Today is national coming out day, which is appropriate because one of the first things anyone said to me today was, “I like your cardigan. It’s so soft butch.”
I have an unusual relationship with the queer community because, unlike most people, I did not join it as a cognizant teenager or adult. I got *the look* in second grade when I told other kids’ parents at my conservative, white elementary school that I had two moms. As my insight grew, I learned to recognize this as an amalgamation of surprise, pity, morbid curiosity, and perhaps disgust. I began to adapt as I approached middle school, choosing to avoid letting people know my reality in order to evade such reactions, which eventually came from my peers in addition to their parents. I dreaded when my mom would attend events because of the shame. I simultaneously resented her and felt pride at her deep comfort in her own identity.
In hindsight, of course, I feel extraordinarily lucky to have been taught this lesson (although the cruelty of the other kids, and indeed, their parents, hasn’t left me). Meanwhile, I never felt the need to come out. I was always just sort of gayish-straight. Straight with a gay spritz. Like my mom’s gin and tonic – gin with a tonic spritz. It seems fairly incidental to me, which I realize is a privilege that comes with having parents who give zero shits about my sexuality. But, then again, I was being made fun of for being gay years before anyone in my peer group even considered their own sexuality.
By the way, I went to an all-women’s music festival every year growing up, so my mom really went all in. Maybe I’ll make a post at some point about my deep understanding of 90’s lesbian culture. Spoiler alert: there were a fuckton of mullets.
In honor of National Coming Out Day and my childhood (seriously, how did I not turn out gay as shit):