Insensitivity & inquisitiveness only leads to trouble

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything because nothing profound has happened to me. I have never walked around my school feeling like I’m lying to everyone, feeling like I have this big burden that I’m trying to cover up — until yesterday.

A few of my friends and I were sitting in a classroom, just relaxing as most everyone else had dispersed for lunch. One of my friends said that she had giant, inflatable men in her house (as part of a project) and I jokingly said, “Ha, me too, except I have actual men…A dozen, real men are just in my house, haha!” Everyone laughed along — it was funny, not awkward.

Then another friend, someone with a very brash, insensitive, inquisitive personality said, “You know, I’ve never heard you talk about guys or anything like that…And I can’t really see you, like, with a guy.” “Yeah, I can’t either,” my friend with the men chimed in. Gee, thanks, I thought.

This isn’t the first time my insensitive friend has said it’s odd that I don’t talk about boys with her. It is the first time she said she can’t see me with a guy, which I took as an insult.

“I’m a pretty private person,” I said, “There are a lot of things I don’t tell you guys about.”

One of my other friends, who kept quiet most of the conversation, said, “Oh, yeah, I see that.”

“But, like, you’re really into a lot of gay people…like Neil Patrick Harris is gay, Ellen and Portia are gay, Lady Gaga’s bi,” the insensitive friend said. Again, not the first time she’s brought up these names to me, and suggested that the celebrities I am fond of are indicative of my sexuality.

“Hey, have you ever thought about being a lesbian?” my friend with the men asked. She donned a smirk and contained a laugh, ready to ridicule the very thought of girls liking girls. I was surprised to hear this coming from her — she has a lot of gay friends and I’d assumed she was more delicate with this subject, but now my perception of her has changed completely.

I just laughed a little and responded, “Haha, uhh, what are you asking me?” God bless my other friend, who had been watching this conversation draw out with concerned eyes and the decency to know its inappropriateness, who said something else to change the subject.

Anger, embarrassment and confusion swirl through my head, but mainly I come away knowing this: insensitivity and inquisitiveness only lead to trouble, and I should be more careful around people who don’t understand sexuality’s delicateness.

Inadvertent Regret

Coming out is supposed to be a great, liberating thing. It’s supposed to be a gay person relieving himself or herself from this heavy burden that he or she has been carrying for far too long. But I’ve found that coming out inadvertently becomes a burden that is just being transferred to a few trusted people.

Things would be different if we all came out completely all at once. Meaning, if we came out to everyone we knew in the same day, same moment, same announcement. And for some people, that may be possible, for others of us, it’s definitely not.

Some of my friends have been out for many years, and when they describe their coming out, they describe only doing it a small handful of times: once to their mothers, once to their other close family members, and once to their close friends. As a younger person, having less of a role developed, it’s easier to come out and adopt society’s “new role” closer to day 1.

As a person gets older, society claims more and more of them. You’re defined by the things you do, the people you associate with and the way you hold yourself day to day. As a mature person when society knows almost everything about you, it’s more difficult to come out and burst the perception of who you are. It creates more of a shock, more of a buzz. More people now unwilling to collaborate with you in the same way, more people who have a perception of the queer community that they disapprove of and now associate you with.

I’ve noticed, that when people pass their pre-/early-teen years, they feel more of a responsibility to come out slowly. And oftentimes, in this process, sharing a secret with others only makes the mess more unruly.

When personal issues come up, it feels natural to go to the people you’ve trusted with your coming out, because they know more of you than others. But after some time, after what seems like deviation to this person or small group of people for everything that you’ve been holding inside — it becomes too much to ask of another person. It becomes too much to ask them to hold and I feel guilty, inadvertently. It’s an accidental regret that weighs down.

Coming out is supposed to be a beautiful thing. But sometimes, it’s just too much.

Further

Sorry to be off the radar for so long. Didn’t have much to say.

But now I do again. It’ll take some explanation:

My sister has always known that I’m a strong supporter of LGBT (or as I now refer to as queer) rights. She knows I’ve never dated any boys and she’s probably a little skeptical seeing that I’m 17 and haven’t shown much interest in dating (boys). She’s smart enough to be questioning about me.

I have a feeling that she knows that the background on my phone is of my celebrity (woman) crush. I have a feeling that she’s seen it when I’ve carelessly flaunted my phone in front of her and that she acknowledged and registered what it meant. I know this because she didn’t ask me about it.

I know she won’t be surprised to find out that I’m gay, but it’s still so unsettling to come out — to anyone. I’m reading an autobiography where the writer is a mostly-closeted lesbian coming out to her brother. Her brother gets kind of upset when she tells him — he supports her fully and loves her nonetheless, but he’s mad that she didn’t tell him sooner, afraid and assuming that he’d be a close-minded bigot unwilling to accept his own sister. I know my sister won’t be confusingly angry about it, so I’m not worried about that. If anything, reading that part of the book last night gave me a little bit of an extra push, extra confidence.

The only hesitance I have with telling my sister is that she is the type of daughter to say, “You should tell Mom and Dad. They won’t care and they’ll be really great about it.” Her relationship with our parents is very different from mine. I’m honestly not as close to them as she is — I don’t tell them the gossip among my friends like she does, I don’t detail my every action of every day like she does. I don’t usually feel like I need to ask Mom and Dad for help, support or advice for every little thing I do. If I need anything, I usually go to my friends first because I can relate better, they understand better. I’m content this way, and that’s fine. But her reaction will undoubtedly be a little pushy — something I don’t want.

* * *

I’ve been having my sister read my college essays as I work through them so that she can offer suggestions. I just finished an essay in which I mentioned “sexuality being questioned”. It’s my way of subtly dropping the bomb without it going off. I take pride in being vague. Who am I referring to when I write about the “questioning” of sexuality, or when I relate it to something “tormenting”? It’s probably me, since it’s my college essay, but I never downright say so. It’s open interpretation. I know that she’ll be smart enough to know it’s me, but I don’t need to deplete all my energy by formally coming out.

Shannon & Seema give me hope

A few weeks ago I posted Dream wedding, crushed. I told my friend (“The lesbian friend”) how upset I was and explained everything, over text.

A few days later she sent me some links to a lesbian-Hindu-Christian wedding. The ladies are Shannon and Seema and they were fortunate enough to find a priest willing to combine the traditions of both families to wed these two women. They both got their dream weddings — Seema a traditional North Indian one, and Shannon a traditional American one, all mixed together.

BuzzFeed documented the story with Shannon’s narration here.

The model crush

If you recall my post “#4: The stranger“, you’ll know that I told my camp instructor that I was gay in an email. She requested some information from the 7 of us in her group, and I mentioned it because it kind of came up. She didn’t reply to that email, but she didn’t reply to anyone’s email from our group for that thread, because she just needed the information. (In short, she wasn’t being rude).

I fell for her when I saw her. And I laughed at myself for it. Continue reading