Friday, April 27, 2007

In and Out, Out and In

When I moved to Seattle, I more or less went back in the closet. This wasn't a conscious decision; it just happened. Thanks to the internet, Dialogue, and the local media, everyone in Utah knows I'm gay. In Seattle, though, my fame is not exactly widespread. Telling people here that I'm gay would have required just that--telling them--and the truth is that I haven't done that in years. To write an essay or a blog post and let people read it or not read it as they see fit is much more passive and therefore more my style than forcing an "I'm gay" into casual conversation. And casually mentioning it would have required me to explain that yes, I am married, but no, I'm not some over-repressed religious zealot out to protect "traditional" marriage.

You'd think that it would be easier to slip it in now that I'm getting divorced.

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear about your divorce. Why are you getting divorced?"

"Because I'm gay."

The reality, though, is that no one would be so rude as to ask why I'm getting divorced. It's sort of a personal question and most people respect those kinds of social boundaries. I've had several opportunities in the last couple days to come out to various friends, but I have a hard time doing it.

"Wow, you didn't have your first kiss until you were 21? Were you really shy?"

No, I could have said, I just wasn't particularly interested in girls, and boys weren't an option because I was Mormon. Instead, I shrugged and said, "I guess."

"It'll be interesting to see how your kids react when and if you remarry, if your new wife wants to have more kids."

Yes, I could have said, I'm not sure whether I want to have more kids, but if I remarry that's something my husband and I will have to work out. Instead I made a strange guttural noise and a funny face.

The problem is that I have two conflicting values here: the first is that I really do want my friends to know that I'm gay. No, it's not who I am, but it's an important part of who I am and I'd like for my friends to know me well enough to know the important parts. On the other hand, I don't want to force the important parts of me onto my friends. I don't want to force myself on anyone. And at the same time, I don't want my sexuality to appear as important to me as it probably really it is.

I think I just need a t-shirt that says HI, I'M GAY, and I'll wear it to school and work for a week or two until everyone knows without me having to tell them.

9 comments:

Scot said...

If anyone asks a personal question in the territory of family life, then they opened up the topic of gay or not, as far as I’m concerned. I wouldn’t call correcting an assumption in such an area forcing anything.

I fear though the “Hi. I’m Gay” t-shirt should be plan B, or C, for the more oblivious coworkers (I had one guy even meet Rob and my kids and only figure it all out a year later!).

I just think, what would a straight person do in this instance? ;-)

Kristine said...

Um, actually, people *will* be obnoxious enough to ask why you're getting divorced. And they'll definitely ask FoxyJ if she's still going to church...

playasinmar said...

Shirt One and Shirt Two!

Th. said...

.

Unrelated:

AAAAAHH! That's a scary picture!

And, did you know the last six posts in the fobometer are yours? Are you trying to make the rest of us look bad?

playasinmar said...

What's a "fobometer?"

Petra said...

Shirt Three

Master Fob said...

Tempting, Petra, very tempting.

Playa, the Fobometer is the "Recent Fobbings" sidebar on the Foblog.

Sir Jupiter said...

"Instead I made a strange guttural noise and a funny face."

So instead of realizing you're gay, they're going to think that you went and lived in a third-world country and got a parasite?

That's *my* niche...get your own!

Mandi said...

Somehow I managed to miss this post when it was first made.Shirt #3... awesome.

As for the rest, it will get easier over time. Next time someone makes reference to getting remarried, you can say "well, if I meet the right guy"

Maybe have some pre-determined phrases that you kinda practice to yourself in your head so that when the opportunity arises, you one already and waiting.