Thursday, November 01, 2007

Closets

I guess at some point in our lesbian lives we live in a closet. Some of us live completely inside with the door locked tight. Some of us leave it opened just a crack just to peek out a bit. And some of us leave the door partially open and move in and out of the closet........this is where I am.

I am not out at work and I am partially out to some of my family members. All of my friends who are worth anything to me know that I am gay. I don't feel the work thing is an issue because it is all about my performance there and not who I choose to go home to every evening. However, it gets a little trickier with my family. Several of them I have come out to but most of them I have not. Do they already know? There is not a doubt in my mind that some of them know and choose to accept me for me regardless if I say anything to them. Several of my aunts do not know and I have made it my business not to inform them mainly because of their religious values or in the case of one.........gossip issues. She's a regular "mouth of the south" she is........a real piece o' work.

Well lately,the "piece o' work" has been sniffing around to my Mom with comments like " I don't know....I think Rita is gay".....that type of thing. While some of you may say.......wow....if she thinks you are already....then why don't you just tell her? My Mom had that reaction and I said......no thank you. You see......this particular aunt..........can take information about people and spread it to the four corners of the earth WITH her own spin on it.........adding editorial comments to further degrade the situation. Plus the fact that she likes to act as the moral majority already at family gatherings and it just makes me think...........why would I invite more stress into my life? By opening up to her, I am opening myself up to more scrutiny later on a broader religious scale at a time of her choosing.

It is very easy to say....."Oh just tell everybody and get it out" and it will all be over with. It is so easy to think that way when it is not YOU. When it is not you who is going to sit down and say...."Hey everybody I'm gay!". They have no idea what all of this means because at the end of the day I am the one doing the fighting to defend my life.

My mother probably has the worst time dealing with it because she knows it IS my decision to tell the other family members........not hers. However, she doesn't like the fact that she has to play dumb when confronted with the subtle questions or suggestions about it. She is quick to say that she would assist in defending me because I am her child and she will battle for her cub. While this provides a bit of comfort.......she is getting older and I don't know whether she could withstand what my aunt is capable of shoveling out.

My "gayness" has the tendency to come around as a topic of discussion from time to time and this too shall pass methinks. However, if she asks me, I am not so sure that I would not tell her. It just opens my personal life up to such scrutiny that I cringe at the thought of her "needing" to know my business.

When does needing to know suddenly become the right to know?

3 comments:

Hahn at Home said...

Whoa, do I relate. I am not out to my dad's family (whom I rarely see, but who are also very redneck). But, my stepmom outed me to an aunt and she has a mouth. It's not brought up when I visit, more of a "don't ask, don't tell." What ticks me off about that is that I have to hide my life in order to conform to THEIR version of what's right/wrong good/bad. I rarely think about my gayness out here in California, and neither does anyone else. If I'd stayed where I was raised, I would be so deep in the closet, I might never have dug my way out. Hope you find a way to deal with the mouth and the dilemma.

Anonymous said...

you've hit it on the head with "need to know". if there was a need, either hers or yours, for your aunt to know more about your life(style) than she already does, then you might (IMHO) have cause to come out to her. if no such need exists, it is entirely up to you to choose your own path.
i will add, i am not out at work but am considering letting a couple for whom i babysit know - i'm not sure exactly why, so i have a conversation with myself that resembles yours to some degreee ... ongoing ...
Ida

Rita said...

Yeah....my overall feeling is if there is not a definite need to know....meaning my life depends on her knowing whether I am gay or not.....she does not need to know.

She is the type of person who feels that she must have her nose into everything that goes on in the family. Once she is, she becomes the "authority" on all of the accumulated information. I think I will advise my Mom to just say to her (the next time it comes up)..."So what is the point with this? What does it matter if she is or isn't?"

This way....we will get to the root of it and I have a feeling she will initiate some kind of religious diatribe on it and not be supportive. And my mother can take her from there......