i had a strange experience at work on friday, in which i talked at length with four middle-aged female co-workers about queerness, without disclosing myself as a queer person. these ladies know that i have a boyfriend who i’m buying a house with. they don’t know that my boyfriend spent nearly two decades living as a woman, or that i spent five years of my life in love with a woman in particular and the previous five years of my life in love with women in general. there was actually a moment when i could have come out very easily, when a co-worker asked me jokingly, “oh, do you know all of this stuff from personal experince?” and i kinda froze and then another co-worker jumped in and said, “she’s young! she knows a lot of gay people, because it’s okay to be gay now. it’s not like when we were young.” and i didn’t really feel safe saying, “no, actually…”
so i felt like a giant sell-out assimilationist loser all day afterwards. but then i started wondering, is it really so important for me to come out? right now, i am not super actively queer. my relationship is fairly queer in many ways, from how our bodies are to how we have sex to how we relate to each other, to all the genders we embody and emulate and are. but are the intimate details of my relationship really anyone’s business, especially the business of co-workers who are all straight, married, middle-aged, whom i never see outside of the office? i am not currently attracted to any women, i don’t want to have sex with any women i know, i don’t really dream of any ladies, don’t check out cute girls on the street. back when i had a girlfriend, i was always out about it, even on the construction site and within my family, two fairly unsafe environments. i never called her “my friend” or “my boyfriend” when telling stories about her. but now everything’s so much more complicated.
my co-workers, to my surprise, were very open-minded about gayz (after that initial comment). two of my co-workers commented on how a lot of the gay people they knew were nicer and kinder and more worldly than the straight people they knew, because they’d been through so much, which kind of warmed my heart. also, the tough security guard (who i totally read as queer at first) said, “what i don’t understand is why females want…[miming the shape of a dildo on her crotch] the apparatus!” i have so much to say on this subject, but i wasn’t really in the mood to discuss it with a bunch of straight women who i have to work with every day, so i said, “uh….why do you think they want it?” this woman seriously would not drop the subject of dildos, just going on and on and on, until someone said, “do YOU want a dildo?” and she got a real sassy look on her face and said, “no, i got the real thing at home, honey!” life certainly takes you places. if you’d told me six months ago that i’d be sitting in an office discussing sex toys with a bunch of straight ladies who are my mom’s age, i’d have thought you were crazy.
p.s. so, i kind of like “o” magazine & was pleased to learn that they published a very good, sweet article on falling in love with a transgendered man. it was one of the sweetest articles i’ve read in a while anyway, and the fact that it was semi-relevant to my life made it all better. despite the huge boom in people identifying as transgender in the past few years, there’s pretty much nothing out there for partners of transpeeps. incidentally, an article i wrote for partners of transpeople should be in the spring 2010 as-of-yet-unreleased issue of original plumbing, so look out for that!