Just when I think I'm pretty accepted in mainstream society, I get a humbling reminder of my second class citizenship.
I can't be very specific, but I was asked to hide my identity as a lesbian in a certain situation.
That never feels good. I told you when my sister-in-law asked me to take down my blog logo from Facebook b/c she was afraid her teen cousins would start asking questions. That hurt because I just don't think lesbian is a dirty word. I also don't think teens are unfamiliar with lesbians.
These little moments happen all of the time and some of them are self-imposed. Each one chips away at our comfort and should remind us that we are second-class citizens in this nation. It doesn't have to erode our confidence or self-respect, especially when we comply willingly, but it hopefully galvanizes us to take action.
I told my sister in law “no” and she unfriended me for awhile. I went on weeks/months later to begin changing my avatar anyway so it wasn't a big deal when she came back (she asked me, though!). In other scenarios, I acquiesce to keep the peace, avoid the argument or simply out of respect.
But I feel it and if possible, I try to explain that to the other person. They may not hear me or agree with me, but I give it a try. The trouble is that to most people it doesn't seem like a big deal. It seems “easy” because I simply don't need to bring it up. Until they ask me if I'm married, etc. Then I have to lie. The sticking point for me, however, is Ledcat. To deny her role in my life is hard to swallow. She's the most amazing woman of all time and I want to sing to the heavens about the fact that she loves me. So that's really tough.
The other tough thing is acquiescing to the words “lesbian” or “gay” being negative.
I'm a public person. I'm coming up on five years of blogging, three years of tweeting and so forth. Being a lesbian is a very prominent part of my identity. I can play straight if necessary and there are times I'll sacrifice for what I define as a greater good.
The request was reasonable and I understood the rational. I just wish it weren't necessary. I wish things were further along. I think that's something Democrats need to understand … these quiet moments of discrimination are directly tied to the public messages surrounding the gay community. If we don't have heroes outside of Hollywood and Broadway … we just continue to sit in the corner and wait for our turn.
At least, we used to until brave men and women repeatedly chained themselves to the White House fence. If nothing else, they gave us real heroes — active heroes — to remind us that we can offset these little moments if we are brave, too.