Wednesday, October 11, 2006

National Coming Out Day

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With today being National Coming Out Day, as a good queer, I should do something for the occasion. It will not be as maaaahhhhvelous as the posts done by Pam at the Blend and Shakespeare’s Sister.

I very definitely struggled with being gay when I was young. By the time I was 21 I had begun to accept it but was far from telling the world about it. When I was 23 I went to London with a 6-month work visa I obtained in college through some work/study program. I landed a job as a clerk in my favorite record store: the HMV Shop.

As I got to know my work associates better it became obvious that my sexual orientation had been discussed by some of them. Finally, after some coaxing from one of them I confessed that I was indeed gay. Not only did I feel so much better for saying it, but I was strengthened by the reactions of those around me. It wasn't a big deal! I wasn't treated any differently, there was no stigma to being gay, I wasn't branded with a pink triangle, I was just an American kid who was gay. (And it goes without saying, at a four-story record store in the heart of London, I was not the only queer one in the building.)

This was probably one of the few instances in my life where I was comfortable in a work environment. So comfortable in fact, I stayed on for more than a year in violation on my work visa.

A few weeks ago Txrad and I were out shopping for cat food. As we approached the register the young woman there asked us if we were brothers. (We've had that question asked of us more than once which is quite strange.) Txrad shot back, "No we're a couple!"

The woman didn't flinch. She asked how long we'd been together and we continued the chit chat. Of course it's easier to be that honest in a town like Austin -- it should be that easy anywhere. If someone asks a question, they deserve to know the truth. And that's not "flaunting" it.

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