Coming Out Day, a Little Early or a Little Late

National Coming Out Day is October 11, so it’s come and gone for 2007 and it’s a long way away for 2008. It’s been a while since I felt any need to mark this holiday. But I recently got into a conversation about gay marriage on a mailing list I frequent, and I realized: for a lot of people, I’m in the closet. I’m a wife and mother, and some people—the people I’ve met recently, including my husband’s wonderful family—wouldn’t have any reason to realize that I’m queer.

So here we go. I’m a bi woman. I’m one hundred percent monogamous and one hundred percent devoted to my husband, but in the past I’ve had girlfriends as well as boyfriends. Not at the same time—that’s called being polyamorous, and it’s a different thing from being bi—I’m bi and I’m monogamous. But I’ve had girlfriends, at least one who I deeply loved, and she’s still important to me. I would never repudiate that part of who I am.

The way the dice fell for me, my soulmate is a man, and so I could marry him. But they might have fallen another way. I could have ended up in love, forever, with a woman. That’s why the issue of gay marriage is so very important to me. And also, of course, some of my dearest friends are gay, and I witness the very real and ongoing harm that our country’s unjust laws are wreaking.

I get a ton of legal benefits from being in a heterosexual marriage. That’s actually why I don’t talk more about being bi. It seems presumptive to claim a queer identity when I’m enjoying so much heterosexual status and privilege. But I came out to my friends and family a long time ago, and I’m not willing to go back into the closet.

Hearts and minds are changed when people realize that “gay” isn’t some scary person they see on TV, it’s a real person they know and love. I’m a faithful wife and a loving mother, and I’m bisexual. If you didn’t already know that about me, surprise! Maybe it won’t make a difference to you and maybe it will, but it’s something I want everybody to know. Happy Coming Out Day, late or early, and God bless us every one.

9 Responses to “Coming Out Day, a Little Early or a Little Late”

  • Dawn Says:

    I didn’t know that.

    However, I don’t feel it changes my perception of you.

    (this is genuinely what I think, but it reads very PC)

  • shannon Says:

    That’s okay! I have nothing against political correctness, personally–I’d rather be “correct” than wrong in pretty much any context!

  • Erin Says:

    I think you have guts, not that giving birth, or getting married didn’t already let me know you had them. I know your husband’s family 🙂 they’re great and easy going. They probably wouldn’t/won’t care just as much as I don’t. Good people are good people and thank God more and more people are seeing that.

  • Nina Says:

    *is shocked and horrified*

    srsly though, nice post. I’ve heard other married bi people talk about how they feel marriage obscures their queer identity; you’re really “passing” in the straight world, which is both a benefit and a burden.

    Identity is weird. What I *am* is bisexual, but past results do not predict future behaviors in this case — my future is 100% lesbian. That’s how people see me and treat me, and more and more that’s how I’m coming to see myself. I’m like, I don’t know, an immigrant to Lesbia from the land of Bi. I wasn’t born here, I could have moved somewhere else, but this is where I live and now I share the fate of natives, and I can imagine someday feeling like the life I’ve built here means that this is truly my country. Cripes, I just hope I pass the citizenship exam.

    Similarly, you may have moved to Straightville, but you will never be a native. And hey, some of your best friends live across the water. *sets up embassy*

    It is Metaphor Friday, isn’t it?

  • shannon Says:

    Thanks, Erin and Nina, for the support. I did actually find myself all nervous about the reaction to this post, which was weird for someone who has considered herself “out” for more than a decade now. And it tells me I did need to write it.

  • Todd O. Says:

    Hooray for Shannon! (I already knew this about you, but you don’t talk about it much, so it was cool to read.)

    I was born and raised in the Mormon suburb of Straightsville, passing briefly through Bisexualshire on my way to Gayville. Hooray for fun extended metaphors!

  • shannon Says:

    Thanks Todd! Yeah, I probably talk about it least with my gay friends, just because it seems really clueless to be all like “yeah I’m queer too! I mean, I get to get married, and I don’t have to worry about people being crappy to me when I go into some small-town store with my guy, and nobody’s going to question my fitness to raise my kid, but OTHER THAN THAT I’m just like you! Right? Right??? Gay high-fives all around!”

    But at the same time, I really, really do want to stand up and be counted.

  • Madeline Says:

    Nice work! This is certainly a topic I can relate to. Me too, on all counts. Believe it or not, I actually got married (to a man) *on* National Coming Out Day.

    I am out to most of my newer friends and acquaintances, and of course, to all my old friends and my immediate family, but not to my in-laws. I haven’t figured that one out yet.

  • Inside Out » Archive » Coming Out In Comics Says:

    […] (originally posted at National Coming Out Day is October 11, so it’s come and gone for 2007 and it’s a long way […]

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