Hello, Closet, My Old Friend

A version of this appeared here.

How long have I been out of the closet? Do I start the count from when I first came out to someone other than my partner? When I first came out to my cousins? Or when I came out to my dad? Or was it when my mom was finally in the know?

As I ponder this quandary of quantifying my time outside the closet what is obvious is that I’m still in the closet depending on who I’m with or where I am.
In my general life in London I’m out almost all the time. There are times when my partner and I are walking down a street that looks like it has a lot of drunks and we will let go of each other’s hand and walk by till we feel like we’re not going to be at the receiving end of homophobia. Or when we went to Cuba – we are just friends is what we told the immigration officers.

And I’m fine with hiding in the closet when it’s a question of safety, but tonight I had to reluctantly seek shelter in there because my parents’ friends were visiting me for dinner.

They are a very sweet couple and for a while I didn’t know what to do about the lesbian ‘situation’. Finally I told my partner that we’d have them over and be open about living together and owning the house together and having lived together in Canada. We wouldn’t say we were queer but if they asked we’d tell them.

So they spent the evening with us and we mostly told them the truth but there were times when we stumbled upon our words and chose to tell them little white lies and it just made me feel a little dirty and a little angry with my parents.

I don’t know how people live double lives for years and years. I understand doing that for reasons of safety but to spend all your life watching your pronouns and lying about what you did and who you went on holidays with? That’s just so intensely tiring.

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