View Full Version : Passing as...
05-31-2006, 05:17 PM
In your day to day routine, encounters with strangers, acquaintances, co-workers and others who have no reason to know of your orientation, do you "pass" for straight? Do you try? Do you think about it any more, or only in certain situations? Do you wonder who may know, or be talking behind your back, or have you reached that comfort level where it is of no concern at all?
I think we all can relate to not only the closet, but the energy and illusion put into keeping that closet as invisible as possible. From choosing more gender appropriate clothing, feigning interest in some hotty your friends are ogling, dating or marrying for appropriate love and cover, joining an extremely gender specific group etc. the hoops jumped through are many and varied and probably not over... When do you still find yourself leaping away and why?
05-31-2006, 11:31 PM
I've been many different places on this spiral. . ..
It oughta go without much saying that being married makes for an obvious "pass" with me. I don't bother to go outside the realm of relevant conversation to let people know I'm bi. Folks who know me at ALL well know that I'm involved in gay rights activism, b/c they see the buttons and bumper stickers and I've passed out literature to pretty much everyone I know in 3D with a personal request from me that they vote NO on an upcoming marriage ban on our November ballot. But I assume that they assume I"m a straight ally, which, being happily married to a guy, for all practical purposes, I am - or might as well be.
Sometimes people who know about my activities say leading things with curious expressions, like they might be wondering why I"m so invested.
There was a time - when I was single and looking - when I made sure that everyone I met knew I was bisexual and open to dating any cute, kind, decent single person that liked girls. :) Back then I used to wear the rainbow beads. :rainbow: Being married now puts me in a sort of automatic closet, as a queer chick.
Where that leaves room for things to get really interesting is if conversation turns to 'gay issues' - then I have the option of going that further step and clarifying for folks that I'm the B in LBGT. Nine out of ten times, I do not. I tend to wait until there is no way for the conversation to logically progress WITHOUT coming out, and then I will. Which means, a couple of times in the last 6 months I shied away from volunteering that info. I even found myself mentioning a past relationship using GENDER NEUTRAL PRONOUNS when chatting with a (gay) friend on our way to the d*** Pride Parade. . .:rolleyes: I noticed it at the time, thinking, what the heck was I scared of?!?! :lol:
The funny thing about that is, I tend to be most fearful of telling my gay friends I'm bi - it's easier to tell the straight ones. And it's weird but, I'm more comfortable letting homophobic people know that I'm not straight (I often let them assume I'm lesbian) than I am letting gay people know I identify as bi. I think that's from years of assuming "biphobia" from the gay community, I'm less equipped emotionally to deal with rejection from "my" community:o . . . And I still tend to expect it. :(
So Awe, I've answered, now it's your turn - when do YOU find YOURself leaping away and why?
06-01-2006, 01:39 AM
I don't wear stuff that says anything about my sexual orientation. I just usually always wear jeans and a t-shirt everywhere I go.
As far as anybody who knows I'm gay talking about me behind my back, if I can't hear what they're saying then it doesn't matter. If they're telling people that I'm gay then that's a good thing. At least I don't have to tell them myself.
Last summer me and some friends of mine had a 34th reunion from the summer of 1971 when we were buddies and hung out together. The local Sunday paper did an article about the reunion and the story included that we had become a diverse group over the years. One of our group members is a liberal Democrat, one is an evangelical Christian, one is a conservative Republican, and one is a gay guy.
I'm the gay guy.
The article was good because it let folks know that even though we were all from different walks of life that we could still hang out together and have fun just like in high school. And we did.
But the best thing for me about the article was that it saved me from having to come out to the few people who didn't already know that I was gay. Coming out of the closet in my 20s was an adventure. But in my 50s it can sometimes be just another chore. It's like having the facts-of-life talk over and over again.
Still, I feel fortunate to be able to be open and I thank God for that.
Note to God: Thank you for the circumstances that have allowed me to be myself. Amen.
06-01-2006, 03:17 AM
For a long time I intentionally butched it up. When I came out at about 19-20, I went through that in your face phase of half T's and those thick mesh tanks http://www.websmileys.com/sm/obscene/eck03.gif I got over that and it toned down naturally... I found when I got more seriously into meditation and relaxation techniques, my mannerisms got a little more feminine and flowing. http://www.websmileys.com/sm/happy/050.gif It takes alot of energy to tense up wrists and shoulders and bow them legs to appear more masculine... Who knew?
Today, I find I only worry about it around people who have some power over me (boss, landlord types), known psychos and others who may catch some fall out http://www.websmileys.com/sm/violent/sterb003.gif(distant relatives who may come down on close relatives). I don't need some aunt or something in law giving my family a hard time. Over all I no longer care to hide or advertise it, but I'm one of those no one ever suspects is gay.
Someone recently wrote (?) here about an acquaintance who was bad mouthing gays, and they felt the need to out themself before this person embarrassed themselves further. I tend to take the opposite approach and give them some rope. I've no problem letting them set themselves up for some crow... It makes a real impact and watching them suddenly try to backtrack, I must admit, is a guilty pleasure.
I have a friend who recently came out. He works in the construction field and is as masculine as they come. As he's entered the gay community, he has gotten some flak for remaining basically closeted at work as though he ain't representin' very well and appears ashamed. He's taken the criticism fairly seriously but can't risk taking such a stand, emotionally or maybe financially... This brings up a few interesting quandaries. While the more apparent of us do show inclusion and give us a face in the world, I have found that the uber-straight like gays that are flamboyant as they like cartoon characters. They are cute and fun. But it is those they get to know as straight who suddenly come out, that throw them for a loop and really get them to introspect. I think both 'types' certainly play important roles, but I suppose I do intentionally still butch it up a little today, but for different reasons...http://www.websmileys.com/sm/sport/sport23.gif
The funny thing about that is, I tend to be most fearful of telling my gay friends I'm bi - it's easier to tell the straight ones. And it's weird but, I'm more comfortable letting homophobic people know that I'm not straight (I often let them assume I'm lesbian) than I am letting gay people know I identify as bi. I think that's from years of assuming "biphobia" from the gay community, I'm less equipped emotionally to deal with rejection from "my" community . . . And I still tend to expect it.
Really interesting... I've had mixed feelings about bisexuality myself and how its viewed differently in the straight or gay community. I'd love to hear more of your (and whoever else here identifies as Bi) experiences and thoughts on it... A thread I'll leave for another to start... (hint)
A Little smiley happyhttp://www.websmileys.com/sm/happy/402.gif
06-01-2006, 08:28 AM
First of all, I wear two pride ring hoop earrings in one ear, and believe that those that have a little bit of info will know what that may indicate. Otherwise, people who don't know about pride/freedom rings just like the look of the jewelry! I have not had to address my sexual orientation in and of itself much in my recent history- it just seemed to be what all of those around me knew as far as me and my family unit, and I wasn't encountering many new persons to address it with. However, I got a new job about a year ago at the University that I graduated from some 22 years ago. I came out when I was a senior year, but returning as an employee created for me some internal conflict about how to come out on campus, and to whom. I have since kind of come to terms with it, in that I introduce my family unit, or state "partner" in conversation along with the female pronoun so that people get the hint. I also became very actively involved in the campus ALLY group which enabled me to come out and also act as a direct role model of an adult lesbian that is fairly well adjusted (!?!). The main time that I decide at that moment whether or not to disclose, is when I do my child welfare training regarding the needs of LGBTQ youths. I don't always self-disclose, mainly because I don't want it to become a distraction. However, when I have disclosed, it has opened up the opportunity for great conversation among attendees, putting an actual face on it for some of them.
I have to say, I understand Zerbie's reluctance in being open about her bisexual identity with members of our own community. As a gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community, we are often most derogatory and/or judgmental to our own. Bisexuality has gotten a bad rap for as long as I can remember- I have a close friend who had always identified herself as lesbian, but who moved away for awhile, and met a man whom she had an intimate relationship with for awhile, and other gay persons gave her such slack for that! I think to identify oneself as bisexual actually opens a person up to being available to any relationship, regardless of gender. I am just a lover of the woman creature, myself! What beauty and grace! PEace to all, Vanessa
06-01-2006, 03:58 PM
I would say that I have to intentionally come out to most people. In other words, I normally pass as straight in my day to day envounters. However, I am not the type of person to introduce as "Hi. I'm Rob your happy homosexual." By coming out, I normally do it in the normal course of conversation. For example, at church I was talking to one of the members about how I was coordinating the Day of Silence at the Grad/Theology School. A person asked, and aI said yes. In other words, people presume straightness, unless other wise told. I presume that is true of most people unless one fits the stereotype. I think that that is the situation for most folks, or I should say the one's who I am friends with.
06-03-2006, 08:40 PM
I think lately I surprise a lot of people when it comes up that I'm gay because I've started to embrace my feminine side more lately. People say "But you don't LOOK like a lesbian".
For the past year, I haven't left the house without wearing my beloved necklace - an asymmetrical heart with rainbow stripes. Maybe I'll make a new avatar of it... anyway, whenever I see someone with something prominently rainbow, I make a point of complimenting it and saying that it matches my necklace. I've met a few new GLBT friends this way...
06-05-2006, 05:31 PM
People assume I'm straight because most men are. Hearing me talk about my faith or my business... or camping or working on my truck... reinforces those assumptions.
But... if they listen long enough, they won't be clueless long.
I intentionally do not censor my being gay from any conversations. Where it would be normal for me to mention a girlfriend or wife, I mention my boyfriend. Where it would be normal for me to metion popular conservative political opinions, I express my liberal pro-gay opinions.
I share myself in a way that is natural. I intend my hearers to hear me as a gay man and to be comfortable with me. I don't make a big deal out of my sexuality... I just treat it as naturally as I would if I were straight.
And for the most part, I've been the recipient of MANY wonderful & loving reactions.
When someone reacts with negativity, I flip the tables on them so fast their heads spin... ESPECIALLY if there is an audience OR if they did it while in a role as an employee interacting with me as a customer. (Lord, help 'em) I react with shock and horror that they would be so small-minded and prejudiced to have ANY problem with me being gay. They get flustered and either march off saying things worthy of Hitler or the KKK... or they quickly apologize and excuse their behavior because they were just "startled."
06-05-2006, 10:16 PM
Do you try? Do you think about it any more, or only in certain situations?
I've noticed that I act "straighter" around certain extended family members - my mother-in-law, for example. She isn't an easy person to get along with (mental health issues, etc), and there are times when I feel that I need to choose my battles carefully.
I'm slowly working on being myself around her. It helps when other family members are around.
06-06-2006, 12:54 AM
It's been some time since I've tried to pass as straight. In 8th grade, I "butched" myself up as much as that's actually possible around a few male friends I hung out w/, who I didn't want knowing I was gay, particularly Sean, who was probably my first valid crush.
Upon coming out to various people over time, most recently my father, no one was really surprised. I've been clocked as a girl more than I've been clocked as a straight male. Still happens that way, in part because I tend to play those cards. I'm pretty matter of fact about it. Once people figure out I'm male, it usually becomes fairly obvious according to their gender expectations that I'm gay. I'm out completely, & don't feel any need to hide who I am, or hide my more feminine side (or for that matter, play it up so hard as to make people any more likely to think I'm a straight female). Sometimes a conversation occurs, & maybe someone learns something. Some people have had issues w/ my sexual preferences. Some have had issues w/ my gender after getting half way through a conversation before finding out I'm not exactly what they thought I was. Nothing too seriously negative has ever happened, but I consider who I am a blessing, & take my chances. I'm poor at hiding it. I eventually took that as a sign that I don't need to.
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