Thursday, August 20, 2009

We Must Be the Change

The Femme Fairy Godmother wrote the other day about the Importance of Being Out:

Since the day I came out, I have believed that not hiding ourselves is a moral obligation that we all share but most particularly the adults among us. We owe it to our children – whether literally ours or figuratively ours – to show them that "gay" does not mean "sick" or "perverse." Not to show the heterosexual world that we are "just like them" but to show the children, by example, that they can grow up to have happy, productive, healthy lives.
Ever since I came out, I have never once endeavored to hide who I was. It's not like I go around introducing myself with "and, by the way, I'm a lesbian", but when the subject of spouse and family and home life come up, I have never shrunk from referring to "my wife". It's a situational thing. If we're discussing strictly work, it doesn't matter whether I'm a lesbian or not. But if you're chatting away about your husband, you bet I'm going to be discussing my wife.

I don't feel I have anything to hide, and I'm a firm believer that it's harder to discriminate against someone you know. It's harder to say "I know her, I like her, I respect her, but I don't believe she should have the same rights as I do because her spouse is the same gender." Most people who have any sort of interactions with us as a couple comment about how strong our relationship is. I'm not saying it's perfect, what relationship is? We definitely have our skirmishes and our lows, but, no matter how bad things get, at the end of the day, there we are. She's been there for me and stood behind me and pushed me when I needed pushing and generally been one of the most supportive, loving, accepting people I've ever known. I have no idea how many (usually single) people have said to one of us that all they want is what we have.

I'm proud of that. I'm proud of the relationship we have and the things we've accomplished together. I'm proud of knowing there's nothing we can't do, overcome or accomplish together

The thing about being femme is that you blend in with heteronormative society. This can be a good thing. I can use a public restroom without worrying about being questioned or thrown out. I don't have to worry about machismo men feeling like I'm threatening their masculinity (and, face it, in my experience, a good butch woman has more of the right kinds of masculine than any machismo). When I use the locker room at my gym, I don't have to worry about the other women assuming I'm just there to peep them. OK, I don't know if that happens, but I wouldn't doubt it - especially with what I've seen of how freakish women are about locker rooms and nudity.

Basically, because I blend, I can go places and do things that, sometimes, butch women can't do with as much ease.

The drawback to this is that being femme means that the coming out process never really ends.

Even heteronormative society, at least the majority of it, understands butch women to be, usually, lesbians.

Me? I look like any other fat straight girl.

Which leaves me two choices: leave it unsaid or clarify.

Of course, this depends on the situation.

Like I said, sometimes it doesn't matter what anyone's sexuality is. I guess my version of the perfect world is where nobody assumes the sexuality of the other, everyone assumes it doesn't matter at all, and we all talk about our spouses/lovers/dates freely, without fear of reprisal.

And so I live my life as though that were already the case.


Anonymous said...

Totally agree, it is a moral obligation. We absolutely need to normalise our relationships, for the kids if nothing else.
Good post, thanks fimg X

mrsb said...

Though not the same thing, I have similar feelings about my religious beliefs. I don't introduce myself with "Hi, I'm Mrs. B. and I'm a witch", but I don't hide it either (like I could with the big huge pagan tattoo?).

I also think, because I live in a more open community, that it's my obligation to be open about my beliefs, as there are so many who live in places where they or their children can be in real danger if they are out with their religious beliefs. Maybe I can show some of them that we aren't all stealing babies and sacrificing them to the dark lord while dancing naked. At least not on Thursdays.

dolphyngyrl said...

MrsB ~ As my wife would say... "Only on Tuesdays!"

And, yes, I do agree with you there, too. I love when people ask me on Halloween what I've dressed up as. I reply "Witch. Modern American."