No Pride In Her Daughter

, , , , , , | | Related | July 10, 2019

I am a non-binary lesbian and have more or less known this since I was 15, but I did not formally come out to my mother until a few months ago. When I first tried to come out to her, she’d become aggressive and angry. Later, as she mellowed out, she would frequently tell me that she loves me no matter what, but that if I changed my mind about liking girls then she’d be okay with that. If I tried to tell her how much that backhanded “support” hurt me, she’d yell at me and say I was trying to hurt her feelings. I decided not to tell her anything.

Things got better after I transferred to a school in another state. For three years, I lived on my own, became a lot more secure in my identity, and met a lot of friends who were unconditionally supportive. Last year, I moved back in with my mom for a new job that had a very supportive and progressive environment. I felt safe enough to come out on the first day, and with the exception of a few minor slip-ups, everyone from my teammates to upper management had no problem referring to me in gender-neutral terms. It made it that much more difficult to come home every night and pretend to be something else around my family.

One day, my mom and I had a huge fight. I wrote her a letter outlining my side of the issue, which included my frustration over the fact that she knew I was gay and yet insisted that I date men and acted disgusted any time I expressed even casual interest in a woman. After she read the letter, we had a talk in which I explicitly stated that I am gay and will never want to date men. She said that she doesn’t want me to be gay because she knows that will make life harder for me, but she supports me no matter what.

Fast forward to last week. I went on a few dates with a girl I’d met on Tinder and we had just made it official. When I told my mom, she reacted with disinterest and told me that I should be dating someone who was going to college and had ambition, someone who wasn’t “below” me, despite never having met my girlfriend. I didn’t want to start an argument, so I brushed it off.

The next day, I was talking to my younger sister, and she told me that she was upset that I hadn’t told her about my girlfriend. It turned out that my mom had outed me to my sister without consulting me. My sister was more supportive than I thought she would be, but it was still completely inappropriate that my mom outed me without my permission.

Last weekend, we attended the wedding of a close family member. During the reception, my 21-year-old sister was having a friendly chat with the best man, who was around 30 years old. My mom pointed out to me that they were getting awfully friendly, and I reminded her that he’s at least a decade older than her. Her response: “So?” That annoyed me, because just the week before, my mom gave me flack because my girlfriend is three years younger than me, though we’re both in our 20s.

Then, she really slapped the cherry on top of the nosy-mom cake: she said that the best man could also be a good match for me. I was furious, not just because she knew that I have a girlfriend, but we’d had a really great conversation about the letter I’d written and I had told her in completely unquestionable terms that I am a lesbian and will never want to date men. When I pointed this out, she’d just laughed it off. I want to think it’s just because she was a bit drunk, but you know what they say about sober thoughts.

Today, I happened to go to her Facebook profile — I have her muted so she never comes up on my timeline — and noticed that she’d put a “Love is Love” filter on her profile photo for Pride month. I’m upset but not surprised that she would show her “support” for social media brownie points while she doesn’t extend the same to her gay child.

Welcome To The Other Side

, , , , , , , , , , | | Friendly | July 1, 2019

I am a nanny for a woman with chronic health issues. As a result of those issues, she doesn’t work, but most days she needs a lot of help with her children. On her worst days, she can’t even get out of bed, but on her better days, I’ll help her run errands or do fun things with the kids. To the casual observer, my interactions with the kids, whom I have been a primary caregiver to since infancy, are indistinguishable from their interactions with their mother. This leads to a lot of confusion as to who belongs to who when we go out, and the problem is only exacerbated by the fact that the children pronounce my name as “Ah-mee.” Obviously, most people see two women with kids who sound like they are calling them both “Mommy” and make a lot of assumptions. This is the story of a single, very long day. 

We spend the morning happily playing in the park, and the oldest child is practicing cartwheels and yelling, “Ah-mee, look at me!” while the little one tugs on my boss and says, “Mommy, snack, please!” I hear a disgusted snort from a nearby woman who begins yelling at us in a foreign language. She’s with a younger man who I assume is her grandson and he looks mortified, and says, “I’m so sorry, I’ll get her out of here! I’m so sorry! She’s just old! I’m so sorry!”

The man practically marches her away, muttering angrily to her, and it takes a few moments to guess at why the woman was yelling. The kids are a little spooked and confused, so my boss and I decide to get an early lunch. We go to a diner and, to our great surprise, our middle-aged waitress seats us and disappears, only to reappear, pointing at us and arguing with a younger waitress. I can’t hear the argument well, but I do manage to catch, “They’re in your section!” and, “You’re being ridiculous!”

Finally, the younger waitress comes over and makes a lame excuse for the other waitress, but it’s clear she’s furious with her coworker and she offers to comp our drinks “for the wait.” The whole time, our new waitress is attentive and polite and clearly going out of her way to make up for her coworker’s behavior. We end up leaving a 30% tip, partly because we love to imagine how put out the original waitress might be about losing out on a really good tip due to her own bigotry. 

Our last stop of the day is a makeup store where they clearly make the same assumption as everyone else that day, but rather than being jerks, they are overly attentive and condescending. Since we live in a very liberal area, this is something I’m a bit more used to when going out with the kids and my boss. Under normal circumstances, I barely notice the over-eager attention we sometimes garner, but after a whole day of bigots, it just feels like it’s more scrutiny. I’m also getting hyper-aware of the kids’ behavior, worried that any perceived flaws in my caregiving will reflect poorly on LGBT families. 

The saleswoman is talking to the older child, saying, “You have a pretty cool family there, pal!” and then actually winks at me. 

In hindsight, I could have used that opportunity to correct her assumption, but I was genuinely so exhausted at that point it didn’t even occur to me. 

Finally, our errands are done and I’m happy to put one of the longest days of my life behind me. Later that night at home, I make an online donation to an LGBT charity. I spent a whole day experiencing just a taste of what LGBT families must go through and it was exhausting. Please, everyone, don’t assume, and I can promise you that cooing and doting over “different” families only feels like condescension or pity and isn’t much more fun than other forms of prejudice. Just treat everybody the same!

Meet-Cute At The Checkout

, , , , , , | | Romantic | June 29, 2019

(My boyfriend has traveled to America to visit me. While checking out at a shop, he and the cashier are making conversation about that.)

Cashier: “So, what brings you to America?”

Boyfriend: “Him.” *points at me*

Cashier: “That’s nice. Are you planning on doing anything special here?”

Boyfriend: “Not really. I’m just going to relax and spend some time with my sweetie.”

Cashier: “Ooh, did you meet a cute girl here?”

Boyfriend: “No, him.” *points at me again*

Cashier: “…”

Cashier: “OHHHH.”

(We all laughed about it.)

Critics Would Pan Those Puns

, , , , , | | Friendly | June 26, 2019

(By coincidence, I land a job in the same office that a friend’s boyfriend, [Coworker], works at. As this is a small office, most of them have ended up being outside-of-work friends, so my friend is able to give me a rundown on what all of my new coworkers are like.)

Friend: “And that just leaves [Trainer]. She’s… well, she seems nice, but watch out because she’s homophobic.”

Me: “Oh, no! How did you find out?”

Friend: “I mentioned I was bi to her once, and she just gave me this really, really flat stare and didn’t say anything for a long time, and then changed the subject. She’s also a Christian who wears a crucifix all the time.”

Me: “Gotcha. No mentioning the liking-girls part, I guess.”

(When I start at the office, it turns out [Trainer] is actually my trainer. She does, in fact, wear a crucifix, and I spend weeks in anxious silence waiting for the other shoe to drop. Instead, not only do I never hear a bad word from her about ANY race or orientation, but the only time I hear her say a word on the subject at all is when she puts forward a thought-out argument for why being trans is actually supported by the Bible. Eventually, I ask my friend and her boyfriend about it one night when we’re hanging out.)

Me: “So, [Friend], how did you find out [Trainer]’s homophobic? She seems nice to me.”

Coworker: “What? [Trainer] is definitely not.”

Friend: “She is. I mentioned I was bi, and she completely blanked me.”

Coworker: “Preeeeetty sure that never happened.”

Friend: “It absolutely happened–”

Coworker: “You know what? I’m calling her and asking.” *gets [Trainer] on speaker phone* “Hey, did you know [Friend] is bi?”

Trainer: “Uh. I didn’t. Do I need to do something with this information? Like, is this your way of saying you’re organising a coming-out party?”

Friend: “Bulls***! I absolutely told you before!”

Trainer: “What? When?”

Friend: “At that first party after [Coworker] and I got together.”

Trainer: “I don’t remember this conversation. At all.”

Me: “What did you actually say?”

Friend: “I don’t know. It was just after [Coworker] and I got together, and she said something like, ‘Congrats on not being single anymore,’ and I said, ‘Oh, I wasn’t single; I was on stand-bi.’”

Coworker: “Ha! That’s clever.”

Trainer: “Um? Did she just make some sort of hand signal or something?”

Coworker: “It’s a pun. Here, I’ll text it to you.”

Trainer: “Oh! Oh, I get it now. Sorry, [Friend], I guess I aced that conversation.”

Friend: “No, you did the absolute opposite of–”

Me: “Wait. Was that an asexual pun?”

Trainer: “Yep.”

Me: “And you’re… not homophobic?”

Trainer: “I’m what?!

Coworker: “Nah, [Trainer] is just bad at jokes.”

(And so, the last lesson my trainer taught me was to not assume malice for what stupidity can explain.)

That Driver Should Feel Great Pride

, , , , | | Hopeless | June 20, 2019

(I’m gay, and I’ve lived in a very socially conservative area for the past several years, which makes me nervous about being out. I recently moved to a more open, accepting location, and one of the things I am excited about is the prospect of a larger and more open LGBTQIA+ community. This all takes place on the way to the first Pride event I’ve ever attended.)

Uber Driver: “So, what’s going on in [Destination]?”

Me: *nervous* “Um, it’s a Pride event.”

(To be honest, I am shaking like a leaf when I say this. I’m not used to people being okay with my sexual orientation; at best, I usually hope for an awkward comment and it never being referenced again.)

Uber Driver: “Oh, hey, that’s great! That’s right, it’s Pride month, isn’t it? I’m straight, but I’ve met some great people out celebrating Pride.”

(We talk a little more, and it comes up that I’ve just moved here from a rather homophobic area and this is my first time attending Pride.)

Uber Driver: “Hey, look. I think you’re going to love it here. It sounds like it’s a lot less judgmental than the place you’re coming from, and I think you’re going to have a great time at Pride.”

(For the record, I did have a blast at the event! I’ve come across a lot of people who billed themselves as straight allies when I’ve come out, but I have NEVER come across someone who seemed to so genuinely want to make me feel safe after coming out. I’m terrible with names and can’t name him, but to the Uber driver who took me to my first pride event, thank you for making me feel so safe and supported. I did have a great time, and thanks for being so genuinely nice and supportive of the young gay person you gave a ride to.)

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