I realised I was on the hunt for gay characters on TV to identify with and I got lucky. Exactly the time I was joining the lesbian scene, a little show on BBC 3 started airing. You won’t believe me, but on the 12th October 2010 as I flicked through the channels I stumbled across Lip Service. I was hooked. Here was a brand new show all about a group of lesbians living in Glasgow. For me it was perfect.
I quickly became obsessed with the show and couldn’t wait for each new episode each week. I found everything I could about it on the web. Checking out interviews and following some of the actors on Twitter.
Thrust into the limelight during the show was Heather Peace. Picked out as the only gay woman on the show in real life, Heather suddenly became the poster girl for everything and anything lesbian. Adorning the cover of Diva magazine on multiple occasions and also as a musician performing gigs around the country.
Heather quickly became my gay role-model. And for a few months I found and watched every article, read every Tweet and interview she’d done. As I found my feet in my new gay life, for me Heather was the perfect example of a lesbian. She was around my age(ish), she was talented, funny and cool. She was out living her life as a lesbian. I wanted to be like her. If Heather was ok walking and talking out in the world as a lesbian, then I’d be ok.
Heather went on to star in ‘Waterloo Road’ giving us another lesbian character, but very different from her Lip Service character. It was great to see a gay character on prime time TV.
Funnily enough years later and both living in Brighton I have met Heather a handful of times as my wife knows her a bit. It was quite a big deal for me to meet her (my role-model from my gay early years).
I worked on a festival she performed at in 2011 and our paths crossed back stage, I’d seen her in the taxi queue when I moved to Brighton but we won’t be formerly introduced until June 2014 at the unveiling of the Rainbow crossing. A bunch of artistes including my friend painted it (and I helped a bit painting some of the pink). You don’t always get to meet your role-models in the flesh. Of course I didn’t tell her she’d been my role-model. Second time I met her and seemed to have relaxed into it. I even managed to drink her last can of lager backstage (sorry Heather).