coming out, family, April Fool’s Day,
It’s April 1st again. For those who know me, you know that means it’s my coming out anniversary. I wrote a lovely series of posts about it back in 2011. If you haven’t read them before, I highly recommend them. (If you have read them before, read them again anyway. They’re worth it.)
I found it timely that this past weekend, I found myself facing a reminder that coming out is a process, and that while I started that process seventeen years ago today, it’s still not complete. There’s plenty of people — most notably people in my extended family — that don’t know or don’t realize I’m gay. I was reminded of this fact this past Saturday when I was attending a funeral for an uncle. After the service, two different people (one a second cousin and the other an old friend of the family) thought to ask me if I was married yet. (It was pretty obvious that the assumption was that if I had married, I would have married a woman.)
I simply smiled and said that no, I was still single. I didn’t figure that a time set aside for grieving was an appropriate time to expand on my answer. Certainly, given where most of my family is religiously and politically, it was not a good time to come out, which almost certainly would have created if not a full-fledged scene, a ripple.
Of course, I’ll also note that it’s nice to say “most of my family,” as over the past couple of years, I’ve actually found a couple new allies among my extended family. In fact, I was talking to one of them before one of the people came up to us and asked me “the question.” What was particularly amusing was the fact that being gay or being an ally, it can be difficult and risky at times to come out. I glanced at the person I had been talking to after saying “No, I’m still single.” We shared a smile.
To all those who are well on their way in the coming out journey, I would invite you to celebrate with me today. For those who are just beginning or are struggling with just coming out, I offer you my sympathies and understanding. And to those who have stood beside me, whether for most of those seventeen years or only the last few, I say thank you.
And for heavens sake, everyone, just stop asking single people whether they’re married yet.