Thursday, January 24, 2008

Significant Others

I started to write all of this in a comment box, since I was responding to Amalia's comment on the last post, but it got kind of long and is probably more of a new entry.

I've heard about the "drop your family" exercise, probably from Kelli. It puts me in mind of a confession I need to make.

I was on retreat at a Catholic monastery last week--very progressive place, for Kansas--a Benedictine center where 168 sisters live together, and provide hospitality in the form of a very nice retreat place called Sophia Center. I was having dinner with one of the sisters, and she asked me about family. I talked about my mother and my brother, and then she said, "Yes, but don't you have a nuclear family." I panicked and said--really awkwardly--"uh, no." And then sat there thinking, "You're wearing a wedding ring, you dope. It's not like she can't figure it out. She lives with 167 nuns." (Nothing against nuns, certainly, but my gaydar was working overtime.)

I hate feeling the need to hide my family, and I almost never do it. But once in a while I just don't feel like I have the emotional stamina to go into it all, to change the tenor of a conversation or make others uncomfortable (and if that isn't a really stupid reason to lie to people, I don't know what is.)

So thanks for letting me confess. I did tell my spiritual director about my "nuclear family" the next day, since we were going to be spending an hour together. And she was great. Chances are very high that the sister at dinner would have been as well. I just didn't give her a chance.


Anonymous said...

I have struggled with this issue for a long time as well. I don't really want to be the LGBT poster girl because I am a private person. But I do recognize that my coming out would enable people to realize that yes, they already do know gay people and yes, we are normal (!)

I found a nice quote from Deb Price a while back that I just love. "Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to control other people's reactions to our being gay, in trying to avoid yet another painful encounter, that we miss the pleasure of being loved for exactly who we are."


Paul B. said...

How ironic! I'd read this posting Donna awhile back and... bingo.

I was at an HR training session and they didn't even mention sexual orientation... they didn't even read the university non-discrimination policy out loud! So I was just going to sit and relax with my free coffee and stale pastries, -- too difficult to deal with being gay boy poster child for that day. Too many other difficulties in life right now.

Well, anyway, I raised my hand, bitched about the fact that they're not even mentioning sexual orientation, and WHERE THE HELL IS GENDER IDENTITY in the University non-discrimination statement? I pretended like I didn't know why gender identity isn't there but I actually know from coworkers that the legal office kaboshed gender identity in the non-discrimination policy on purpose.

GIANT bonus to doing this: a CUTE boy raised his hand and chimed in about transgender protection laws in the city, county, and state. Or lack thereof.

What a payoff for speaking for a few minutes! Call me shallow, but hey! I'm single! And this guy was cute!

Speaking of even MORE shallow, I went to transgender sensitivity training just to get out of my office and one of the trans guys on the panel is a total hottie and I just found out that he's single!

Anonymous: thanks for mentioning Deb Price. I'm from Michigan and it was so bizarre that she was writing about gay issues so early on in the conservative Detroit News.