by Jessica Mason McFadden
When it comes to coming out, I’ve been there, done that, probably hundreds of times. To me, there’s nothing to it. I’m one of the least closeted people you will ever meet. My erotic identity is as much a part of my representative identity as is my name, age, hometown, or date of birth. If you meet me, you’ll meet it. Except I won’t call it “It” – I’ll give it a name.
Hi. I’m Jess. I’m twenty-eight, I live in the Midwestern United States, I am a graduate student, I am one of two mothers of two precious daughters, I’m a poet, and if I could I would carry a basil plant in my purse. Yep, I said two mothers. I’m a lesbian.
That’s right: sometimes I have to repeat myself or clarify the two-mothers detail. Does it always feel good and liberating to out myself on someone who isn’t expecting it? No, not always. Sometimes I get that twisted, bewildered expression in response. Or, worse, a total lack of comprehension. Most of the time, however, this beautiful part of myself slides out as naturally as would any other. Who doesn’t like sharing a joyful and important part of their lives with people they meet? I hear about other people’s spouses and kids all the time. I have the same inclination to spread the love.
And the thing is, most people have this inclination: to be oneself and share oneself freely. We’re born ready to be led by our inclinations as we form or take apart our identities. So what happens? Why do so many of us, whether we identify as asexual, bisexual, polyamorous, homoromantic or queer, experience discomfort and fear when it comes to sharing? Because so many of us are taught at a young age that we must fit in some small identity box or another in order to be accepted and loved. And who doesn’t want to be loved? But even more than that, who doesn’t want to be herself, to roam happily and freely and not have to fear ridicule, rejection or harm?
Everything I have shared here is what you already know – it calls upon the common sense within you. We just want to be ourselves, move at our own paces and be accepted. Simple enough, right?
Unfortunately, as humans, we’re far more complicated and far too contradictory for that. It seems, instead, that we’re more often than not conflicted, anxious or divided when it comes to, well, most anything. And in particular when it comes to human sexuality – orientation, identity, and choice. Heck, we’re so spread all over the place that we’re even opinionated and divided about the timing and manner in which someone, one single person, comes out of the closet. Since when did we ever judge a white, male heterosexual for the way in which he shared his heterosexuality? I don’t seem to recall any news coverage on that issue.
I do, however, know about social media news coverage on the issue of Jodie Foster’s Golden Globe moment of ??? Of what? Of Glory? Of Relief? Of WellIt’sTheHellAboutTime? I’m sure we can come up with several thousand labels for it.
Twitter and Facebook were loaded with opinions and responses. Even I chimed (no, Tweeted) in with a heartfelt but bogus public pat on the back for Ms. Foster. Like she needed my approval. Even if she did, the larger question is: why it was that I needed to give it to her? Read more