The amazing story of two 40-something women on the path to matrimonial bliss

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Modeling Gay

At times, we embrace it; at other times we get cranky and resentful; occasionally we can have a sense of humor around it; and at other times, we wonder why it still has to be a big deal.  Regardless of how we'd like things to be, we have to live in this world and that means a certain amount of what Teri & I humorously dub "advocacy work"--showing the world what ordinary, dull, responsible, authentic, loving, sane, non-threatening, appropriately affectionate, parental, educated, fiscally solvent, lawn-mowing, healthy-eating, moderate-drinking, hard-working, church-going folk we are.
Whew!  Sounds a tad exhausting, doesn't it? We get that it is a little counter-intuitive to what was originally a big part of the "Gay Pride" movement--maybe that is why all of us ordinary people love us some rainbow streamers and dancing feathered queens every June--the rest of the year, the cry to "be yourself" has morphed into "be like the dominant culture (translated: white, heterosexual and categorized in gender binaries)--only more so and flawlessly."
There is a pressure to perform, represent and repent.  When my kids were going through school (and to a certain extent, I still go to these places)--and they had challenges, bumbles or stumbles, I would brace myself for the assumptions that it had to be because they 1. had a queer mom and 2. their bio parents were divorced. Well, what could you expect? and How could she have done that to those kids? For those of us who have made the journey of coming out and being out, we've been accused of putting our families through hell, bringing shame, making things harder, and a whole bunch of other not-so-sanctioned behaviors.  No wonder we have something to prove. For some of us, there is a feeling we owe it to those who follow to do our part in this long struggle to make things ever better and that can mean taking up the charge to model relationships, parenting, citizenship and gayness with exemplary flair. And, there is certainly an obligation to those who went before to continue to move things along. 
We are working against stereotypes, myth, and the continued demonizing of LGBTQ people.  We are challenged to be "on message" with the marriage equality and gay/trans rights movement and that doesn't just mean out in public or at the polls.  Imagine living with what we know--every introduction, group meeting, dinner party, or trip to the bank is a moment in time to represent. As much as we may try to normalize or ignore, we know full well how we appear, model or manage the most ordinary of situations can be extrapolated out by people to "represent" and that can reflect well or poorly on our fellow gays (after all, you know how they are.)
It can be a tiny tightrope to maneuver and an invisible one that only those on this journey can understand. There is no room for error and trying to hold on to what is at the core an authentic, soulful, complicated human takes every ounce of effort we've got--or, at least, what is left over after striving to show the world what model gays we are!

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