Life

VQ Comes Out: Joining the Softball Team

VQ-comes-out-simpleShannon’s story is next up in our series VQ Comes Out – coming out stories in honor of National Coming Out Day and LGBT History month.  A cat, a softball team, and a coming out coach: three things a freshly out gal can be very grateful for.  ~ The Editors
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When did you come out (or how many times, if it’s been a multilayered process)?

I came out at about 28 years old, after five years of marriage to a man.

What got you out?

Just another lesbian and her cat.

Just another lesbian and her cat.

After trying to be theoretically bisexual for a while — mainly so I wouldn’t have to divorce my husband — I met someone who made it impossible to deny that it was really women who floated my boat.

I straightaway moved out, adopted a cat, and joined my company softball team. I am allergic to cats and terrible at sports, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Thank god the impulse to cut off my hair passed without incident. I met one of my BFFs around this time. I call her my coming-out coach. She is a butch who assured me that femme was a thing I could be if that suited me best. It so totally does.

How long did the process take ’til you were out to family/ friends/ world?

I was open about my marriage-killing crush from day one. When it became clear that divorce was a necessity, I told everyone why. My ex-husband was very supportive of me, in spite of being the one who lost the most in the process.

I guess I was never in a closet. Once I was clear with myself I was open with the world. In hindsight, I chalk this up to 28 years of heterosexual privilege and not knowing to be reasonably self-protective about what coming out could mean. Fortunately, it was all okay.

What’s easier about your life now that you’re out?

It helps a lot to be married to a person of the right gender!

What’s harder?

I don’t find it particularly difficult to be out. But I have almost forgotten what it was like to perceive myself and have the world perceive me as heterosexual.

Thinking about it, I realize that I have little moments of anxiety about how an interaction with a stranger might change (for the worse or possibly more dangerous) once s/he realized I’m queer. I am a very conventional-looking woman and most people don’t assume my partner is another woman. In that sense, I have to come out a lot and it causes a little bit of stress each time.

Most of the time nothing bad happens. But about half the time the topic of conversation shifts from the issue at hand—what needs to be done about a plumbing problem, for example—to my life story. Usually I don’t mind too much, but it can be tiresome.

How are you out in a whole new way with kids?

Because our family is mixed-race, what I’m most out about with kids is adoption. I get many more strangers focusing on the adoption part of our family than the queer part, on a daily basis.

In that sense, I try to be as supportive of the kids as possible, helping them determine how “out” they want to be about their own stories. However, my partner and I model shameless openness about all aspects of our family and my extroverted kids (aged eight and six) pretty much follow suit so far.

We’ve been protective about the kids knowing that there are people in the world who might not approve of them having two moms. So they are blissfully unaware that it could be an issue. Once or twice another kid has challenged them about whether or not two women can marry each other. On those occasions, the kids have come to me to prove the challenger wrong. I have handy wedding photos on my phone to show playground skeptics as necessary. They see a white dress and a cake and are convinced.

 

[PHOTO CREDIT: SHANNON LC CATE]

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2 Comments

  1. Ha! Love the pic.

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