Coming out.

28 Feb 2015

On 31st December my beloved and I were married. While this of course has great meaning in our own personal histories, it just so happens it has wider historical significance. The reason being we are both women and one of the first same sex couples to be wed in Scotland. You'd be forgiven for thinking that given the historic nature of the event I was out and proud. But when the time came to share my marital status with the wider world, I realised I was scared.

Desiring minimal fuss we informed only a few close friends and family members of our plans to wed. On returning work I was hit with the dilemma of what to do when people asked how my Christmas holiday was. I didn't want to edit out the fact I was a newlywed, but every time I had a 'how was your holiday' chat I faltered. I am new to my job, and as awkward as the wedding news was for me to share, the news of my gayness is equally so. The end result being only a handful of people at work know, so in delivering the wedding news I was also coming out.

So out and proud or in and mortified? I used to think I was the former but over the past month I have been forced to reconsider. I now recognise the root of my fear is rejection. I don't have an issue with people knowing I'm gay, I am just uncomfortable being the one who tells. When I say 'my wife' I am looking for your reaction. I am studying your face for a change of expression, I am listening keenly to your tone when you respond. Because what I have done is peeled back a layer of my skin. I have said 'I am different, maybe not what you expect, please accept me'.

Of course being gay is just one brand of difference, a widely acknowledged one. Each of us are different in our own ways, and when sharing something that gestures towards that difference we seek acceptance. Whether that's of our sexuality, mental health problems, strange and startling hobbies or obscure tastes. I have realised that in editing out aspects of my life I have prevented the formation of real connections. I have masqueraded as someone else. A person I thought I had to be to gain acceptance. Slowly I am realising this has to stop.


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