It doesn’t matter who you love, or how you love, but that you love. ~ Rod McKuen
I’ve been out since I was 20-ish years old. When I say “out” what I really mean is “my mom found out.” The last person in the world who I wanted to discover my confusing, and at the time shameful, little secret suddenly knew the truth. And once she knew, there was little point hiding anymore, so I was out. I didn’t shave my hair off, I didn’t plaster my dorm room with rainbows, and I didn’t even join my school’s LGBT group, though I wish now that I had. But I did bring my then-girlfriend to my sorority’s formal dances and I went to the local watering hole every Wednesday night for “family night” knowing that I’d encounter other sorta-kinda-maybe-out Trinity students where they would discover that this Greek Council president was also sorta-kinda-maybe-out. I was proud of myself for being strong enough to do that.
When I got my first job I closeted myself for 3 months or so…you know, just in case all those horror stories I heard were true. It *was* Texas. Then I just started talking about my weekends and home life and those stories always included my female “roommate” – and people slowly put two and two together. So I was out there too. And I was proud of myself for not living a lie.
After moving to Atlanta 6 years ago to be with my current girlfriend, I was a little more honest a little earlier in the process, and this time, I was even out to the vast majority of my clients and vendors and media reps. If conversation turned personal, I was honest. If it didn’t, I didn’t bring it up because why should I? 100% of our friends and 100% of our families know. I considered myself really out and was really proud of myself for not living a lie.
But now. Now I have a growing baby bump and am finding myself coming out almost daily. (“You must be thrilled that it’s a girl, but I bet your husband was really pulling for a boy!” and the like). I thought I was out before, but I had no idea. I’ve only lied by omission once so far – to a repair man who asked a question about my husband. I replied without noting gender in my answer. But other than that, out and proud.
And so the daily coming out continues. In fact, there was one client who I hadn’t told yet. In part because there isn’t much of a personal relationship there – it is strictly professional. But in part because my client is a very sweet, but very old fashioned 70+ year old man, of a very different generation. I figured he didn’t need to know. But my belly prompted my outing yet again. And yet again I was surprised by the joy, excitement, and even giddiness with which my news was received. His secretary immediately chimed in with her favorite quote, which is my new favorite quote. The one which opened this post.
And truly, I think that sentiment has been a common theme. If we recall and read between the lines of the reaction of those around us – since the beginning – it’s already been said time and time again, just not in those exact words. It just matters that you love.