Read time:3 minute, 30 seconds

Singer, songwriter and podcaster, Rookes says: “My sexuality finally gave me the cosmic bitch-slap I needed to start self-accepting.”

I’m told I’m a ‘millenial’ but I know I came out much later than most of my queer peers.

At the grand old age of 27, my sexuality finally gave me the cosmic bitch-slap I needed to start self-accepting.

Now, a few years later, I’ve gradually noticed some…things. Unexpected things, that seem to be primarily triggered by me being fashionably late to the queer party.

Here they are. I wonder, do you know what I’m talking about? Or do you think I some of this wrong?

Just me or is the queer dating scene is a bit…incestuous?

I found out the lesbian community anywhere is usually small – ergo, so is the dating pool. A high volume of overlap in relationships is to be expected: friends often become exes and exes often stay friends. On one occasion, a new friend brought me to a party and introduced me to three of their friends consecutively who had all been past lovers. This was weird as hell for me; I was still adjusting to the shift in dynamic that came with entering an environment where everybody in the room could consider anybody else a sexual prospect.

Rookes is finding her way as a queer woman in a very queer world

No open relationships. Ever.

I also found out by trial and extreme error that no-one in lesbian-land casually dates. Casual sex = yes. Casual dating = NO. Turns out that girls – straight and queer – generally don’t like the idea that you might be dating anyone other than just them, even in the early stages. On the other hand, more cheerfully, I discovered a bunch of trans and alternatively gendered folks that I found incredibly sexy!

Why in 2017 do we have to explain to people that lesbians don’t need a man?

You can’t just come out once

By the time I was 27 and coming out, I had a well-formed sense of self. Naively, I thought that once the ‘coming out’ process started rolling, surely this would just put words on something everyone had probably figured out about me anyway…but I was maybe 25% correct.

I noticed that most of the time if it was delivered lightly, even off-hand, it generated less of a reaction. It did, however, take five iterations of the fact that I date women for my former colleague to stop hinting that I needed a man in my life. I told him that man was called Perfume Genius. He didn’t get it.

Musician Rookes came out at 27…is that really so late?

I don’t feel ‘the fear’ in the same way others seem to

I’ve made a quiet decision that – having sustained so much crap simply for having female genitalia – I had no figs to give for the toxic opinions of passers-by.

Before I came out, I wouldn’t have thought twice about taking my partner’s hand in public. I still don’t, but I sense the hesitation of the hand I reach for sometimes.

They glance over the shoulder to see who’s around, to see if there’s a threat; whereas I’m too busy gazing at my partner to pay attention. Or care. Although for different reasons, it has been strange find myself re-experiencing that wariness through another’s eyes.

I confess that this part is 50% straight privilege and 50% ageing as a cis woman.


While most of these factors caught me on the back foot, it has been useful to talk about the upsides and downsides of these little signs of sub-culture with my fellow queers. Human behaviour in general can vacillate between the useful and the slightly bonkers, and queers are not exempt. Stand by for the Thirtysomething edition…

Do you have a Late Queer Bloomer observation or story? Get in touch!

Hear more from Rookes!

Here’s her blog

Here’s her podcast

About the author


Jenny Bulcraig, aka Rookes is a singer/songwriter, blogger, podcaster and writer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Latest articles