Hi, my name is Angela Garza, and I’m gay. I feel like I say this 10 times a day. I thought I’d only have to come out once–to my parents–but alas, no. I’ve learned from experience that you have to come out to everyone, every single time you meet someone new, go somewhere new, anything.
I’ve been tempted to just wear a shirt all the time that says “I’m bisexual,” or something along those lines (I do have one that reads “Nobody Knows I’m A Lesbian”). A friend joked about putting it on her business cards. I feel like when I go to get coffee I should order by saying, “I am gay, and I’ll have a tall vanilla latte.” Checking out at the grocery store? When they ask how I am, should I just respond with “gay”?
Constantly having to come out becomes so tiring, so quickly. Like, how about we just stop assuming everyone is straight, but also stop making such a big deal about sexual orientation? This is not to mention that the flipping timing of telling new friends of your “alternative lifestyle” is tricky, too. Tell them too early, and they think you’re into them. Wait too long, then they wonder where this came from.
It’s hard enough to come out to your parents, close friends, and colleagues the first time, but I feel it’s harder to come out to strangers. You never know what their reaction will be. I often still hide it, not even mentioning it. When the topic of relationships or anything sexual comes up, I’ll just dodge the questions until I can gauge if the people I’m talking to will still want to be associated with me after finding out who I really am.
“But.. you don’t look gay.” I’m sorry, but what does gay look like? “Darn, I left my rainbow flag at home,” is my favorite response to that remark. It’s ridiculously annoying to get that so often. Yes, I like to wear dresses. Yes, I wear makeup. Yes, I have long hair. However, appearance nor personality has nothing to do with sexuality.
It’s even more tiring to always explain what exactly your sexuality entails. Lesbians are not more accepted in society, they are simply more sexualized. Lesbians also aren’t all man-haters. Being bisexual doesn’t automatically mean they are “down for a threesome,” nor does it mean they are more likely to leave their partner for someone else. We are exactly the same as everyone else, except for whom we love.
Dating is never the same either. I always tell people dating in the LGBT world is like trying to find a job: you either are referred by a friend or you have to search online. People will laugh at first and then it clicks when they realize how accurate that description is. It’s terrifying enough to face rejection, but to attempt to find out if the person you are interested in is even interested in your gender? That’s a whole new level of tough.
We may have made great progress in this country with the recent DOMA passing allowing same-sex marriage in every state, but LGBT people still are fighting daily for the same opportunities and recognition heterosexual people have without a second thought.
Follow Angela Garza on Twitter: @angarza15