29 May 2009

Easy was a long time in the making

kilax left a comment on my last post about coming out to my brother that read: "You make it sound so easy ;)"

I get the playful ironic tone which she intended (at least that's what I perceived), but I felt it was important to trace some of the journey to that moment so as not to make light of it.

My reply (with a couple of minor revisions):
To be fair, it was about 16 years in the coming, and a lot has changed in that time. The closest thing to lesbians/bisexual women on TV back then was pretty much Xena. There's a lot more LGBT visibility now.

When I was in middle and high school, the worst things you could call someone were: dyke, queer, gay, lesbian. I didn't know that I was bi back then, nor did I get called those names, but the fear of ridicule was very strong. I just stayed under the radar as much as I could. It was a really small school, and I'd known most of those kids since kindergarten.

Even once I figured out I was bi at a very LGBT-supportive college, I was still gunshy about being out for fear of ridicule, financial reprisals in the case of family, or actual violence.

The film I made in grad school about a bisexual woman was the first time I was out to my peers and people I didn't even know, beyond friends. My family either didn't get it or chose to deny it, but everybody else who saw it then assumed I was gay. (Binary thinkers, that group.)

I convinced myself that I'd made a good faith effort to bring the topic up with my family, so coming out to them didn't really matter to me anymore. It fell under the "If you can't ask, you're not ready to hear the answer" realm of thinking.

No one really made the argument to me that visibility matters until I was watching the Brunch With Bridget vlogs recently.

When I wrote about coming out to my parents and brother over these past few weeks, it probably did come off as easy, perhaps even inconsequential. So far, nothing has changed in our relationships. However, my outlook has changed.

There's now no one who could hear about my sexuality via indirect channels that would matter to me. Everyone from high school or my small home town (where I currently reside)--who cares?

To all the LGBTQ youth who come out to their families as soon as they know: you are brave, awesome rockstars. I admire you. The world needs more of your courage, passion, and integrity.

A year ago on TTaT: In the Frame


  1. Thanks for sharing more of your story, and I did mean it in a playful way. I have more to tell you if you can send me your email address.

  2. Ooh, now I'm intrigued. I left a comment on your site that has it, or you can use the yahoo address listed at the top right of my blog by my user pic. Just write out the back end of it as @yahoo.com