I’m sitting on a bus to DC, on my way to my cousin’s wedding. It promises to be an interesting and exciting experience on the coming out front. I’ve written here before about my attempts to come out to my extended family. Basically, I feel pretty strongly about not sitting everybody down and making a big Announcement About My Sexual Orientation. That’s just not how I live my life. As someone I recently dated observed, my matter-of-factness about being queer is a political stance. The casual mention tells people both that I’m queer, and that I don’t consider it a big deal and don’t expect them to, either. (Obviously, in some ways I do consider it a big deal. I spend hours writing and talking about it, and have a whole politic evolved from it. But I also expect it to be one more fact about me that people will learn by interacting with me, not some big drama-causing deal-breaker; so I treat it that way and expect them to as well.) So about six months ago I started mentioning my girlfriend around them any time the conversation gave me the slightest pretext. I also started talking much more openly about my passion and convictions around and activism for LGBT political issues. My aunts and grandmother are the kind of women who hear “girlfriend” to mean “friend who is a girl,” but very few people talk about one of their platonic friends that much or in that way. Last month at my sister’s graduation, my mother helped me out by following up a comment about Girlfriend, Esq, with “And you two have been seeing each other seriously for a couple of years now.” My grandmother is really good at denial, and tends to just not hear things she doesn’t want to, but come on. A couple of weeks ago I asked my aunt whose daughter is getting married to let me know if she ended up having a brunch or anything on Sunday, since I’d be staying in town anyway to celebrate my second anniversary with my girlfriend [which, um, !!!!!] on Monday. I was being far too subtle to achieve my actual goal, which was finagling Girlfriend, Esq. an invitation to any family gathering that might be happening on Sunday — but I was definitely not being the slightest bit subtle about being in a long-term romantic relationship with another girl. You’d have to be really trying to miss it at this point.
So imagine my surprise when my sister called me a few weeks ago to tell me that there was all kinds of drama going down because I’d been outed to that side of the family.
Yeah. I am not making this up.