Lesbianism Declassified Part II: The Other Side of The Door
A week ago the rainbow banners yet waved and people were kicking down closet doors, proclaiming their sexuality proudly, right? Wrong. While many of us enjoyed the privilege of coming out as LGBTQIA and Allies, there are many who do not and did not participate and it would be negligent to not share their stories, which is also my story.
For some coming out poses a very real physical threat and can carry more heavy emotional, social, and psychological burdens than being closeted. There are still 76 countries and political entities with anti-LGBTQIA laws. As of 2014, there were still 17 states that had yet to formally repeal dated sodomy laws that includes a range of sexual conduct, including oral sex between consenting heterosexual partners. (They tried the F*** out of it, literally. No head for anybody).
Coming out 50-leven times didn't stop my Grandmother from telling my children that I was an abomination and leading my "little family" to hell, nor did it stop her from using the word dyke with all of the venom of it's original intent. The reality is, when I was testing the waters, identifying as bi-sexual, I heard all of the judgments that made my choice to stay in the closet easier. I heard the epithets slip so easily from the mouths of people I loved and respected, imagining each time what words would be deliberately hurled at me if I revealed my truth. That very real fear paralyzed me. I functioned in a box, with other boxes that I checked too regularly to make sure I was being as heteronormative as I could (I was very bad at it!) I stayed in abusive relationships rather than potentially risk being ostracized, rejected, and discriminated against.
A cursory search of the internet will populate multiple articles on the psychological affects of being in more than coming out. The language even seems to lean into a preference towards coming out. It is often lauded as being brave, courageous, bold, audacious and is often seen as "a" or "the" goal of the LGBTQIA community. To be clear, coming out is an individual choice, each person is entitled to make their decision according to what works for their highest good. There are bonafide advantages and disadvantages for each choice and you alone are empowered to decide. Additionally, you are not required to sacrifice your life/lifestyle/choices/sexuality on the altar of activism. Who you are doesn't have to be politicized. Choosing to live your truth, whatever it is and however you do, doesn't automatically enlist you rank in file into The Struggle.
Whatever you decide, you deserve to be loved, supported, and equally celebrated publicly or privately.
Not that you need it, but I've shortlisted the reasons why I love, support, and celebrate your decision.
1. STRENGTH- After all choosing not to come out takes a great deal of internal strength You will most likely be navigating this experience without the support of the larger LGBTQIA community and maybe little or no family/friend support. That is BRAVE and COURAGEOUS AF! You are a real BAD ASS!
2. COURAGE- It takes courage to live the life you want, the way you want to. You made a choice that works for you and it may often feel like it's you against the world. But, it's not! I am over here cheering for you! Go YOU! Be YOU! Do You Boo!
3. WISDOM- The Serenity prayer asks for the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change, what you can and the WISDOM to know the difference. You are STRONG enough and COURAGEOUS enough to be yourself in ways that suit you and you are WISE enough to figure it out. Go ahead smarty pants, give yourself a pat on the back.
Coming Out is a process just as much as Staying In and that process can be a moving target. Be gentle with yourself, give yourself permission to be happy and in harmony with your choices. If you don't have an army of support, I'll be your army of one!