Pride of the North West: Matty reflects on their experience of coming out as a non-binary lesbian

A non-binary lesbian based in Manchester has spoken about the deep sense of relief they felt once they came out.

Matty Rotinwa is a non-binary lesbian living in Manchester, and uses the pronouns they/them/theirs.

When Matty was younger, they assumed that everyone was into people who identified as women, or AFABs, 'assigned female at birth'.

They said: "When I was younger, assumed that everyone was into AFABs. Then around the age of 19, I really sat down with myself and did a lot of soul searching and realised that I'm a lesbian."

Little Matty in London

Matty said they tried to deny it and which they say was due to "internalised homophobia" and it was something that they were not ready to admit to themselves.

But once they did, they felt a deep sense of relief.

What does non-binary mean?

  • Non-binary is a term that is used to describe people who feel their gender cannot be defined with the margins of gender binary.

  • Because non-binary means the person does not fit the traditional narrative of male and female, the community are very diverse.

  • Non-binary people might identify as male or female, both or none at all. They might also feel like their gender is fluid and can fluctuate.

  • If you aren't sure, simply ask someone what their preferred pronouns are.

Matty said: "Once I finally came out to myself and accepted that, I just felt like I took off a load of heavy backpacks and I just felt so free and finally comfortable within me."

They continued: "You shouldn't have to validate your sexuality. If you say that you are a lesbian then people should just take it as such."

Matty said they had a lot of people try and tell them they weren't a lesbian and, in the end, had to bare their soul and again go through the whole process they had to go through internally to make people around them understand who they were.

Matty said: "Especially in the world that we live in and with how many opinions there are, no one wakes up and says, 'I'm going to make myself hell'.

"No one wakes up and wants to know that they could be fetishised, harassed, invalidated, just completely bullied, just for who they are and to those that say it's a choice, I pose the same question, is your sexuality a choice?"

Matty at a Women's equality party

"Whenever it's pride month, I go above and beyond to try and include as many people as possible and share whatever time has been lost for ourselves or for people that don't feel like they can celebrate pride yet.

"And even just for myself, where I feel like I wasn't able to celebrate as much, I make sure that I always do."

Pride Month commemorates the June 1969 Stonewall Riots when the LGBTQ+ customers of New York City’s Stonewall Inn bar resisted police raids.

The first Pride event was organised by Brenda Howard, a bisexual activist, in New York City on the June 28 1970.

Howard organised another event the next year in 1971, and soon Pride parades were established all over the world. 

Matty said: "What I love most about Pride is just watching how many people feel so free to be themselves.

"They show their love for themselves, for other people and just the environment in general.

"As a community we've come a long way and for a lot of us to be able to openly express who we are I think that's the best thing about pride."

For LGBT+ advice, support and information please visit:

  • LGBT Foundation: LGBT Foundation provide a wide range of support services to lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.

  • Black Trans Foundation: a Black trans-led non-profit organisation offering free therapy to black trans and non-binary people aged 16+.

  • Being gay is okay: Offering content that tackles issues that people tend to be most concerned about, like coming out, religion and homophobic bullying.