A GAY comedian has told how Brighton was the perfect place for her to “have a go” at being out.

Suzi Ruffell told The Guardian she has “always loved” Brighton, where she would come at 17 with her first crush before returning to Portsmouth and pretending to like boys.

The Chortle-Award nominated comedian said: “Brighton was the perfect place for a little gay to have a go at being out for an hour or so, before going back home and pretending to have a crush on Leonardo DiCaprio, when in truth I just wanted to kiss Kate Winslet.”

She said that coming from a big family she always felt watched, but looking out over Brighton beach the feeling of being trapped melted away.

She described one idyllic youthful summer, saying: “I was 17, slightly awkward, always trying to be funny, often on wheels – skateboard or blades – wearing very baggy jeans and No Doubt blasting in my ears.

“We would get the first cheap train and spend the day skating up and down the seafront, sharing chips and occasionally holding hands, but only when we were 100 per cent sure there was no one from school or college nearby or, worse, someone who knew our families.

“She was fit, cool and had a really good MP3 player.

“I guess it was my first flutter of feelings for someone.

“I don’t think we were a couple, we never had that chat, we just both knew we were a bit different from everyone else, and in Brighton that summer we felt normal.

“I remember seeing older girls on the seafront; pretty, cool and happily queer.

“I would stare at them, besotted, and wonder what their lives were like, if their families knew or if they had been kicked out of home.

“Were they ashamed like me?

“They seemed happy and they were having a laugh.

“It gave me hope that coming out wouldn’t ruin my life.”

When the summer came to an end, so did the romance, after cross words and hurt feeling in a row on the pier.

The young woman came out to her parents that autumn.

Suzi remembers thinking “she had completely lost her mind” – but it would take the comedian another five years to come out of the closet.

Nonetheless, Suzi said: “That summer, I felt alive, I felt free.

“We shared roll-up cigarettes and the occasional kiss under the pier, talking about who we were going to become, where we were going to live and the adventures we would share.”