Let’s assume you don’t know me.
I will sketch a picture of what you might see if we bump into each other at the grocery. You’ll see a middle aged woman, with a couple/few kids tailing behind me. I’m casually dressed in jeans, some iteration of a t-shirt and checkered Vans You may or may not notice my wedding band or that I’m driving an inexpensive American made car with no bumper stickers. In the general public, you’re not likely not think about who I am inside, what my dreams are or what kind of stuff I’m “into”. Your subconscious assumption will likely be married, straight, average-Jill white female. No one would challenge this. I am an anonymous woman in the grocery store.
We all make presumptions about people. In my case, these outward characteristics will possibly get a door held open for me or kind looks from old people who remember when their children were that adorable or unruly. I am fortunate to be in this class of people who are met more easily with trust and kindness on the basis of these snap judgments.
This advantage does not escape me. I sometimes feel a little guilty that I have things as easy as I do. Maybe that is why I do not challenge these assumptions... Until today.
I have been rolling this thing around in my head for since the last NCOD. I had an epiphany this past April. I was an occasional volunteer for the One Anchorage Campaign, the group behind ballot measure 5, the initiative to add gender and sexual identity to Anchorage’s equal rights laws. I did several nights of phone banking to try and sway undecided voters. It was suggested we make the calls personal, share our or our friends’ experiences, especially those of gender identity discrimination.
I have many friends in the LGBTQ community, so sharing of experiences was easy but my moment of clarity came via call recipient Mike Something-or-other who stumped me with the simplest, most obvious question. He asked me if I was gay. After a very long pause, I answered, "I guess I would call myself sexually ambiguous".
This was not news to me, I have always known this thing that is not colored on my skin, but is part of who I am. Still, it was this moment when it dawned on me how rarely I’d said this out loud. But here I was telling Mike Q. Voter. There and then I realized: I am in the fucking closet.
I think it’s time to come out.
I've many times been the trusted first-friend-to-come-out-to. I’m a vocal community supporter. I love Pridefest and gay bars. I’m a go-to girl for petitions and volunteer opportunities. I’m an avid Facebook and Twitter human rights slacktivist. Natalie is in the closet? That’s really kind of absurd... if you knew me.
So for a minute, assume you DO know me and accept my apology for being incognito for all this time. I really kind of thought you all knew.
To the LGBT community, I owe you this outing and my honesty. In the eventual, albeit gradual, acceptance of us, the more people who are out the better. I owe it to society to be a positive face of the LGBT movement.
To those who would presume sexuality is a simple binary, I present you an alternative view. Sexuality is a spectrum, with many shades of harmony and love. I am just another facet of the rainbow.
Today is National Coming Out Day and today I declare I am bisexual.