'Good things about my life are having a marriage to turn to when a gay relationship falls apart'

Mandy Moore, 26

Mandy Moore was born in Maidstone, brought up on the Romney Marshes and now lives in Ore village, near Hastings. She is married and has children.

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I think you are born with your sexuality rather than coming by it. I became aware of it in my teens and looked it straight in the eye at eighteen. After I was married I really faced up to it, when I had a crush on a friend who I had thought was bisexual but who wasn't.

There have been some bad experiences because heterosexuals think that you are 'queer', and gays think you are not! Many bisexuals will not openly acknowledge their sexuality- they say 'I'm gay' when they are with someone of the same sex, and 'I'm straight' when they are with someone of the opposite sex.

I find that when I start a new relationship with a girl and explain that I am bisexual, at first they are quite happy – they say 'OK, no problem'. But later on they don't like it. They turn against you. They have the same attitudes to racially mixed marriages, which ours is.

Good things about my life are having a marriage to turn to when a gay relationship falls apart, and having someone to turn to who is understanding and sympathetic and not connected with the gay community. It keeps you together. I like being different to other people – I am quite proud now, but didn't used to be.

It's better if you can keep a gay relationship purely sexual and without emotion: that's fine in theory but in practice it never ends up like that. I always get too emotional, then it explodes and dies – better if you can avoid the emotion. One gets involved, the other doesn't, then somebody gets hurt. I ALWAYS get involved; then sex doesn't matter. I just want to be with them. The sexual aspects are important in the beginning because that's what you want. Yet you have to spend time together as a preliminary when all you want to do is go home and go to bed together.

I was once in a gay pub and saw a guy I knew pick up another guy. I asked him how lie managed to do it so quick. He told me that he just went up to the other chap and said 'Do you want to go to bed?' The chap said, 'Yeah, great!' I asked the girl I was with what she would have said if I had said that to her. She said that she would probably have punched me in the mouth!

I have to be fair to my husband. I try not to say that I am going out for half an hour, then stay out all night! I have to be guarded because of the children. I want them to establish their own sexuality and not be influenced by me. If someone comes around when the children are there, it is difficult. You cannot be yourself, hold hands or anything. I wouldn't even give anyone a kiss on the cheek, although I have seen heterosexual friends do that. I would walk down the street holding hands if the children are not about. That doesn't bother me. Same in the pubs – you soon find out where you are welcome – my money is as good as anybody else's.

It can be difficult because I don't like to go out two nights running – maybe I am out half the week but only on alternate days. It makes a gay relationship very difficult. Say there is a party on Friday, disco Saturday and something else on Sunday – it means that I have to miss at least one thing, and the other person will either miss it as well, or resent it, or will go and I will be wondering what they are up to. Either they will meet someone who is more available, or I will think they have met someone and arguments start, and the relationship breaks up that way.

My husband is great about everything, but he likes to know what is happening. He likes to be introduced to my gay friends and often likes them.

My mother thinks that I should be one thing or the other. Being married means that you can mix with your gay friends but not touch. To have a gay affair when you are married is like adultery. Mum thinks that André, my husband, is such a hero, putting up with my gay friends – she doesn't understand that he enjoys their company!

My father just doesn't accept it at all. He doesn't understand and will not talk about it.

One of my sisters is happy about everything and likes to go to gay discos, and enjoys the company of my gay friends, but the other just says, 'it's OK,' then makes catty remarks behind my back.

One set of grandparents doesn't need to know – I hardly ever see them anyway. I think that the other set know because my grandfather has stopped saying, 'They should be shot at dawn,' and quickly changes the subject if it ever comes up.

Friends that I knew when I pretended to be 'straight' have all gone now. Some just didn't want to know, others just moved away. People who have met me as I really am, or knew early on, accept me much more readily.

I find that I get invited to parties as the almost mandatory 'gay friend', and told that it would be 'cool' and 'trendy' if I could bring a girl friend. I don't mind because they are not pretending about it.

At my workplace, only my sister knows, but where I worked before people were great. I had my first big affair while I was there, and when it broke up, they were very supportive. I still know some of them socially. They used to make pleasant jokes, and take telephone messages from girlfriends. It all depends on what you do for a living. In the jobs I had there were many gay people and it was accepted, but in other jobs it's not so easy.

All in all, I live virtually the way I want to, but not all of the time.

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