The first time I fell in love with another woman, she held my hair as I vomited violently into the toilet, and then she held my secret while I came to terms with being pregnant at 17 years old.
And then she kept my secret for 10 more years after I had my first abortion.
She loved me unconditionally when my first husband demanded I sever ties with her.
A demand that came only after determining that we were too intimate and therefore too powerful to be allowed a relationship.
Women who love each other are dangerous, y’all.
She is my first love…
And however you think I mean that statement, I can pretty well guarantee it’ll have no relationship with reality.
She still loves me unconditionally. And it was never our time and maybe it never will be, but my assumption has always been the porch in a rocking chair with sweet tea and bourbon while we laugh at the tricks gravity has played on our once lithe bodies after our husbands die and our children go on with their lives.
I’ve never “come out” to anyone. I have used passing as a way to hide away from hard conversations. I have used passing as a way to advance my own privilege. I have used passing as a way to self-denial.
Not today, Satan.
I̵’̵m̵ ̵a̵ ̵q̵u̵e̵e̵r̵,̵ ̵p̵a̵n̵s̵e̵x̵u̵a̵l̵,̵ ̵c̵i̵s̵-̵g̵e̵n̵d̵e̵r̵e̵d̵ ̵w̵h̵i̵t̵e̵ ̵w̵o̵m̵a̵n̵ ̵m̵a̵r̵r̵i̵e̵d̵ ̵t̵o̵ ̵a̵ ̵c̵i̵s̵-̵g̵e̵n̵d̵e̵r̵e̵d̵ ̵w̵h̵i̵t̵e̵ ̵m̵a̵l̵e̵…(This part, surprisingly, did not last. Who could have known?)
I’m a queer, pansexual, very intentionally lesbian, shacked up with a very butch, ultra masc, lesbian, and we are very fucking country (as of 2018).
And I think I’m just about tired enough of participating in my own erasure.
The love of women, gender-queer and non-conforming, trans, and, well, anyone, not a cis-dude, will always be part of my relationships…if I’m fortunate enough to find those people who wish that with me.
Until someone threatened to out me at my job, I let passing be enough…and then and ONLY then did I accept that I got to decide and acknowledge if I’m queer.
My family, my heart, my people and those families and hearts and people from communities I say I agitate with and make common cause with are…something. What is the word for this very specific kind of pain?
And I am broken.
But y’all, they really fucked around one too many times, though.
It’s always one too many times.
So, I’m broken, yes. I’m devastated and I don't know moment to moment how I’m going to look the world in the eyes and say, “Today I can.”
But I will.
Because I am tired and I am angry.
You can get used to it, or we can burn it down.
This was my “coming out” statement on Facebook following the Pulse Nightclub shootings. June 2016. My sweet summer child, indeed.
I was on my way home from attending the NNAF abortion funds conference as a board member of the Magnolia Fund. A radical, feminist, women of color centered space where one could #shoutyourabortion (well, should MY abortion) and learn how others were doing just that through the We Testify initiative. I could love on a group of pro-abortion, truly pro-choice, people fighting for real liberation and say #menaretrash and feel loved and accepted in all my loud, queer, awkward ways.
And then I got on the plane to go home and I saw. The literal last thing before,
We also ask that your seats and table trays are in the upright position for take-off. Please turn off all personal electronic devices, including laptops and cell phones.
and we sobbed silently on that plane all the way back to Atlanta from Houston.
I wrote about solidarity for the fund, but I also needed to be in solidarity with myself. With who I am.*
As I prepare to go through relationship changes and personal changes and school and career changes, I acknowledge that I have a right to take up space in the queer community and in the world as a whole as a queer person.
I have no idea what happens now. I’m sober. Still not done with the PhD I started just 6 weeks after Pulse. Live in a different state. We just elected someone who is not Donald Trump. 2019 was awful. 2020 has been worse.
And all I want is for us to win. I want us all to be just a little bit queer because it is absolutely revolutionary to be queer and revolutionary to care. I hope Act Four is just a little bit closer to liberation for everyone.
*(The Magnolia Fund is no longer, but check out ARC Southeast and give them your money.)