I came out the first time in middle school. Sort of. I was in seventh or eighth grade and I told my mom I was bisexual. I remember exactly where we were, in the car on the way home, near my brother’s daycare. She took a deep breath and said something very diplomatic, of which the only thing I remember is, “It might be a phase.” I ignored that and told a couple of close friends in school that I was bi, and they were all fairly nice until one person told me that she thought I was just trying to get attention, and let’s just say that she did not say it nicely.
So I went back into the proverbial closet and shut the door behind me.
This is not to say that I went along thinking I was straight, really. I mean, I wouldn’t really answer the question if someone asked. My sophomore year school picture shows me with my pretty long hair and a rainbow necklace; I was dating a boy at the time, and continued to date him into college.
Anyway, long story short(er), I finally heard myself think it my junior year of college, walking across the quad on campus from the dining hall to the library. I was taking a class called “Bioethics and Reproduction” and we were talking about assisted reproduction technologies, blah blah blah, how to make a family, and I thought to myself that I wanted to adopt kids, not make them, and went from there to “Oh – I am not going to have a traditional family,” meaning, of course, husband, one dog, two and a half kids. And from there: I’m gay. Hah, or something.
And still I didn’t say too much about it, struggled with it, spent a summer debating with a gay friend of mine who insisted that I wasn’t gay, I was just drunk (admittedly, I had been drinking every time we actually discussed the issue, but what? It’s a hard issue to discuss when you’re still figuring it out).
As I said, long story shorter, not long story short.
The point that I’m getting to (eventually) is that coming out for me was just not that hard. It took a long time, but when I finally did it, I still in a (quite liberal) college, two of my roommates were a lesbian couple (one of whom kept saying things like, “I know and you know and it’s fine” – especially on Coming Out Day) who brought me to various lesbian-geared functions as the “straight friend” (ha!), and once I started telling people they were like, “Oh yeah, I’ve known for years.”
So I’ve had it pretty easy. I mean, it’s not all a walk in the park, but I’m not struggling the way people were years ago. There have only been a couple of instances where I’ve been nervous about my safety, and few if any times where I haven’t been comfortable coming out. I was all, “This gay thing is fun! It’s easy! Why doesn’t everyone do this? (Cause ladies are pretty, you guys, seriously.)”
With all of that in mind, it’s funny that it’s now, now that I’m getting married, and people are planning to come and are excited and supportive and even a big-name wedding blog has me, a lesbian!, writing for them, that it’s getting hard. It is hard to deal with vendors who are absolutely not expecting both women who show up to be really in the wedding. It’s hard to get comments telling me I need to stop being worried about being “the gay couple” and suck it up – really, that’s almost harder than the vendors themselves. It’s hard to realize the benefits that we won’t get once we’re married, and the benefits we don’t get now.
Right now I get taxed on not only the portion of health insurance that I pay for (for Turtle) but also the portion that my employer pays for. That’s at least $350/month, which is a little more than $4000 a year. That is a significant amount of money on my current salary, and I haven’t been able to figure out if this will change once we get married, because my awesome health insurance comes out of California, good ol’ Prop8land. Love you, CA, really, truly, but WTF?
If anything happens to either of us, we don’t get each other’s social security benefits. Good thing we don’t want to have kids, cause that would throw another wrench into it.
What has been surprising to me is that I thought I was done with the coming out, with the challenges of it all. I mean, I know we’re never really done coming out – we come out in little ways all the time, to insignificant people and to significant people. But I knew that already. I thought I was done with these hard parts, I thought I found my person and we could be safe and protected and together, because at the very least we live in MA – thanks, MA.
I don’t mean to be all “Woe is me, my life is s hard, so sorry I’m gay.” I’m not sorry, and I wouldn’t change it if I could (side note: can’t change it. Not a choice. moving on.). But I have spent a lot of time being grateful for how easy the process has been for me, how much support I’ve gotten from my friends and family, through college, and now living in my funny little liberal town near Boston, working at a cat hospital (do you know how many lesbian couples have cats? a lot, you guys. and I think I know all of them). I guess while the hard parts haven’t been shocking on their own, the fact that there still are hard parts has been.
A couple of years ago some friends invited me to go to Gay Pride. I was like, “Why? What’s to be proud of? It’s just a thing! There’s no ‘Brunette Pride’ or ‘Short Person Pride’. Why should I have to celebrate this one aspect of myself?” It was such a little (in some ways), easy (in other ways) thing to be gay. I really didn’t get it. This year I’m going for the first time; my mom has asked me to march with her and her church, and I’m really looking forward to it.
Deep thoughts by Little Miss Roughit. Speaking of LMR, did I mention that I kept my mouth closed about how I liked the ladies when I first started roller derby? I totally thought everyone was straight and that I would freak them out. Umm soooo off on that one.
Tell me your stories. Thank you.