#30daysofpride: Day 6 : Who was the first person you came out to?
I’m sure one of the first people I came out to as queer were friends in high school. That wasn’t much of a notable coming out because I hung out within a local punk/hardcore scene that was very queer accepting and because people had been interpreting my masculinity as lesbianism since I was in grade school. It was just generally assumed I was queer, I only had to affirm their guesses when they asked…and they did ask.
The first notable coming out I remember was unintentional.
I was 16, and was in the throws of several social awakenings. In the local punk, skater, and stoner crowd I found, for the first time, people who didn’t seem to punish me for my differences. They seemed to like me. I was in love….or something like it.
One particular new friend I met in an art class. A. was a junior to my sophomore. She was confident, funny, dismissive, and beautiful. She threw her head back when she laughed. She talked about how frustrating it was being the token non tiny femme Korean girl in a subculture that objectified Asian women. She wore oversized houndstooth pants and doc martins…and she absolutely and embarrassingly knew I had a crush on her. I was so smitten. I wrote her love poems in secret.
One weekend I came home, to my mom, who was inebriated as usual. I can’t remember now what precipitated my emotional state specifically, but I asked my mom in a hushed fervor, how I could tell if I was in love. My moth was immediately on high alert, wanting to know who I thought I was in love with. I was to nervous and embarrassed about the potential for being wrong about my feelings to answer. After many shouted demands in a shrill panicky voice she pounced on me, pulling my hair and wrestling me into the living room. She screamed, “Is it A?”
I was so shocked and surprised all I could do was whisper, “how did you know???” I must have been talking about her a lot.
Once she calmed down, she told me that it likely wasn’t real love, both practical advice for a teen with their first crush and advice heavy with homophobia. For years after that she referred to my queerness as a phase and outed me to both my father and step father in ways that had multiple negative impacts for me.
The first people I likely came out to as trans was an online parenting group I was a part of. They were as accepting as they could be.
When I told my then husband he paced the living room anxiously.
“But you aren’t gonna get the surgery are you?” he asked, more or less.
People were often superficially more accepting of my being trans, than my being queer…however that was actually because people categorically didn’t understand 95% of the time.
“you’re just you honey, you’ve always been a tomboy” they would say laughing in a conspiratorial and dismissive manner.
As trans narratives have become more mainstream, people understand a little more, though their understanding is still limited and problematic. Still they are therefore much more disgusted, awkward, anxious, or offended then they used to be.
Today, as a transmasculine enby who doesn’t fit the stereotyped queer aesthetic… who isn’t young or thin, who is unable to bind, who’s disabled body is no longer able to communicate in carriage and gate, my inherent queerness…who can’t stand the sensory input of button up shirts and can’t afford an elaborate wardrobe, who has children in arms, I am forced to “come out” constantly.
The dominant colonized, white, queer narrative doesn’t allow for my existence, for the existence of people like me and so here I sit, shouting it from the roof tops at all times.*
I am here. I am Queer. I exist Dammit.
I’m also pretty fucking tired, but being complicit in my own misgendering and erasure (and the misgendring/erasure of my peers, friends, and chosen family) is no longer an option. So on I plod.
*it is worth noting that this silence and erasure is even more violent and oppressive for IBPoC who are othered by the very nature of not being white, while inheriting a generational murder and appropriation of their own indigenous cultural sexual and gender identities