Pride of the North West: Katie opens up about homophobia she has faced as a pansexual woman

A pansexual woman from Cheshire has opened up about the homophobia and negative comments she received when she was dating a woman.

Katie Ratcliffe used to identify as bisexual and then realised she was pansexual, which means she is attracted to someone regardless of their gender.

She said: "When I was about 21 or 22, I started dating a girl. But I think there's that whole taboo nature of dating a girl when you're a girl so I didn't say anything."

When Katie was dating her, she said people would stare and shout at them as they walked down the street holding hands.

Katie with her friend on Canal Street in Manchester.

A man even refused to acknowledge that they were together saying 'you're too pretty to be gay, you must be sisters'.

After she rejected the man, he spilled their drinks because they refused to speak to him.

Katie said: "It was like a spectators sport, everyone was just staring at us."

Shortly after, she decided to open up to her parents.

She added: "I experienced quite a lot of homophobia and negative responses when we were out and about together and it was really getting me down. I think my parents noticed that."

Katie said her parents sat her down and asked her what was going on and she decided to open up.

"They were really supportive," she said. "Especially my stepdad, he was really sweet about it.

"He said, 'We love you no matter what and we support you no matter what."

Katie's coming out story

She said: "I would say I don't necessarily have the stereotypical, out with a bang, coming out story."

The 25-year-old said she began mentioning that she was attracted to women to her friends and her family as a teenager.

"I just trickled it into conversation between the ages of 16,17 and 18.

"I just sat down with my Mum one day and said that I had been experimenting with girls and I have feelings that are romantic towards girls.

"Back then it was quite a scary thing and I think I just wanted to share it with my Mum."

At the time, her Mum thought it might just be a phase that she was going through.

Little Katie

Katie said she "felt liberated" when she came out and says it was definitely the right decision for her.

She continued: "I don't think anyone should hide themselves from the world, even if it is very exposing.

"There is a large group that don't agree with who you are fundamentally as a person, which is silly because you are doing nothing wrong.

"It is freeing, but it is very scary at the same time because you are putting yourself out there and you do have to expect a negative response from some.

"But, it doesn't matter what other people think. As long as there's people around you that love you, and you love, care about you and accept you, then you're already winning in life there."

How does Katie celebrate pride?