Wait… wait! Don’t leave. I am not going to jump on the pronoun soapbox again. I promise!
Before I finally came out, my wife and I (before I met her, just I) used to hang out at a particular gay bar and watch drag shows. I would not say we were regulars, but we went often enough to have friends there and to be recognized by the bar staff and some of the performers. I liked it there. It felt safe. We did not intentionally stop hanging out there, but life has been busy enough over the last few months that we haven’t had the opportunity to visit until just last weekend.
I did not realize how stressful day-to-day life had become until I walked into that familiar place, and all of the walls and protections and guards simply melted away. In the way one realizes that a refrigerator had been running by the sudden stop of the motor; I realized how much stress I was carrying over “passing” by the fact that it suddenly did not matter. There were no suspicious glances, no judgments, and no confusion. In fact, our presence there was no more remarkable than anyone else’ presence. The only emotion that could even come close to negative was the lack of interest I inspired in most of the men there (they are mostly gay, after all). It was so refreshing.
It was nice to be in an environment where people treat you no differently because of how you are dressed or with whom you associate. It was refreshing to hear compliments on my clothing that carried no hidden meaning (other than maybe the occasional “innuendo”… back off ladies, I am married). It was nice to be in a place where people were okay with me as me, where there were no expectations other than that everyone should have fun. And yes, it was nice to be in a place where everyone - and I mean EVERYONE – got their pronouns right. Sorry, I had to mention it.
I know why I will probably always hang out in gay bars. It is not because I am a lesbian; it is because I know where I will encounter good people.
Peace and love to you all,