Guernsey woman inspired to become LGBTQ+ role model for future generations

A woman from Guernsey has told ITV News she's been inspired to become an LGBTQ+ role model for future generations.

Joni Nettleship says she realised she wasn't heterosexual when she was a child, but it was never something she spoke about until adulthood.

People who identify as heterosexual are sexually or romantically attracted to people of the opposite sex.

Joni is a bisexual woman and uses the pronouns are 'she' and 'her'.

"I grew up in a very hetero-normative society, and when I met my partner Rachel I realised this was something I could now explore," she said.

Joni describes meeting her partner Rachel as "transformative" saying it she could truly be her authentic self. "I came out first to my children about six years ago, and they were absolutely fantastic," she continued.

"They were quite worried about it but they just proved to me young people in this day and age just really don't see being LGBTQ as an issue."

"My family have been amazing, to them it's not a big issue at all, and the same with my friends, I can honestly say I haven't encountered anything negative in any way, shape, or form."

Joni says there were no strong positive female or male role models in the LGBTQ community when she grew up, and is now determined to be a role model for future generations.

"I think it's important to be true to yourself, I try and teach that to my children, that truth and being your authentic self is incredibly important."

Joni and drag queen Magenta. Credit: Joni Nettleship

As the Channel Islands celebrate Pride, Joni says the event means "everything".

"I've been involved in the organising committee for a number of years now, I absolutely love it.

"I help with the family area, it's very close to my heart, it's a fantastic, inclusive, accepting day, and we make lots of plans many years in advance to make sure everyone is welcome and has a fantastic day.

Joni says if she could give her younger self a message it would be: "Don't worry so much about it, it doesn't matter what people think of you. And most people will be incredibly happy for you and a lot of the time they won't really give it a second thought."

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