I had an interesting conversation on a flight out of Orlando last week. My seat mate was heading home to Midland, Texas, after two Disney-filled weeks with wife and young kids, one at Disney World in Orlando and the other on a Disney cruise out of Port Canaveral. He was all chatty and at some point asked me if I was married.
“Not legally,” I said. “I’m with a woman.” That was the first lie: I am legally married, but then more questions about that would follow. And let me say that I don’t feel obligated to tell anyone anything about me, but I’m a generally talkative and open person, and if I stumble onto “teachable moments,” I tend to accept the challenge.
He didn’t hear me over the airplane hum and so I had to scream: I’m partnered with a woman! He asked me about gay marriage and said he would vote for it. I wondered if that was true, but I figured if he liked me, he might remember me at the polls. (“I met this nice lesbian on the plane….”) He also asked: Have you ever been married to a man? I answered no, yet another lie. I could have said, yes, my wife. Ha! And then he asked the dreaded “How long have you know you were like this?” question, which I pretty much skirted. Wow, I was digging myself deeper and deeper, all the while telling him how I felt like living an authentic life was important, and the more people could “come out” the better. Again, no obligation to this guy at all, but these were the things running through my head. While I was “coming out,” I was also “staying in.”
He then told me he suspected that his 31-year-old sister might be gay. “Does she have a ‘roommate’? ” I asked, using air quotes. But of course! And the two women recently moved to a different town together. And she’s had “friends” before, never dated a man, etc. I told him there was a good chance she was gay, and it would probably be super wonderful if he could let her know that if she was, he was fine with that. (He’d already told me his family of origin was very traditional.) I told him, “Maybe you could bring it up by saying, ‘I met this cool lesbian on the plane last week and….’ ”
So, who knows, maybe our exchange will help make a closeted lesbian’s life a little better and further the push toward gay marriage. I certainly didn’t help the transgender cause one little bit. Maybe next time? I’ll see how I feel.
Onward, upward, and outward!