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?