuse or mentally or drugs so I was there for quite some time and because I didn't have... because I've lived so much around Leeds I haven't had, you know, a permanent place so I've not been able to give people my address. So Oakwood Hall helped me to get to be more independent as well so within sort of like three months I'd moved out of that place. Obviously I'm getting, as I was talking I'm getting older in this process so now I'm living in Wortley in a flat and it’s a really nice place. I couldn't have asked for anything better; it’s a very positive move cos there's people there that live in the building, you know. We all have flats each and all me neighbours are just, just really fantastic, they're really friendly.

Ray: Susan, I'll tell you what, if we just stop there and then we'll keep going round and introducing and we'll come back to some of those things. Is that all right?

Susan: Well I've just nearly finished.

Ray: Oh go on then.

Susan: I was just going to say. Yes so now I'm living there and everything seems to be OK and then I found Sage I found Sage through that just by searching and looking and this place has really, I'm actually meeting women that, you know, I can identify with, talk to, and I don't feel as isolated, I don't feel as on my own as much.

Ray: OK. Well we'll come back to Sage at the end, like we were saying so if we can keep going round the room, we can pick up on some of those things. Thank you.

Other Susan: So I'm Susan. I'm in my late 60s. I've been in Leeds since I was about 30 I think, so since the early '80s and I'm glad to be part of this group. That'll do for now.

Karen: I'm Karen. I'm in my late 50s I was born and brought up in Leeds and then moved to North Yorkshire when I was ten. Travelled around a bit after I left school and came back to Leeds in the early 2000s where I met my now wife and I've been living here for fifteen years.

Val: I'm Val. I identify as a lesbian. I've been in Leeds too long to remember – 30 – 40 years. I moved to Leeds in my, I think it was, yeah, late '70s, early '80s. I have a daughter who is now 34. I like being in Leeds and I enjoy being part of this group, and that'll do.

Ray: So we're going to talk a little bit about, sort of, in the past, how you would get to know other lesbians, other bisexual women, so maybe places you would go to or maybe things that you would read that would lead you to go into groups. And anyone want to say?

Val: So it's more of the free discussion and pitch in?

Ray: Yeah.

Val: I'll pitch in then. I came out in my early 30s or recognised that I wasn't the norm in terms of heterosexuality and I think it was probably politics that... it was being involved in feminism that, I think, played a major part in me coming to recognise that I was a lesbian. Not, at that point I don't think I felt attracted to other women, it was more I felt in synch with other women and politically wanted to spend my time with other women and it was only gradually that I think I wanted to be with other women in terms of spending my leisure time.

With regard to, I suppose, finding other lesbians I can't, I mean, fortunately because I was involved in some feminist activity or women's group stuff in Leeds, that I think I did meet other lesbians but I didn't always know that I was meeting other lesbians because it wasn't something you'd just announce, 'oh by the way I'm a lesbian', 'by the way, I'm not'. So and, so that was... I've always been I might want to mix with women more than men, but I am not necessarily in search of other lesbians per se; it’s people, or women, and I probably met a number of lesbians when I decided that I wanted to have a child and I'll cut that short otherwise I'll go on forever in that I decided to have a child through self-insemination. And it was, I got to know of another woman who was a lesbian who had had a child and then a few of us, after, I think, I'd had my child, there were other lesbians who were either wanting to do self-insemination or in the process of and we formed a group and met and so and then, so I suppose it was mainly through that group.

And then there was something called 'Northern Older Lesbian Network' that doesn't exist anymore but went for about 20-25 years and that was set up by two lesbians who had moved from London to, I think, Howarth, and that was once a month and so I met other lesbians through that and through self-insemination, or that group. And more currently, because there's been like huge gaps in between, it’s been being involved in LGBT things like Out In Leeds, like West Yorkshire Queer Stories, like Sage and the current Women's Space.

Ray: So did anyone else meet other lesbians in, kind of, a similar way or maybe a very different way?

Susan: Well, it’s funny, actually when I was a lot younger I used to think, someone came up to me and said to me – she was, apparently my friend, my gay lesbian friend –she was giving out badges and she was saying, 'oh you're a feminist... feminist', and I thought, ‘well I'm a lesbian’. I didn't know the difference between being a lesbian and being a feminist. That was the most funniest part at that moment and I was thinking, 'I want to be a lesbian; I don't want to be a feminist', and that was so funny at the time and she was giving out badges to people. And I had a friend as well, another gay women, she was from, you know, the same school I went to, she was in the sixth form: funny thing was, you know, we met, we met at the same school and she invited me home to have dinner with her mother and her father and some other gay people, but, you know like I said, I'm just saying for the most part I'm saying the feminist point and the lesbian, you know, when she asked me that I thought: 'I want to be a lesbian. I don't want to be a feminist!’ [unclear] they mean the same thing.

The other Susan: I also came to my lesbianism through feminism and I don’t regret my heterosexual years up to about 30. Yeah it was through the politics of it really. And so when you become involved in feminist activity through Women's Aid or Greenham Common, that sort of stuff, you end up meeting lesbians whether you like it or not [group laughter] and I liked it [group laughter].

Susan: It’s not really a choice is it? I mean, people say you can choose between who you want to be and I don't think it’s a choice, you know. I think its summat that you are or you're not; it’s not summat that you want to be, its summat, it's who you are…

The other Susan: Well, I certainly know…

Susan: It’s in the make-up, isn't it? It’s...

The other Susan: I certainly know an awful lot of lesbians who...

Susan: I know for myself, you know when I was fourteen, I knew I was different; I couldn't really explain it; I could feel it but I couldn't always explain it.

The other Susan: I know, I know, you know, for, for probably most lesbians, that's the case. It wasn't the case for me

Val: It wasn't for me.

Karen: Nor me.

The other Susan: I wasn't a fourteen year old lesbian.

Val and Susan: It’s not the same for everyone.

The other Susan: I wasn't unhappy in my relationships with men although I could never ever imagine becoming involved with a man, a man again, so that's why I wouldn't call myself a bisexual although probably at 30 I was. I identify very strongly as a lesbian now, so when I came to Leeds in the early ‘80s it was kind of quite a lot of stuff going on. Because I was working in the third sector, the voluntary sector, I was meeting other lesbians and political women, so women who were active in feminism. And I think getting involved in Clause 28 was probably quite seminal for me in terms of my connections with lesbians in Leeds.

Susan: I remember that! I remember that! Yeah.

The other Susan: And finding out about places to go and things to do and what was going on, really.

Val: Yes Dock Green disco.

Val & The other Susan: Dock Green disco!

Several: [unclear/ traffic noise]

Susan: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ray: So what was the Dock Green disco like?

The other Susan: We were also involved in supporting The Miners' Wives; and so that was also – it wasn't only lesbians who were involved in that, but it was certainly led by lesbians – so it’s really interesting actually that lesbians were at the forefront of a lot of feminist activity that supported heterosexual women like the miners' wives, and women fleeing violence, and Rape Crisis – I was involved in Rape Crisis as a volunteer for quite a long time and other activities like that.

Val: Just to say Dock Green disco was – I can't even remember how often it was – it was something like once a month? But was a women's disco. Again, it wasn't only lesbians. But it was probably lesbians who organised it but I can’t remember. And it was through–- I lived in a housing co-op at the time – and it was through a woman who was a lesbian who lived in the co-op but she told me about it – again it was a lot of word of mouth, but it was, it was a lovely atmosphere, a lovely disco.

Susan: Oh it was! Do you remember it was upstairs wasn't it? There was a bar there on the corner and a bit of seating down there and the disco was a bit further down.

The other Susan: That's right.

Ray: What sort of music was there?

The other Susan to Susan: I would have no idea that we probably met then – way back – and never met again since.

[group laughter]

Karen: My wife was probably there as well!

Val: The music, I've no idea! Apart from I probably liked it in terms of dancing music cos I've always liked disco dancing – don't do it so much these days – [laughter]. I was never on the scene and didn't want to be. I'm not now and I wasn't then in terms of going to gay bars or that sort of thing. I can't remember the music, it's too far back, but it was good dance music.

Ray: What would you wear?

The Other Susan and Val: Dungarees!

[group loud laughter]

Val: Or onesies

The Other Susan: Doc Martens

Val: No, I didn't have Doc Martens

Susan: Yes, Doc Martens.

Ray: It’s all back in fashion.

Susan: I still have a pair.

The other Susan: Flat caps – if you were working class enough. There were quite a lot of class issues running at the time amongst Leeds lesbians.

Val: A lot!

Ray: Tell us more about that Susan.

The other Susan: Well, there was a sort of feeling of the working class women feeling that they needed to be heard more and they did… middle class feminism taking over and running the show So there was some conflict. There was also conflict sometimes around dress code, so we might have been in dungarees and Doc Martens, but there were some who dressed in leather and that wasn't appreciated

Ray: Why?

The other Susan: So there was quite a lot of...

Val and The other Susan: It was to do with the S & M.

Val: Very male.

The other Susan: It was seen as part of the S & M scene and that didn't fit with the feminism. So, it was quite a stressful time actually the '80s in Leeds lesbian world [laughs].

Susan: Well, you know the feminists of this, when I knew of feminism, you know most of the feminist I know at that point when I was a lot younger there was a lot of hatred for men; I've seen slogans around Leeds saying 'men are the enemy' and all this and that. Even if you're in a women's group or a women’s disco and there was a man in the room – they used to walk across to go to the toilet or through a door – even if you were caught looking at a man you would think, 'she's not gay, she's not lesbian, she's looking at him'. But, you know, so, I mean I never, sort of like, hate men it’s just that I find it rather difficult to keep men as friends without them wanting something else. You know it’s like, you know, I don't hate men it’s just that I want them to accept me as who I am and not, you know, other, anything else. And I just, I mean the neighbours that I've got know, so that's fine, but I can't really, I mean I sometimes find myself talking more at a club or a disco to the gay men, I can talk more than I can do with other women who are out, I'm talking about when we're out drinking, so yeah, but feminism it was very political and it was very, sort of like, aggressive towards, you know, men really, you know.

Karen: But that is feminism.

Susan: Is it?

Karen: That is feminism. I mean I wasn't in Leeds in the '80s. I actually married in '83 and moved to Surrey. Well, moved to Chester then to Surrey because my husband was in the RAF so we moved around a lot. I think deep down I'd always known. But at that time growing up in a small village in North Yorkshire there was very little publication about LGBT. In fact the first time I ever came across it was watching Emmerdale, when the vet came out. [laughter]

But obviously as time progressed and the movement got larger and more visible I started to think about things and when I hit the ripe old age of 40 I decided I couldn't live a lie any longer and left my husband and started a new life by moving to Leeds which, in itself, was pretty traumatic.

But I mean I don't think I actually actively went out when I moved to Leeds I wasn't actively going out into the scene. I actually met my wife online through Shoe which was then a lesbian website and we got talking and from there I've met other lesbians obviously and then more recently joining this group, so my experience of actually meeting other lesbians is quite, I suppose in some respects, is restricted because I wasn't out in the scene and I didn't go out in the scene, I was living a heterosexual life and a military life which was even more restrictive I think, to be honest. Because although – I mean you didn't see at that time – at that time there wasn't... to be gay in the military was very much frowned upon and nobody really came out at all and usually if they did they were straight out, marched out and it, you know, it was that sort of environment so you didn't come across it a great deal.

But it is nice that now these years on there is such an active scene, and it’s nice in Leeds that there is an active scene, it’s obviously – now I've got to the age that I am – it seems to be for a much younger crowd but I think hopefully the old ones of us might be trying to work on that a little bit.

Ray: I think if we come back to that. Yes, on what's happening now. So Pam what about you?

Pam: It took me quite a long time to identify as lesbian. I had an amazing crush on this girl at school and because she was into Cat Stevens I bought all his LPs cos [laughs], but I never identified that as a lesbian crush or anything. So I was involved in women’s feminist left politics from being a teenager I suppose, [cough], pardon me, went to university, had relationships with men, and then had a relationship with a woman, and having had a relationship with a woman, thereafter I only had relationships with women, but even then, through my, through my twenties, I kind of, I really struggled to identify as lesbian. I think maybe because I'd had the relationships with men, I don't know. But I was very much involved with – I mean I wasn't living in Leeds at the time – but I was very much involved with various political issues, and, like yourself [indicates The Other Susan], Women's Aid and Rape Crisis so I was meeting other lesbians through that. I moved a couple of times – and when I did move I would – like I moved up to Scotland – and I purposely kind of sought out where – not the scene because I was never into the scene – but where LGBT activity was so that's how I kind of made friends. It’s always been important to me – in my adult years I suppose – to have LGBT and lesbian friends around me. I have straight friends as well but that community of lesbian women has always been very important to me. Fast forward several years [laughs] to now I'm quite certain and definite about my identity as being lesbian.

Ray: Pauline, what about you?

Pauline: Well, for a start, I don't have a history of being a lesbian. I was in a... I was married to a woman for seventeen years but I guess it was basically a heterosexual relationship because I was trying to live as a man and my ex would have perceived me as a man even though deep within myself I always thought of myself as a woman. After... when I eventually took the plunge and transitioned, and kind of after, you know, a lot of struggle, I sort of got clarity about my gender identity, the issue of my sexuality kind of presented itself again because, when I was living as a man, I would have had a great sense of, you know, revulsion about same-sex relationships; it was a big, big taboo thing, especially being in a religious background/environment as I was.

Nevertheless after I transitioned I did start to explore my sexuality. Obviously the internet was the most important resource there for that. It was an interesting period of my life, which I won't go into in too much detail about, and I still don't think it's resolved. I'm still very much attracted to women; I like the company of women; I could easily imagine myself being in a romantic relationship with a woman. Of course it would be very different from the sort of relationship I had with my ex when I was living as a man. But I also feel that I am attracted to men, so I guess ‘bi’ is the best description there for me, but – or ‘queer’ – but having transitioned and being a trans woman I sense my sexuality being a little bit vague and I find the whole area of a romantic or sexual relationship very challenging. In the last five years the only sort of relationship of that kind I have had has been with another trans woman – not quite in the same place as me on that spectrum, but nevertheless a trans woman. She sadly died. I think whoever was interested in me would be taking on a lot of issues and challenges shall we say [laughs]. But, you know, you know, there's all sorts of possibilities there. We shall see.

Ray: I'm going to pause it at that point.

Ray: Ok, So Susan you wanted to pick up on the topic we mentioned.

The Other Susan: Yes. I guess being a feminist we were often labelled ‘man-hating’ because we didn't want to mix with men and we were very critical of the actions of men. We were involved with Women's Aid, with Rape Crisis, with... you know, on a daily basis seeing how women were abused by men. For myself I didn't become formally a separatist but the only man I had in my house for, I don't know, 25 years or something, was my brother. I had women plumbers come to the house, I had women electricians and I never invited – and still don't invite – men to parties and that's a choice that's not about hating men; it’s about recognising the power imbalance and the abuse of power that many men – not all men – but many men have used against women. It doesn't mean to say I didn't cry every day for a whole year when my brother died; I did. But, – that's a different brother – it’s just that easy label of 'man-hating' when actually the reasons why I didn't mix with men, and a lot of others didn't, were political reasons. I did know other women who were completely separatist and didn't really like getting on a bus because it was driven by a man, and those sort of things, but they were few and far between really. But they were very outspoken so they were heard, which was really important for the rest of us because they were pushing the boundaries for us. The more they shouted and spoke up, the more space there was for the rest of us and for other women who weren't speaking up at all or getting the chance to be heard. So I have a lot of admiration for separatists – call them 'man-haters' if you like – because of what they did for the rest of us and the benefits we've had from that.

Val: And are still doing. Because I feel similarly. I mean I don't think I was involved in as many political groups, in terms of Women's Aid and Rape Crisis, you know but I was involved in Clause 28 blah blah blah and was, I think, a separatist. I identified. But I don't think [sighs] because I didn't want to spend time with many men. I did have some friends then. I still have some male friends now, but very few and they are because I have a lot of heterosexual friends and always have done; some of them their partners I'm also friends with, but I don't choose to spend my time, generally speaking, with other men – politically for the reasons that Susan has just mentioned but because of how they are and who they are and thinking I've come to the time of my life when I can choose who I want to spend time with, and...

The other Susan: It's about investment of energy as well, isn't it? because when you spend time with someone, so often as a woman you are listening and, you know, I have a kind of point where I think: 'No, I don't want to, kind of, invest my listening and what I have got to give emotionally into a man', unless there is a particular reason for me to, and that's usually to do with family, and that sort of thing, or supporting another woman by supporting the man. You know, and there are occasions when – we have, you know, we know, you and I [indicating Val], we have supported a man through his dying days recently, but it's not generally a way that I would choose to use my resources. I want to use them for women.

Val: Yeah.

Ray: Anyone else got any thoughts on that?

Susan: Well, I actually, I actually would, you know, the gay men, I always find that gay men, you know they always, in the past, when I've been involved in women's groups, it's been sort of like, we've had sort of like a battle with the men to actually find a place to actually meet, you know, as a woman's group, a lesbian... and it’s always been the men that have, you know, we've not really been that successful and we've had to sort of like compromise, you know, step down a bit as to where we can meet. That was, that was, my experience then as sort of like, you know, actually dealing with gay men, not, not...

I mean the heterosexual men that used to be involved with, you know, you could be chatted up and even though they know who you are sexually, gay or lesbian, and they would say, 'well, can't you just... you know, can't I just talk to you for half an hour or something just to have a conversation?' and, 'maybe you can stop being lesbian for that time'. Or, you know, or even physically they'll say, some men used to come up to me and say to me, you know, wanted sex with me and I've thought well I've told them and, 'can you not be a lesbian for one night then?' That has sort of like been my experience as I've got older. I mean this was something more recent, but as men in general – heterosexual men – same reasons as some gay men: all they want from me is sex really. For me that just sums up what a man basically wants anyway, and I suppose not just with me but a man and a woman as well. But I find there are men that do accept my sexuality even though we're not living together and just friends, we know of each other that way, just friends is very few and far between. I have more women friends, definitely. I don't think I have really that many male friends either.

Ray: Should we...? I'm kind of aware of time. Shall we move on a little bit? It's interesting what you've been saying and then thinking about obviously the nature of this group it's all women so do you want to say a little bit about Sage?

The other Susan: I think what you've said there is really important because when we said within Sage, which is obviously for any older LGBT people to get support and there were regular drop-ins for anybody and then when we said we wanted to have separate women's space there was quite an outcry amongst the men in the group and we are still hearing that a year on from this group forming. And so, when I went to a general drop-in recently some of the men said, 'oh you've taken away all the women from the group!' Well, no women choose not to come to the generic general drop-in.

Val: Very few went before...

The Other Susan: Yes very few went prior...

Val: ...before the women's group went to the drop-in anyway...

The Other Susan: Whereas for the whole of the past year we have had really positive attendance at this group and it still, still grates with me that the same experiences that we have had over years of resentment of anything that we do on our own is still happening and only last week it was brought up again: 'oh the women have just gone off and done their own thing!' and, 'they've deserted us!' It's like, 'Look after yourselves, boys!' [laughter]

Val: Unfortunately the traditional thing of women looking after the men comes in again, and thinking well, you know, that's been all the way through including the development of this group is that we're taking something away from them. Well, 'Get your act together yourselves! There's nothing stopping you. We're not saying you can't have x, y or z, but you don't need us as women to be always doing it for you, or with you!'

Pam: I was a buddy as it was called – or volunteer – for the drop-ins and over time I found it more and more difficult because, yes, maybe women would come but they wouldn't stay, they wouldn't come back and the last few times, when I was well enough to go along, I was often the only woman there and the men were actually quite sexist and, in my experience, gay men will talk very openly and crudely about sex in a way that I have not come across with lesbians and I felt very very uncomfortable. And, like you were saying Val, about servicing these men, because I was the one making the drinks and anybody new who came in, you know, I had a role of kind of integrating them into the group and making sure they weren't just just sat on their own, and from the beginning of Sage I did meet and make friends with some, with some of the men and that was great.

Over the years, it's interesting, because I'm not sure – other than relatives – if I had any straight male men as friends but some of my closest friends have been gay men and I think, yeah, since, again, my twenties I've always had friends – male, male gay friends – around me as well as women, but the experience in Sage, I just ended up kind of withdrawing because I just found it very uncomfortable, so despite all the hostility that we face in this group from the umbrella group, if you like, or some of the individuals, I think its brilliant this group is here and doing as well as it is. And I think it is really important particularly as it is a group of older lesbians and we are dealing with like years ago, maybe we did go to discos and we were much more active and we were involved in things and what happens when we're not in a position to keep doing that for whatever reasons, or health reasons, and having to adjust and cope with that? So I am very grateful for the Women's Space.

Pauline: Can I just put in one final thought about, in this area? I can relate to what Susan was saying about devoting one's time and sort of efforts to men but I have recently become quite close to a trans-masculine person, i.e. somebody genetically female but who has transitioned to becoming a man and it's been a fascinating encounter getting to know that person; this is somebody who is almost – many, sort of, might think of as the ideal man actually, because it's a man who has had the experience of also trying to live as a woman and in transitioning and becoming a man he's trying to not fall... not, not be the kind of man that, when he was living as a woman, he would have disliked and been oppressed by. So I have learnt a great deal from talking to him and I would recommend that if anybody has the chance to get to know a trans-masculine person, because a lot of the discourse about trans people tends to be about trans women, and there are a lot of trans men around as well and they have a fascinating experience to share with us and to learn from I think.

Ray: We have five minutes. Should we say a little bit more about the Women's Space and what do you get out of coming here?

Karen: I think it's, it's the fact that you can meet with people of an age that you share perhaps the same views on life, or similar views on life. Certainly there's a wide range of views within the group which I find very stimulating. I fell into the group purely by accident to be honest because I didn't actually know that it met and I was here for something else and it happened that the group was meeting after the event that I had been here for. It's been a joy really and I look forward to it every month. You know, each month when we talk about a different topic, it's always, well, I wonder what we're going to... how we are going to have this discussion and what's going to come out of it and I always go away with a lot of things going on in my mind and a lot of things to find out about and it's broadened my knowledge quite a lot from just topics that we have been talking about: authors, films, events, a lot of different things and I'd miss it if I didn't come.

Susan: Yeah I like coming to this group as well because for quite a while I've been, sort of like, you know, not been sort of like anywhere like a group like this for a long time. So recently this has been like a very great experience. I mean I can actually have a conversation. It's a bit difficult when, if you are on the scene and going out clubbing and disco-ing and all that. It's just nice, just nice for me to be surrounded by women who are lesbian women and have a conversation and talk about ourselves and I like doing that because I don't feel as, I'm not as isolated; I don't feel that isolated or lonely [ringing phone]. That's my taxi; I'm going to have to go.

Ray: Shall we have that as [laughter]...

Karen: Yes! and that is the bell!