Not Your Average Prom Queen: Maybe I Wasn’t Clear The First 10 Years
I turn 29 on the 29th of next month. I am not at all bothered by the fact that I am ending my 20s, or that I am swiftly approaching 30. Those things mean nothing to me besides the fact that I’m probably in the best shape of my life, I’m in a great relationship, and have a good job.
What does interest me is that fact that I was 19 when I had my first real girlfriend, so this year I am marking my ten-year anniversary of Queerdom. As I’ve mentioned before in this column, I wasn’t a child or a young person who ever considered the possibility that I was queer. It was not until college that any of those feelings surfaced, and I worked out pretty quickly that I was mostly into girls.
It’s just sort of hard to believe that for far more than half of my dating life I have been dating women, and because I consider myself to be queer and not necessarily lesbian, this statistic is some how surprising. It was more than ten years ago when I last seriously considered that I would have a male partner, that I would have a hetero-normative lifestyle, that I would be “just like” my sister, brother or best friends. For 10 years I have been openly queer.
At this point, coming out memories, or fears of holding hands in public, or worry about being out at work are distant. To me, being queer is as a part of me is having dark hair or wearing glasses – some things just are. This is what makes it even more difficult for me to understand how I can still have such an awkward relationship with anyone and everyone blood related to me due to the fact that I date women.
My family and I aren’t close enough to share personal details of our lives – I never talked to my mother about high school boy friends or my sister about crazy college exploits. Or my brother about anything. We co-exist pleasantly enough, on a surface level, a few times a year even though we now all live in the same city. My sister and I are actually friends, have a lot in common, and, I think, like each other even more as we have gotten older, but it has always been commonplace for me to leave my relationships in the shadows that sometimes I forget that that isn’t normal.
They absolutely know that I date women. I told them a long time ago. They were aware when I lived with my girlfriend in DC, they were aware when we broke up. I refer to my current girlfriend frequently in conversation but never a question is asked about her, or about us, or about the future. Isn’t your family supposed to ask about marriage and babies? Isn’t that annoying nature in the job description of family members?
I am the type of person who would be happily interviewed at a Pride parade about being a part of the gay community. I have been writing a weekly column for TNG for more than 2 years. I am in a serious relationship with a woman. But I have never brought a girl home for the holidays. I have never given a joint gift to my mother from my girlfriend and I. I have never talked to my family members about the possibility of marriage or having children. In ten years of being queer, I have some how managed to be both extremely outspoken and uncomfortably quiet about my sexual orientation.
Should I be content to be a confident queer woman to the world and a distant daughter and sister to my family? Is it my responsibility to try to work on these relationships, or do I just get over it?
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