Archive for the 'coming out' Category

31
Mar
10

Passover!

After much talking about wanting to, and impatiently waiting for a Jewish holiday to fall on a weekend (Rosh Hashanah did, but we were queer camping), I brought Girlfriend, Esquire home for a family event on Monday. Passover specifically — I’d say Seder, but that’s not really how we roll in my family. It’s more like Thanksgiving in the spring, with less colonialism and no dinner rolls.

It went well. I expected it to, since it was my mom’s side of the family, but I was still pleased. My family was warm and welcoming, and no one blinked excessively when I introduced Girlfriend, Esq. as my girlfriend. I still have no idea whether half of them knew before that moment that I’m queer, but either way they were graceful about it. My grandmother was absolutely delighted to meet her. My insufferable uncle was the usual level of insufferable, there was no extra for or about us. (Funniest moment: when Girlfriend, Esq. told me later that she had looked at my uncle the moment before he said something outrageous, and even before he spoke thought to herself  “Hey, that’s the same expression my uncle has when he’s about to say something outrageous that he only half believes, to provoke all of the women in the room.”) And of course Girlfriend, Esquire was charming and lovely, as always. And there was chocolate mousse, and meringues. I declare the evening a success. The extra two days she was in town were a lovely bonus, too, and we made the most of them.

Next up: the other side of the family. A much more nervous-making prospect. Though I thought about doing that this time, even went so far as to ask my paternal grandmother if I could bring my girlfriend if I came to Seder — and she said yes. So that’s interesting, and probably a good sign, even if I was then a space cadet and forgot to tell them when we decided not to go. I’m not sure why I find the prospect of  that particular room full of people and my girlfriend so intimidating, but I definitely understand other people’s trepidation about coming out. What is a breeze with my friends and immediate family and at work is a bit harder here.

And Girlfriend, Esquire also intends to mention her marital status the next time she sees this side of the family. I do wish I could bring a partner home without having to come out as poly as well (and the thought of admitting my girlfriend is married to the *other* side of the family is daunting enough that I’m tempted to just not ever introduce her…clearly I need to spend some more time thinking about that). But that’s all in the future, and I’ll be on the lookout for opportunities to make it happen. In the meantime, I’m glad this went so well. I feel like I’m living a bit more in line with my principles, and that’s always a good thing.

Advertisements
29
Jul
09

Awww!!

I’ve written a lot here about my experiences trying to come out to my father’s side of the family, particularly my paternal grandmother. Short version: she doesn’t hear me, and even if she did, she wouldn’t want to talk about it.

That context makes a conversation I had with my maternal grandmother the other night even more lovely and refreshing. I already know she got it that I’m queer — she’d asked me what my “friend” did for a living, but I figured that was good enough. Then two nights ago we were talking about the small family get-together she’s planning. One of my favorite cousins is going to be in town briefly and has a couple of hours free Sunday morning, so we’re all going to my grandmother’s house so we can see her. Yay. And while we were working out the details, out of the blue, my grandmother says to me “You know, Aviva, I don’t know if your girlfriend is in town this weekend, but of course she’s invited.”

!!!

Aw.

I can’t tell you how much I lit up. The moment I got off the phone I called Girlfriend, Esquire; I couldn’t wait to tell her. That step from knowing to accepting and welcoming feels warm and fuzzy and wonderful. I wish Girlfriend, Esq. was going to be in town this weekend (thought of course if she was I’d already have called and announced my intention to bring her). I’m almost upset that we’ll be away queer camping when the family gets together for Rush Hashanah, which is finally on a weekend. But I’ll bring her to something and introduce her around eventually. And it’s lovely that she’ll be actively invited, instead of me informing them she’s coming.

And it gets cuter. My grandmother continued on to tell me that she’s joined a mailing list for discount theater tickets, and ask me if there was anything I wanted to see. She made a point of telling me about The Temperamentals, a new play about the two men who founded the Mattachine Society.”It sounded interesting,” she told me, “I thought of you.” It does sound interesting, but I’m sure it was the gay premise that made her think of me. And, um, aw. I’m not the Mattachine Society’s biggest fan, but right now I am my grandmother’s.

01
Jul
09

Well, um, that was anti-climactic

I went to that wedding on Saturday. And no one said anything. Just in case any of you were waiting with bated breath to find out how it went, like I was. Yes, that’s right, not a word.

My tweets from the evening amused me, though:

Katy perry is playing and still no one is asking me about my sexuality…awesome!

People grinding on the dance floor and I’m laughing imagining “my wedding*” and my relative’s reactions as I danced on+made out w/all my friends

Managed to avoid joining the single ladies hoping to catch the bouquet, so tempted to join the group of single dudes hoping to catch the garter…

Every woman has her price, and this evening was worth it for the chocolate covered strawberries.

And that pretty much tells you how it went. Apparently I’m out to my family now, and I never ever have to talk about it? Awesome, I guess? We’ll see how continuing to talk freely about my life goes. I’ll report anything interesting here, but apparently interesting things will not be happening.

On a brighter note, Girlfriend, Esq. and I had a delightful anniversary. Yay us!

*”My wedding” in in quotations because I have no intention at this point of ever getting married. It’s kinda funny to imagine what it might be like if I did, though.

26
Jun
09

June is the month of weddings! And Pride! How can I combine them?

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.

Continue reading ‘June is the month of weddings! And Pride! How can I combine them?’

24
Jan
09

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

It was a truly glorious weekend in DC. And I’m going to continue to refer to it as a weekend, even though it was five days long and I got home Wednesday afternoon (and I’m writing about it on the eve of another weekend.) Because I can.

Being at the inauguration was a marvelous experience, and one that’s been written about extensively elsewhere. We got lucky as far as travel goes. We slept optimistically late, and ended up getting on the Metro around 9:30. But even with train delays and a long walk on crowded streets to get around the parade route, we manage to get to the Mall (if the foot of the Washington Monument even counts as the Mall) by 11:15. We had a decent view of a Jumbotron (I cannot get over this word!) and could hear even though what we had taken for speakers when we chose our spot were actually lights for the Washington Monument. Within minutes of our arrival thousands of people had piled in behind us, with more coming.

It was an amazing crowd to be in. For one thing, it was probably the biggest crowd I will ever be a part of in my life. Possibly one of the biggest crowds that’s gathered to date, anywhere and for any reason? Instinct says yes, but I have no facts, and we all know how reliable instinct is in the absence of facts. Anyway, everyone was excited and remarkably good-natured. I always assumed that crowds of that size are, by their very nature, moments from turning into a mob or a riot. But this felt nothing like that. It was incredible to be surrounded so closely by so many people sharing the same moment of excitement, awe, and — oh, I hate how every time I use this word these days I feel like a campaign slogan! — hope.

Girlfriend, Esq. and I refrained from booing whenever Bush showed up on the screen, and from turning our backs when Rick Warren was speaking (nor were we wearing rainbows, aside from my ever-present shoelaces. That was more about not having any handy, though). Instead, we spent Bush’s moments on the screen and the entire invocation making out. Because sweet, loving same-gender kisses seemed a pretty clear, and thoroughly enjoyable, way to register my feelings about Warren’s presence. Mmm, peaceful protest.
Continue reading ‘Meanwhile, back at the ranch…’

07
Jan
09

Family and the Holidays

Did I forget to wish you all happy holidays? Sorry ’bout that.

As is often the case, the holiday season had me thinking about family. I’ve seen more of my family in this month and a half than in the ten and a half months before it. And that, especially combined with an upcoming family Bar Mitzvah, have me thinking about coming out. It’s been a major topic of conversation with me lately, and I have no idea how it hasn’t occurred to me before this to blog about something so pertinent that’s taking up so much space in my brain.

I’m a little bit ashamed to admit this, since it contradicts my self-image as a shameless, fearless bisexual superhero, but there are whole segments of my family I’m not out to yet. I’ve been out to my mother and my sister for years, and at some point my mother told my grandmother on that side, and she’s not sure who else. But until I very recently introduced Girlfriend, Esquire to one of my aunts and her husband and children, I wasn’t out to anyone on my father’s side of the family at all. (Which is not to say I’m not out to my father. I’m not, but that’s because he died nearly 12 years ago — before I figured out I was bisexual, let alone had a chance to tell him.)

There are a lot of reasons for this, and some of them vary based on what part of the family I’m talking about. And as a general principle, I’m not really into the big dramatic announcement. I prefer to slip out, mentioning a girlfriend or an ex and letting people figure it out. But until recently, I haven’t had a girlfriend serious enough to mention to my family, with all of the interrogations that would entail. I haven’t had a boyfriend serious enough to mention to them yet, either. There have been people I’ve been quite serious about myself, but no one I really thought might stick around for the long term.

Continue reading ‘Family and the Holidays’