I’ve been asked this question a couple times in the last month.
I generally don’t talk about my sexual orientation. I realize in a big picture way it’s much better to be open about it when you can, but I’m not a very forthcoming person in general. In my mind, it’s functionally pointless information to the majority of the people I’m close to; they shouldn’t care, I trust that they wouldn’t care, so why worry about it? And, honestly, I don’t know which letter I am in that acronym that’s gotten totally out of control (LGBTTQQIP2SAA+).
However, in light of recent events and the fact that I’ve confused people I’m close to, I’m rethinking my views. I’ve certainly never said that I’m straight, but thanks to my silence and the fact that I’ve always been in heterosexual relationships, everyone’s just assumed I was straight.
Here’s the story: For a long time, my partner’s been struggling with gender dysphoria. More recently, I became aware of her desire to transition. We sorted through our (mostly positive, but also anxious) feelings about it, and things started moving at a good steady pace in the right direction.
Our friends and family are kind of scattered across southern Ontario, so a couple weekends ago, my partner decided it was time to do a coming out road trip with me and some close friends at her side. She came out to her family and mine (my family is pretty much her family at this point), and she is now completely out as a trans woman. If any of this is confusing to you, you can take a second and do some Googling, my friend. Open a new tab. I’ll wait.
Everybody we visited was supportive, and it was actually a really incredible and heartwarming life experience. People were like, “Yay!” and, “Be true to you!” or even just a solid, “We support you.” Which really made my partner happy. They asked her questions, they hugged her, they assured her they loved her, and then they looked at me. Hmm.
Near the end of the trip, someone actually asked me that question: “Does this mean you’re…(lesbian)?” Of course, I expected the question, as a joke. But when I heard it, it suddenly dawned on me that I was coming out on this trip, too. Coming out as “not straight” at the very least, and confusing everyone by not actually saying it. Weird feelings ensued. Coming out is supposed to be such a huge deal, right? It’s scary and important. It was to my partner. It’s not usually an afterthought. But I honestly didn’t think about it until someone asked for clarification.
“Are you staying together?” seems like the more appropriate and pertinent version of that question, and I got asked that too. Although to me, it sounds just as absurd. Yes!
We’ve loved each other for six years and we make each other happier,
crazier, better people. And although I am mildly terrified (and so is she) that she’ll turn into a raging hormonal nightmare while she transitions, I’m not even a little scared that I’m not always going to love and be attracted to her. That’s a no-brainer for me.
Anyway, as I said, other than some understandable confusion mostly caused by me, everybody’s been supportive. Everybody that we’ve spoken to about it in person, anyway. There’s still some concern that a few people in our extended family might reject us when word really gets around. They might either pretend it’s not happening, or excommunicate us from their lives. Unfriend us on Facebook, scary thought. It happens. It’s a shame.
I’m really proud of my family and friends for calling her by her new name and using the right pronouns already. I know not everybody has people who will jump on board just like that. So I don’t mind when they ask funny questions like the one in the title of this post, or even when they ask if I’m going to “go the other way” (transition into a man).
Hang on, though!
It’s totally fine to ask questions, and people shouldn’t be afraid to talk about these things, but I want to make it clear to anybody reading this: questions that might out someone, like, “Are you gay now?” and, “Are you trans too?” are not okay. With anybody other than me, because I’m me. But you need to respect that some people might be hurt if you ask them that. You need to trust that they’ll tell you when they’re ready. If you’re not sure whether something’s safe to ask, do some of that Googling I mentioned earlier.
So yeah. In answer to that funny question… I think I’m B. No, actually, probably P. Let’s just say Q. One of the Qs. Both of the Qs? I don’t know. I still don’t really care. One more pic from The L Word to finish this off: