Lately I’ve been sensing (through what I read online and through conversations with certain family and community members) that others feel like I am challenging their way of being in this world. It’s not that the straight folks giving off this vibe feel threatened by my relationship with Marianne, or that they particularly think that our physical relationship (if they think about that) is “icky;” rather the vibe I’m getting is that I am challenging the status quo – their status quo. Like I can’t have a same-gender marriage because it somehow challenges their notion of marriage – and they don’t like it.
That’s not my intention. I don’t spend my days gleefully rubbing my hands together and constructing ways to make others feel uncomfortable, I simply live my life the best way I know how.
To the title of this post – it’s an overused quote from Audre Lorde but I really do think it’s true and appropriate here. My being silent about who I am does not protect me, not does it allow me to fully live the life I was called to live.
I watched the movie Bent the other evening. The plot is basically that Max is Jewish and gay and sent to a concentration camp in 1930s Germany. He pays off the guards and successfully “passes” as simply Jewish (earning a yellow star to wear) rather than gay (earning him a pink triangle to wear). The idea was that gay men were the lowest of the low and he tried to avoid that at all costs. While there, Max falls in love with another man who does have a pink star. Long story short, they both end up losing everything in the end. The fact that Max thought he was passing didn’t protect him.
We’re moving to Greenville, NC in about a two months and from what we’ve been told the city is not as open and welcoming to gays and lesbians as where we live now. But it is what it is. I’m certainly not going back into the closet, so I may as well be up front and honest with everyone I meet. That includes folks at whatever new job I have – they will most probably ask about the ring I wear on my left ring finger – the folks in whatever community we end up making there, potentially my neighbors if they ever realize what the flag and funny looking yellow equal sign on my car are – or take the time to ask me about it.
I’m not pushing anything on anyone – how they choose to view my life in relation to theirs is on them.
There’s also been talk that by Marianne and I being out and planning our wedding so publicly, it might be unduly influencing children to try “the gay lifestyle,” whatever that means. Again I say, I’m not pushing any lifestyle on anyone because it doesn’t work like that. But that fact that a child knows two women in a happy, healthy relationship can only be a good thing. If the child grows up straight, then they have learned to be more compassionate and loving toward everyone. If, by some combination of genetics and life and who knows what else, they turn out to be gay or lesbian, then they know they’ve got two allies to whom they can talk.
I am (finally) living exactly as I was made to live, fully realizing every aspect of myself and sharing that with others. I am always amazed at how fast authentic relationships can form when people stop hiding behind anything. I’ve said it before, being out is a choice that I cannot force on anyone. But for me, it’s the only choice that makes sense.