Sunday, 9 September 2012

the art of coming out without tripping over things

Now that I've been employed long enough to receive my first checks from my two regular families, I've been contemplating if, how, and when to tell these families about my family. Specifically, that I'm a big ol' queermo and that I share a bedroom and a cat with a person I usually refer to as my partner. I fly pretty silent on most people's queerdar since I have the double whammy of fairly feminine mannerisms and a fairly feminine physical presentation. (I even currently have long-ish hair that is neither a buzz cut nor a pixie cut, my two rotating constants over the past six or seven years.) So it's not like these families would look at me and just know, or even suspect that I'm, you know, "of the gay." (Unless they saw my Yeti legs, which I always cover during interviews with new people anyway because preschool teaching effectively ruined my body hair self-confidence in childcare settings.)

With Jaden's mom, I knew her from her blogging presence on the internet, so I had absolutely no doubts about coming out. Within minutes of meeting her I had casually dropped the "my partner" bit, and not only was she instantly receptive ("your partner is welcome to hang out too, Jaden loves people!") but her kid was obviously acquainted with the term partner because he immediately asked in his adorable three-year-old lisp, "Does yo' pawtnah wike kids?" like an old pro. I gave him a mental high five.

My first day with Sasha and Ezra, I picked up a baby board book off the couch and upon my second or third reading to Ezra, I had it well enough memorized to start looking at the pictures that accompanied the text. It's a book called Everywhere Babies and even though it rhymes, it's the least obnoxious rhyming board book I have yet come across. I was surprised and delighted to see that even though the gist of the story was "babies are everywhere and they all sleep, play, and poop" it actually featured a very diverse cast of characters. Not only did it have what were pretty obviously same-sex couples, but it also showed grandparent-aged caretakers and caretakers who looked different from the babies (presumably fostering or adoptive families).

This was my sign.

This family is probably gay-okay and won't fire me upon revealing my true rainbow sparkle colors.

The next time I showed up at Sasha and Ezra's house, as their mom gave me my morning orientation, I saw my window and I plunged for it. It wasn't even really a window, but was shaped enough like one that I was pretty sure I could make it into a window. It went like this:

The Mom: "Sorry about all the noise, the workers should be done pulling off the roof after today. Ezra really needs a nap but he won't sleep through the noise so you'll have to put him in the stroller."
Me: "Yeah, I wouldn't be able to sleep through that noise either."
The Mom: "It's hard to sleep through sudden loud noises, like when they hammer or drop something big."
Me: "For sure. Last night somebody was going through our glass recycling out front and the noise of the bottles banging around woke us up. My partner got really worried that whoever it was would come in and steal her bike. But the type of person who bothers sorting through the recycling for bottles to deposit for a nickle each is probably not the same type of person who will then break into your basement and steal your bike."
The Mom: "Yeah, those people usually consider it their little job, and go from house to house on recycling day. Your bikes are probably safe in the basement."

Did you see that? She didn't even blink at the casual "my partner, she" bomb.

Of course, my partner sometimes goes by "they" pronouns, but one step of coming out at a time.

I would like to high five the people who illustrated Everywhere Babies, as it is now one of the very few board books that I don't despise on sight, but that I actively like. Good job on the passive diversity education front, Everywhere Babies.


1 comment:

  1. I've heard of that book, but haven't seen it yet. It'll definitely be one in our library come baby-time. (Not that we don't already have a shelf-full. I just haven't seen Everywhere Babies at the thrift store yet.)