National Coming Out Day

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):

 

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