Now you are ready; it has been dark and lonely in that closet and sneaking around hasn't been good. Some co-worker saw you kissing your girlfriend "goodbye" in the office parking lot and had the courage to ask you if your were a lesbian. You decided to "out' yourself.
You gritted your teeth and were almost angry as you said "yes". When he responded with an uninterested, "oh" and walked into the building--then you were really mad. You had been hiding your gayness all these years, it was tough and all that person could say was "oh"!!!!
After Mathew Shepard was killed, I decided I would be "out" and be fearless.
So how far is "out" enough? It is all the way out. Is it worth blasting out of your closet for happiness? Oh, YES.
I created a tidal wave with my family and friends. All of them were taken aback, but only once.
Did I lose anyone along the way? A brother, who hasn't spoken to me since and he died without ever speaking to me again. This saddens me. I have never stopped loving him, but I would never return to my closet to reclaim him. Being happy with who I am just too fine.
I put a gay flag on my car, have a gay insignia on my checkbook; in the memo part of my checkbook. I often write "Lesbian money." No one calls me "missus" if they want to do business with me; they are all a little taken aback, but only once.
My co-workers on the newspaper loved and respected me for who I was. Then I retired and
when I applied for a part time job (other than writing) I told the store manager after a very successful interview that perhaps she might not like to hire me as I was gay; I certainly hoped she wasn't prejudiced ; I would like all my co-workers to know and I would tell each person because it may be too awkward for her. She was a little taken aback, but only once. She hired me.
As I worked told each co-worker I was gay, also I did not appreciate dirty jokes about gays, I refer to myself as "queer" and they should feel free to do so; if my gayness bothered them then they need only speak to me when necessary---they were taken aback, but only once.
Now I am so far "out" that all my co-workers forget I’m gay. But I do my best to remind them by calling myself the "queer" and I am the one who make the clean queer jokes---which they love.
When I later in my employment fell in love, the store staff excitedly told customers that I had fallen in love with a woman from Michigan. They did it with their heads held high. They were doing this for me--they knew that I was a good human being. I was reliable, trustworthy, and honest and they loved me as a friend. The fact I was queer was not an issue.
Did they take customers aback? Yes, but only once.
If as lesbians we are to be free, to walk safely, hold our heads high then we must be out.
I keep this note on my computer, all my mirrors and my refrigerator door:
In a world were people are killed just for being gay---It is important for me to say, "I am gay."