They look at me, they look at her, they look back at me. It’s the quickest of glances, the smallest of pauses, and they say “just confirming that’s a double room?”
Yes. It’s a double room.
It gets tiring, you know, constantly coming out.
It happens more at the moment, what with the new country & new people & everything.
I knew, before I came out, that it would happen. I mean, I’ve had people do it to me – the assumption of heterosexuality is something I think we’ve all been guilty of at one point or another. But it wasn’t until now, almost two years after coming out myself, that I decided on the right feeling. It doesn’t make me angry, it doesn’t insult me, or make me sad; tired is really the closest I can get.
I’ve been thinking about this as we travelled around Britain, renting hotel rooms, setting up a bank account, getting a room in a flat, meeting recruitment agents, meeting new co-workers. Every time, a little voice just peeps in the back of my heard, a note of caution. But (so far and fingers crossed) everyone’s been … fine. Completely fine.
But still, the constant tiny little corrections get tiring. Worse is not correcting people. When I do that I’m tired and a little sad.
“My partner’s on a two year visa so we’ll probably head back to New Zealand then.” “Oh okay and what kind of work does he do?”
That was a moment I didn’t correct. I didn’t correct her and we continued the conversation but I had a ball of sadness in the pit of my stomach.
There also seems to be a trend among … allies (oh I do not like that word – I mean people who are down with the spectrums, gender and sexuality etc.) to say that sexuality should be a “who cares” or “need-to-know” kind of thing.
And while I support the sentiment, I can’t help but feel it’s dismissive of the importance of visibility to gay people.
It’s great you’re on our side but also um I care that Ellen Page is out, I care that Amber Heard is bisexual, I care that Angel Haze is pansexual. You can care in a positive way.
Also, I do truly believe you can’t live as a gay girl, with a girlfriend, renting hotels and hiring hotels and setting up bank accounts, without coming out to people who really don’t need to know about your sexuality. Whether those people care or not. Whether they care in a positive way or a negative way. That’s the risk we run to live our lives openly, to love openly. It’s a risk that’s ultimately worth it.
Because sometimes it’s kind of fun. Like getting a question from a new acquaintance, at a bar one Friday night …
“Is he not your type?”
“N… no, she’s more my type” she said, gesturing in my direction.
I grinned as I watched the realisation flit across his face. I wouldn’t change my life for anything.
Caveat: I’m very lucky – an educated, white, femme-of-centre lesbian living in a large city. I am swimming in a sea of privilege. I know this.