July 1998

One of the hottest topics here at Oasis is coming out. You find all kinds of stories: good, bad, accidental and ugly. So, I thought it appropriate to tell you this -- I'm not out. As comfortable as I am with my sexuality, I have not yet proclaimed it to the world, and have no immediate plans to do so.

There are a few reasons for this. Primarily, I think it's stupid to have to go around telling people "oh yeah, I'm gay." Straight people don't have to do this, so why should I? Besides, no matter how many people I told, there would always be someone sitting next to me in a lecture or a movie who assumed I was straight as a lodge pole pine. The character Max in the film Go Fish sort of talks about this problem... never being out enough for it to matter.

Another is that it is significantly more effective to argue for gay rights if people either think you are heterosexual or don't know either way. If I'm straight, I must be arguing with my head. If I'm gay, I'm arguing with my heart, or worse yet, my clit. It's a convenient way for many to discount my arguments.

I'm not afraid of 'bashing' or taunts or anything like that, but of the subtler discrimination we most often don't even notice. The same kind that will give the taller man the job even when height is a disadvantage in the position competed for. This is the discrimination that comes from people who truly believe they are gay-friendly, and it is next to impossible to do anything about it. Will I get that job if the interviewer knows I'm gay? Would that editor still accept my work if he knew? Would I still be invited to a girl's night out?

On the other hand, it would be nice to be out-to put my arm around Jane's waist, to give her a kiss or hold her hand anytime I wanted to -- to be able to do all the things straight kids in love don't think twice about.

So do I want to be out? Not always, but I'd have to say most of the time, yes. Before Jane tells anyone about our relationship, she always asks if I mind, and I'm always surprised how honest I am when I say, "I really don't care either way." And yet, if someone flat out asks if I'm a lesbian, I reply "Why, did you want to ask me out?"

Maybe one day I will be as out as I can be without wearing a T-shirt proclaiming QUEER in bright pink letters, but right now, I'm enjoying the view I have perched on top of the closet.


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