Jun. 28th, 2016

adiva_calandia: (All will be well)
Whoo, I did it! I wrote a coming-out letter to my parents, and they called me last night to tell me they got it and discuss logistics. Highlights:
  • Because I handwrote the letter and my b's sometimes look like 6s and sometimes look like Gs, they misread it as "This probably won't surprise you, but I'm GI" -- which they parsed as "Gender Indeterminate." My mom said that processing that took about thirty seconds and her reaction was basically, "Oh, that makes sense." (Which ... it probably does, but I am not ready to have a discussion about gender identity with my parents, and anyway I think of myself as more of a cis woman than anything so identifying as non-binary is not what I want to do right now.) "No no," I said, mildly panicked, "BI, with a B." "Oh. Well, that makes sense too."

  • Their main question was "How do you want us to deal with telling the rest of the family?", which was something I hadn't even considered. I told them that I plan on making a Facebook post, which means a decent fraction of my extended family will get the message, but we agreed that the chances of it even coming up were pretty slim. Since the most likely question they'll get asked is "Is [Adiva] dating anyone?" and the answer continues to be "Nope, she's happily single," the gender of my non-existent significant other never even needs to enter into it. I told them that if someone did ask "Is [Adiva] queer?" or something along those lines -- which is not outside the realm of possibility given the kind of stories I write and the way I present to the world, in my Doc Martens and flannel -- they were free to say "Yes."

  • And then we got sidetracked into a discussion about the word "queer" which I will probably need to revisit with them because I didn't get to my real point about "It is the umbrella term that I and many people I know prefer, but you'll want to be careful, as straight people, using it that way," because we got sidetracked from the sidetrack by talking about one of my college friends who has gotten really TERF-y and I had to explain what "trans-exclusionary radical feminist" means.

    • Which also got into a discussion about how I've known an awful lot of trans men but don't personally know any trans women who have identified themselves as trans to me, and I gotta keep working with them on understanding that our old neighbor's kid identifies as non-binary, not male, and the neutral "they" is your safest bet when talking about someone whose gender is unclear to you. But they're working on it. I'm proud of them.

  • Mom: The only other person I can think of who might have a problem with it is your grandmother, and she's not around.
    Dad: Yeah, I'm not expecting to hear from her.
    Me: Right. And anyway, maybe now she feels vindicated. "I told you if you went into the arts!" Well, look at me now!

  • "Was there an irony in the fact that you wrote the letter in pencil? So it could be easily erased?" "Uh, no, well sort of, since I did do two drafts of it, so I wrote it in pencil ..."
I guess it's very me that I'm trying to choreograph all of this to maximize both the intended emotional impact and the entertainment value; I gave myself a deadline to come out to my parents so that I could come out on Facebook before the Democratic convention, specifically so I can have the punchline "In other news that shouldn't shock you, Bernie Sanders hasn't conceded."

There's a ton that I want to write about -- the political reasons I came out now, in the aftermath of Orlando; the personal anxiety I felt for years about writing stories about women who love women and whether that would out me; watching Sense8 and feeling like the Wachowskis were standing behind me and pushing me gently but firmly towards the closet door; how very strange it felt last night to say to my friends, as we left the bar, "I have to call my parents because I just came out to them as bi," which in turn was my way of coming out to those friends.

Not to mention silly but no less real issues that I'm still grappling with like how do I signal my availability to both genders at the same time?? If I perform queerness really hard with my rainbow accessories and comments about attractive women, won't straight guys assume I'm off the market for them? But if I don't perform my queerness by wearing more traditionally femme signifiers and talking about attractive dudes, how will cute girls know they can flirt with me? And should I cosplay hipster Steve Rogers at ECCC next year and make a denim vest plastered with bi pride flags?

Important questions, y'all.

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December 2016

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