Any member on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum will tell you that you don't only come out once. You come out practically every single day to new people you meet and it's always at least a little nerve-wracking. It's not always a grand announcement--sometimes it doesn't even include the words "I'm *insert orientation here*." For me, it usually comes in the form of a correction:
"Actually, it's my wife."
This has taken on various forms throughout the years: "Actually, it's girlfriend." "Actually, my fiance is a woman." Or even a simple, "She." (As in, "What does he do for a living?" "She works in an animal hospital and saves furry lives.")
It sounds easy when I write it out. But the mental gymnastics behind that one moment are extraordinary. There's a checklist to run through: Am I safe? Am I near someone who already knows and supports me? Who is this person I'm talking to? Do they seem like they'll be okay with this information? No, really, am I safe saying this thing to this particular person? Is there an exit plan if they react badly? Am I even in a place where I can leave (for example, is this happening at work where I need to remain professional)?
There's a pit in your stomach. There's a small hitch in your breathing. There's a forced nonchalance because if I act like this is no big deal, maybe they will too. But then am I being too breezy? Almost forcefully so?
All of this happens in the millisecond before you have to decide what you're going to say because, hey, that's how conversations work.
Let me take a moment to make something clear: I don't give a fuck what people think of my orientation. I am proud to be bi and I'm extra proud to be married to my wife. I'm going to keep living my life and no homophobe is going to stop me or make me feel bad about my life. But all of those things mentioned above? They still happen. Every time.
And there's sometimes the thought: Is it worth it? Is it worth it to make the correction, to give this stranger this piece of information about me, does it even matter? Sometimes the answer is going to be no. And that's okay too. But for me, more often than not, I'm going to do it. It's worth it to be visible, to offer representation, and mostly to brag that I got that amazing woman over there to put a ring on it.
But here's the kicker from a bisexual perspective: You've probably still just mislabeled yourself. You were assumed straight, which was wrong. Now, you're assumed gay/lesbian...which is also wrong. Correcting that particular issue mid-conversation is something I haven't figured out for myself yet. If you have figured out how to slip that in without making it into a ~moment~ or making things really weird, please, find me on social media and let me know.
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