I finally came out last week.
To my new hairstylist.
She's cut my hair four or five times now and I've talked about my grandkids, my sons, the neighborhood, movies, etc... but hadn't yet had occasion to mention "my partner."
When I did finally say that phrase along with BB's name, the conversation just kept on rolling. It was nothing. But it was something. I just know there was that barely perceptible nanosecond when the stylist's intellection of me changed. Not for better or worse necessarily, not in a judgemental way, but changed none-the-less. And no matter how many people I come out to, this is always a nanosecond I dread.
A gay person doesn't come out once, it's a continual thing. Especially if you're a gay person who has recently moved to a new community, like me. Moving means coming out to new people again and again and again.
For me there were also recently a lot of doctor's forms, many of which asked my marital status. Am I single, married, or divorced? I could just check single, or divorced, but neither of those seem right. I've taken to just writing in a new category, Partnered, and circling it.
I don't know why I dread these moments of coming out. I'm not ashamed. Or afraid. It's just that one moment, that "Oh."
I just know I'm being re-categorized during that moment. I know I've just become an "other" instead of "one of us," even to those heterosexuals who think of themselves as gay friendly.
BB says it's getting easier and easier for her to come out. She thinks this is because people's attitudes are changing, and I agree. I'm glad to be living here and now. I'm not complaining. I'm just observing. And who knows, I could be wrong. Maybe that whole re-categorizing thing is only in my head - but I doubt it.