Coworkers today are like family yes? We see them everyday and eat lunch with them.. we even start sharing our home life with them yes? Well when is it ok to share your home life and little mishaps when you are a lesbian? Do you worry about what they are going to think? Do you worry if your boss with find and let you go all of a sudden? Do you worry what they will say behind your back? Do you worry about the looks and the comments? I know I know I know.. we aren’t supposed to care and we should be able to separate our worries and emotions at work.. however I see people everyday that can and will tell all about their girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, significant other, and their kids. I get to hear all about fights, celebrations, family trips, kids school projects, and many other things.
Now the question is .. can I share my life? Well let’s see about this.. In the state of Michigan LGBT is not protected in any way under any work rights, home rights, and barely any children’s rights. In fact from what I’m hearing.. I can get fired tomorrow for being Gay and there’s nothing I can do about it. Sure I can call my heads of government and complain or file a lawsuit and join the other thousands of Americans in this state.. hoping by the time all the legalities are done and over I’m not even more broke with no income and no way to take care of my family or I can move on.
I get questions all the time about my family life and sure some people do “figure it out” and I can talk to them. However those that don’t or ask the wrong questions that frankly state they have no idea.. who or what I am. . I actually had my manager ask me about my husband a while back. Wow! What a strange question? I wasn’t sure how to answer him and since I don’t believe in lying.. I answered.. , “don’t have one”. He responded with, “good for you.. single mom”. I smiled and told him, “yep me and my boys are doing awesome!”. Then he followed with the question, “where’s your friend?” (This meaning my life partner) I told him at work and trailed off like nothing informing him of how close we were and how we help each-other out. Ummm… weird silence.. his response, “so you two are close buds..huh?” Of course I stood back a moment hiding my giggle.. then responded, “yep, we sure are”. Of course as soon as I saw the opportunity.. I changed subject and did everything I could to keep my facial expressions to myself. Now this is keeping in mind that she and I ride to work together, live together, drop each other off, come visit each-other’s work, call each other on smoke breaks just to hear each other’s voice for a few minutes, and of course talk about our boys! Everyone at work sees this and if questions are asked I answer; however this time my heart jumped and I started breathing heavily and doing what I could not to have perspiration so badly that it was noticeable.
What would have happened if I slipped up and thought of myself as normal like everyone else there? What would happen if I told him I was with a woman and will be 1 year in December? What would happen if all this sudden all the kindness and thoughtfulness that he has shown me in the past changed because he all this sudden knew.. I’m different? This is stuff that passes through my head all the time.
Me and my family can be in a store or dropping each-other off of work and I actually don’t care what people think and she has given me that confidence.. but we get stares and comments and treated like movie stars or aliens. There’s almost never an in-between. It’s like me kissing my love in public is some porn show that family’s can’t turn the channel to. What’s so different about us kissing and the guy kissing his girlfriend next to us? The sad part is. . the kids next to us could be 12 years old kissing and we will be looked at as a spectacle more than they will. I find myself worrying about getting her or I caught like little teenagers. The store is all pride and comfort and frankly the kids are very comfortable and happy with us. In fact, I talked to my little sister who’s 11. I asked her if she knew what they call people like me..
Here’s her answer: Yes, they call you Gay! So what! I don’t care! Why?
I asked her if she knew why they call us Gay,
Here’s her answer: Yes, they call you Gay cause Gay means happy and you are very happy! That’s ok with me! I love to see you happy!
I told her they also call me a “lesbian”
Here’s her answer: That’s RUDE!! You are Gay cause you are happy! I don’t like that word! That’s rude! That’s like using the “n” word for black people! I better never hear it cause I will get mad!
WOW!!!! What a response from an 11-year-old. What do you say to that? How do you respond to that? I mean I tried to explain the difference, but in a sense she was right in her own little world! Her words actually brought tears of joy to my eyes. Had I taught her that? I have never even been open in front of her or my kids till about 6 months ago. I have been naturally Gay my whole life, but never actually told my kids till about 6 months ago. I prepped them about my “friend” and that my “friend” and I would be together soon or later, but never came out and said I was Gay to them. At the ages of 5, 8, 11, and 11, the children of my household are well aware of my lifestyle and what it all means. They are very happy to see me happy!
When we all go to the store, movies, park, school events, family homes, or anywhere else.. they make sure that we (my partner and I) are very comfortable and happy! Bless their hearts! I’ve told them they don’t have to worry! I’ve told them that as long as I have my children and family I’m always happy!
Now you know that moment when you kids or little brothers’ or sisters’ open their mouth and say the damnedest things in public?
Well I have had those moments. I was at church and getting free food to help for the week and of course.. my little sis comes out with .. “do these people know you’re gay?” .. what she didn’t realize was her whisper wasn’t such a whisper and I quickly gathered her to my waist and hugged her and quietly whispered in her ear.. it doesn’t matter who or what I am here.. God love everyone!! She quickly pulled away and asked, “then why are you whispering? Why did you have to whisper to me that God loves everyone when I asked you if these people know you are gay?. Once again… looks, stammers, movements to the side, women closing their coats, and extreme quiet filled the room.
I couldn’t be mad at her.. I couldn’t be ashamed of her.. I couldn’t correct her.. again.. she was right!!!
I did try to talk to her later on and let her know that being Gay wasn’t all that excepted right now in the world.. especially in the churches. I tried to help her understand that everyone believes in something different and was brought up a certain way. Not everyone was brought up to believe or understand everything the same.
Her response was: “If this is how you have been your whole life, then what is there to learn or get used to?”
Oh Boy!!! I was in for it this time…
Needless to say, these conversations are coming up more and more often and getting harder and harder to explain. The sad part is I’m losing words to say cause I’m getting to where it’s hard for me to believe what I have to say! I can’t teach my kids or siblings what I myself don’t believe or understand. So in this world today.. step by step.. I’m hoping Michigan makes this easier on me and my family.. so I too don’t have to feel alienated all the time due to me and my partner sharing happy moment in public or due to me and my family being fully protected for health insurance, work assurance, housing assurance, and of course my rights as a citizen.. these shouldn’t change because I’m with a woman!!!!
- ‘Most people think it’s a party’: How difficult is coming out? (metro.co.uk)
- Michelangelo Signorile: If Manti Te’o Is Gay (huffingtonpost.com)
- Deidre Teen worries: Bullying over being gay is making my life a misery (thesun.co.uk)
- Silence of the Gays (lgbticons.com)
- Life…Amazing and unpredictable… (harrybrake.wordpress.com)
- Gay Military Couples Struggle For Recognition After DADT Repeal (huffingtonpost.com)
- Actor May Have Come Out As Gay (huffingtonpost.com)
- Teaching Tolerance and Diversity-How to explain other cultures to kids | Babble (babble.com)