Everybody knows that coming out as gay or lesbian in a continuous process. Every time you walk with that posture, that haircut or that outfit into the doctor/post office/airport/garage sale/gym/grocery store/library/tupperware party, you are coding for your sexuality as they are about to see it. Open up your mouth and your voice gives away your supposed gender relative to your visible body hair or lack there of. You can say the word “partner” to see who flinches and divide the knowing from the willing to try and the hilariously disdainful.
But these days, when I use the word “partner” I am not just noting that there is a person in my life who is worthy of being my peer, medical will executor and slutty cohort, I am, in fact, also trying to sound as gay as possible. With my haircut and posture and generally smart ass attitude towards straight people, it’s pretty easy to assume that I am the dyke I claim to be, until I flap my gums and reveal that my partner is a scrotum toter. A teste fest. Penis porter. Functioning sperm poisoner. Heat injection system.
When this little tidbit sneaks out and the eyebrows go up, depending on how much I feel like mollifying, I can either quip, “Don’t worry he’s gay, too” or “He’s pretty much a lesbian with a penis. He likes tea and processing even more than I do.” But rarely in these scenarios am I feeling feisty enough not to run back to him and sniff his neck for reassurance, as he gets the same gut tingles when he reveals my gender at the Men Who Love Shtupping Other Men clinic. At best, we are regarded by highly amused and accustomed San Francisco queers as a locally-bred anomaly to be patted on the head and trotted around at art openings. At worst I don’t stop myself before over-defending us and end up begging for inclusion into a group of lesbian moms.
“You see, we’re both queer, and I identify as a lesbian, or more often dyke, because it sounds dirtier, and he identifies as a gay man. We’ve always both been a little flexible. He identified as Bi for a while, before queer was the broader thing to be. But I didn’t. I think only once in a diary I said Bi, but even then I knew for sure that I was a lesbian. He’s my only exception. Well, almost, if we don’t include trans guys and all of the potential guys I would stick it into if they were interested and treated me more like a human than a girl. But seriously. I am totally a lesbian and you should include he and I in your mind, this very second, as very, very gay people. We have grown up in your subculture, make lots of jokes about straight people and, in fact, still frak lots of people of our own genders at tupperware parties, where if you attend and watch, you can, in fact, proof positive, see my skills in action. Banging the ladies. Rug munching. Please immediately agree that we are obviously one-hundred-and fifty-five percent homosexual.”
So, now I’ve come out as a dyke, as being in a lifetime skin-on-skin relationship with a man-milking sperm shooter and – drum roll please – as having an open relationship wherein my mammary-challenged beaux and I have tupperware with other people.
I don’t really see the big deal that we’re both such sociopaths that we don’t really care who each other shtup as long as we pay enough attention to each other and don’t get lube on my favorite chair. But, while I can use my continued sleeping with women to help convince the lesbian parenting group not to discount me, now my parents have read this, now the deans of future English departments where I want to teach have read this, now the future adoption agency that I’d rather use that physically popping out more kids has read this, now future elementary school teachers of my spawn have read this. I mean, I’d like to think that they’ll read this. Doesn’t their literary life revolve around Googling me and fine tooth combing through my vital works?
The desire to adopt and the desire to be a teacher and the desire to get hired as the over-qualified, extremely expert childcare provider that I am has already kept me out of porn – one of many jobs that I’d be really good at. Getting paid to look hot and a devilish in a sphere completely disconnected from daily life? Perfect. Dream job! Well, after the aforementioned actual, daily jobs that I may now never get again.
On the other hand, perhaps this defensive essay in favor of constantly coming out – as queer, as being in a potentially hetero-normative relationship, and then as a slut who has no difficulty separating my sex life from my duty as a smoothly functioning adult – will garner me understanding, support and sympathy. The dykes and faggots will accept me as their own. Adoption agencies will be happy to hand small creatures over to a successful and articulate writer. English Department Chairs will relish the chance to show their savvy by hiring not only a skilled lecturer but a militant queer. And my parents will not die of heart attacks when they inevitably skim this material for references to how they have further failed me as role models of ethical beings.