The truth about coming out.
Every now and again someone asks me when I came out like, it’s a one time thing. It’s assumed that it’s “that” conversation with families and friends, a bit of a bump in the road, after which you just keep barreling along in life, leaving that chapter behind you and “living authentically yourself”. For most people who relate to this story, there is definitely a turning point, a potentially awkward or emotional chat with your closest family and friends (or maybe a couple) where you throw it on the table, and after which you don’t have to carry the weight of that initial conversation anymore.
But here’s the thing. I’m a 27 year old woman, last year I married the woman of my dreams, everyone we knew and loved were there, and yet I often find myself having to “come out” daily. I have the privilege of meeting many people in my days, I have been blessed with a happy and outgoing nature, but this often leads to awkward moments in conversations when people ask me about my husband. I get it. If you saw me on the street you might not guess that I am married to a woman. But that’s my exact point. When can we ever see someone and know everything about them from face value?
In my vows to my wife I promised her that I would never deny her or our relationship. And I can gladly say that I have stayed loyal to that but it’s damn hard some days. When people assume that you’re straight, and you have to correct them, it’s an incredibly challenging situation for someone in the LGBTQI+ community. I’m not asking to be presumed gay, I’m actually not asking for a judgement at all. I’m just asking for inclusive language that makes these interactions so much more comfortable for everyone. Next time you meet someone in passing, are making a new friend or work colleague, or making small talk at a bbq with a neighbour’s, twice removed cousin, try phrasing things in an open ended question. Try “Are you married?” “Do you have a partner?” Or better still, don’t ask at all and wait for them to feel safe enough to volunteer their personal information to you. The difficulty is not “coming out” the difficulty is feeling like we have to.