Today is National Coming Out Day.
Today is important. With the climate surrounding gay rights, as well as basic acceptance and tolerance out there these days, our best weapon for equality is to simply be visible. It is much easier for people to blindly hate or even passively discriminate and vote against LGBT people if they don’t know any.
But the thing is, most people do know LGBT people. Many just don’t know they know any. The point of today is for us to raise our hands and be who we are, openly, vocally and proudly. This is not a political post. This is a pride post.
As such, I would like to come out to your, my dear readers, officially. It’s not as if I have been in, not since I was about 13, nor have I ever even been subtle about who I am. I mean, have you noticed all the rainbows around here? Even so, I wanted to make it official here.
I am queer.
When I say that to people, I generally get three reactions: 1) “You’re not supposed to use that word, it’s bad.” 2) “But wait, aren’t you married?” 3) What is that? Does that mean you’re gay?”
In response to question 1, no it’s not a bad word, and you can tell people a queer girl told you so. It’s all about context. If you’re yelling the word at someone with a variety of other insults, then yes, that’s bad. If it is simply used to describe someone that has previously identified themselves as queer, a-ok.
In response to question 2, yes I am married to a man. If you’re straight and married, it doesn’t mean you lose your attraction to members of the opposite sex and become some other orientation that only sees your partner. You simply make a commitment. Getting married does not change who I am any more than a straight person getting married.
In response to question 3, let me explain it this way. When you’re straight, you’re attracted to the opposite sex, when you’re gay, you’re attracted to the same sex, when you’re bisexual, you’re attracted to both men and women. I don’t neatly fit into any of those boxes, although bi is the closest. Queer is generally used for people that don’t fit well into any of the above categories.
Queer to me means a person’s gender (their genetic gender or chosen gender) simply does not factor into my attraction to someone.
There is also the matter of why I have never ended up in a long-term relationship with woman, which is often brought up by others as evidence that I must simply be a confused straight person. My reasoning for that, I suspect, is the same as for a great number of women (but not so many men).
Much like someone with Asperger’s syndrome, subtlety goes right over my head. It takes a particularly male type of directness for me to know someone is interested in me. On the other hand, if I were to be interested in someone, I might just stare at them in a creepy manner from a corner until they leave.
Either way, in my grand total of 16 years of dating, I have been in exactly four real relationships. 4 is not exactly a pattern, but they have all happened to be hetero relationships. Lucky for me, I’m married now and really don’t have to worry about gauging anyone’s interest in me. It’s quite a relief, really.
So there you have it. My official coming out party on the blog. I hope this post explains a few things, and I also hope it encourages your to come out yourself, even if you were never in in the first place, or even if you’re just a straight ally. We love you guys too.