To The FemmeMobile! Away!

{March 2, 2012}   Coming out again. And again. And again…

One of the things about being femme, and being not-particularly-high femme, is that I blend. It means I come out a lot, to both gays and straights. Somtimes it gets annoying, but mostly I don’t care. (Q seems to enjoy it; it makes us blend when she doesn’t want to be noticed, she gets a kick out of it when I tell people I’m gay — usually by mentioning my girlfriend — and I think she likes that I’m so willing to be out when I could as easily fake straight.)

Anyway, I had a hilarious moment in my dog class the other day. One of my straight clients, Bev, is in her 60s or 70s. She wears brilliant blue contacts and dyes her hair jet black. She’s the epitome of eccentric in clothes, mannerisms, speech, etc. The woman has Flair. I have no idea if she knows I’m gay, but I don’t make any secret about it. Several of my clients know that my assistant trainer is also my girlfriend.

Anyway, we were just winding up class, and I mentioned that I was going to Cancun in May.

Bev: Oh, how fun! Where are you staying?
Me: I have no idea! Some resort. There’s this group called Olivia, and they rent out a whole resort or a whole cruise ship and stock it with no one but lesbians. *big grin*
Bev: Oh, you’re going to have fun!

And then she gave me this saucy, knowing look. I nearly killed myself laughing! (So did everyone else, though the couple from Iowa, who hadn’t known, gave me a double take before they chuckled! It’s impossible to tell if they were surprised I was gay, or surprised that I, specifically, with my lack of gaydar-waves, was gay. They didn’t seem terribly alarmed, so I’m guessing the latter.)

I had another coming out moment, as well. I’ve been asked to guest lecture at the Los Gatos High School a couple of years running now, and every year Steve asks me, “Have you ever used positive reinforcement on people?” To which I say, “Yes!” And think up a demonstration. Now, mostly I think of Q, since I’m around her the most, and the past two years I stumble over that. “I was out with my — er, uh, friend, and we were…” I know high schools can be funny about gay stuff, so even though Los Gatos is lesbian mecca, I didn’t want to get Steve in trouble.

Well, I have another client who’s a teacher there, and I saw her a few days ago. So I told her what was going on, and said, “Paris, I have a girlfriend but I don’t know what the policy is and don’t want to get Steve in trouble. Would I? I also don’t like censoring myself, and generally don’t bother to; I’m not interested in hiding this aspect. What can you tell me about school policy?”

Paris was hilarious. She said that, like anywhere, they had their intolerant people, but that school policy was progressive. They have a Gay and Straight Alliance, diversity and tolerance posters all over, “Safe space” triangles, and the teachers and staff have all been coached on what to say if they hear someone using the terms “fag,” “faggot” or “gay” in negative settings. So, she said, I should be perfectly fine in saying anything I’d like.

Then she got excited about it. “In fact, if anyone said anything to you, they’d get in huge trouble. We have — do we? We do have other out staff, and if they’re comfortable with it we encourage it so the kids are exposed to more types of people and have role models. And you’re successful and happy and top in your profession, so that’d be great!”

I had a good crack up (and was flattered). And she was even more excited that I’m comfortably out and talk about it casually. I couldn’t decide if she was proud of me or if she was excited that the kids would have a good role model/stereotype breaker. I’m not sure SHE knew which was true! Likely both.

It always cracks me up in a strange sort of way when someone is proud of me for being out and honest about it. I mean, I’m so divided. It’s totally ego-stroking to be praised for it and have someone be proud of me. It’s amusing that they’re proud, because it’s not like it’s something they helped with. It’s frustrating that they’re proud, because it shouldn’t be a big enough deal to be proud over. It’s distressing, because it’s a sign of how much even straight people realize that it’s difficult and scary to be out, and it shouldn’t be. Such a maelstrom of emotions.

Mostly I let the happy ones surface and try to acknowledge but let go of the less happy ones.



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