Log in



Tags » ‘queer’

Guest Post: Staying In on Coming Out Day

October 11th, 2012 by

Last year I wrote my own post here for National Coming Out Day, on why it’s important to me to be out. This year I wrote on some social media sites about why I would like anyone who feels safe doing so to come out as whatever they can, even if it’s just “I’m an ally to people with marginalized identities.” Instead of repeating myself again here, I offered this space as an anonymous platform for a friend on the other side of the closet door.

 

National Coming Out Day makes me a little bit sad. Y’see, I’m not coming out.

It’s not that I don’t have anything to come out about — I’m queer, poly, and kinky. The typical narrative is that coming out is a joyous, amazing thing — the ability to live your life in a way that’s true to yourself and brings you the most happiness. But it’s not just that. Coming out can bring sadness. After all, the whole reason coming out is even a thing is because you’re coming out as being a part of some marginalized group. When’s the last time you heard someone come out as straight?

But fuck the haters, you say. Anyone who doesn’t love the real, true you isn’t worthy of your time, your attention, your thoughts. And hey, I even agree with you sometimes! When I meet new people, when I’m in a place that’s remotely safe for it, I will be openly myself. The problem isn’t those people, those anonymous others I didn’t know and don’t really care about. The problem is anyone I already do. My family has told me in as many words that they do not think polyamory or kinky sex are okay or normal. My extended family has told me the same thing about homosexuality, and I don’t know if they even believe in bisexuality.

It’s tempting to say “Screw them, too! PRIDE!”, but then I remember that I’m finally feeling like I can interact with my parents like a mature adult. Our relationship was rocky for years of my childhood, and now we can actually talk without getting angry at each other. That relationship, which increasingly has actual meaning to me, would probably be hugely damaged if I told them. The damage would be from their intolerance, but it would still come about via my choice. So I don’t come out, and every year that’s a choice I make again.

Similarly, I intend to be and stay employed/employable, with the option of going into professions where personal character matters more than most. I’m not sure where the lines are, but it’s safer to stay on one side — so I don’t holler this stuff at the internet, and I edit some conversations to make some relationships sound a bit more serial than they actually were. It’s the same for any other time I put on my public face — I choose a certain kind of effectiveness over truthfulness, and it’s still a bargain I choose to make.

For all this, I’m not in the closet either. All my friends know. People who randomly pass me on dates in my city know. People I meet at cons, on the internet, at my alma mater, they all know. I’ve achieved an awkward, imperfect, workable balance, wherein I’ve got enough space to live as myself but I’m not suffering from that openness. I wish I didn’t have to.

Fighting Fire with Love

November 21st, 2011 by

Ali and I turned left, into a park on the urban college campus, and heard shouts coming from behind us. About a block down, there was a dense cluster of people with a handful of signs waving over the top. I didn’t get a long look, but words like “BEWARE” and “EVILUTION” jumped out at me. It wasn’t clear whether the fundamentalists were mostly yelling at the liberal college students or vice versa; one counterprotest sign, held between two of the others, said “STOP NOISE POLLUTION” with arrows pointing to each side.

We looked at each other.

“Want to go make out in front of them?” Ali asked.

I checked the time. “Yes,” I said, “but the tour’s about to start. Let’s see if they’re still here afterwards?”

She acquiesced, and we spent a couple of hours learning about one of the schools I might transfer to in the fall. When we got back, the signs were gone, and the crowd had thinned out. Just in case they were still packing up, we walked past where the group had been, swinging our arms together cheerfully as we’d been doing all afternoon.

Sure enough, a man hurried over to us. “Girls!” he called out. “Did you already receive a gospel tract today?”

We looked at each other, grinned, and shrugged. She grabbed my face and pulled it down to hers, and I wrapped my arms around her as we kissed passionately.

“Jesus Christ can forgive all your sins,” the man insisted.

Ali pulled away and looked at him. “Jesus loves me, and he loves you too,” she said with a smile. Before he could reply, I leaned down to kiss her again.

The man was undeterred, repeating his message with barely an altered word, then turned to me. “Jesus loves you–” he began.

“–not as much as I love my girlfriend,” I decided aloud, then gave her one last happy smooch. She slipped her hand back into mine as we walked away. “That’s my girl,” I murmured, and squeezed it. Ali beamed and leaned her head on my shoulder.

On the bus ride home, at my request, she told me about her personal history with faith–one which is necessarily interwoven with her coming out story. (It’s not mine to tell, but suffice it to say that it’s not the stereotypical tragic drama you might be imagining when I say “faith” and “coming out” in the same sentence.) I wanted to hear it because it’s part of someone who’s important to me, but I asked at that moment because of her response to the man who offered us the tracts. She wasn’t angry, nor defensive, nor interested in engaging on his terms. Her response to his distaste was acceptance–calmly fighting fire with love–and I was so damn proud of her for that.

Loudly and Happily Deviant (a post for National Coming Out Day)

October 11th, 2011 by

I’m kinky and agender, but you knew that.

I’m also queer and polyamorous. Specifically, I have a boyfriend and a girlfriend, who are also those things to each other. This situation is new (well, my addition to it is), and I’ve been meaning to write more about it ever since Rowdy posted a call for consent culture narratives on the Pervocracy. Coming from longtime friends to lovers to crushes to triad has been exciting and occasionally scary (especially those last two!), but every step of the way I have felt overwhelmingly respected and cared for. I trust them not because I think nothing will go wrong, but because I have seen how they handle it when things go wrong and it made me feel safe.

Fuck the rom-com bullshit, that’s the kind of love story that needs telling. Boy meets girl; boy and girl meet genderqueer; boy and girl and genderqueer communicate openly about desire and emotion, have a bunch of incredible sex, and then realize that they’re actually super into each other. They discuss time, touch, and talk–what they need, what they can offer–and use what they’ve learned to start building a relationship. And then, well, have a bunch more incredible sex. Bam. There’s my pitch. Think the studios will bite?

Me neither, and that’s why I need to post it. With all of our care and straightforwardness and outright joy, we are still the deviants. There are still people who think our relationship must be boring because we talk honestly about it, and others who think it’s sick just because there are three people in it (and that’s before I even get to the part about hitting each other with sticks). And as long as those people control the narrative, there will be others who would be so happy in a relationship like mine, but will be afraid to seek one out … if they even know they have that choice.

I will resist the urge to exhort everyone who has something to come out about to do so. I recognize the incredible privilege of knowing that I will still have a roof over my head, food to eat, as much of an income as I have anyway, and the continued respect of people that matter to me if the whole world knows that I’m poly, queer, genderqueer, and kinky. Not everyone has that privilege (so when I write more about my girlfriend and boyfriend, I’ll be using pseudonyms). But if you share that privilege with me, consider posting your own story in whatever corner of the internet you inhabit. Let’s be loudly and happily deviant–for all the ones who can’t.