I existed for the first time.
For the decade that my partner and I have been together, I have never existed. Not as a girlfriend, not as a lover, not as someone who we have spent over 10 years together. For a good number of her family members and to all of her co-workers, she is still considered single.
I have met some of her closer family but have always been introduced to them as a “friend” she has known since grade school. Some of them had already figured out our relationship to be more than just “classmates” but no one has ever said anything out loud.
I like to think of myself as a silent fart, where people could smell me, but decided against asking who had cut the cheese.
I understand why my partner does not want to come out and I have never forced her to break the news to anyone. After all, it is her choice what and who she wants to tell and I have never been the kind of person to parade my personal life around either.
Many years ago, there was a slight ripple in my teacup when my partner first started to say that she was single when in fact, I was very much her living, breathing, growling girlfriend – but I’ve gotten used to it now.
The Closeted Girlfriend
Well, no, I take that back. Gotten used to is too polite a way to describe the action of shoving your girlfriend into the closet along with last week’s unwashed laundry, then convincing yourself that everything will be fine with a spray of Summer Sensation to glaze over the stench.
I’m now teaching myself to be less polite about these kinds of things because being polite is not what got women the right to vote (yes, I’m a feminist) and so in fact, no, I am still not used to it, but I have since talked myself into accepting it. It’s not easy, being veiled over, but as with any relationship –
You’ve just got to figure these kinds of things out.
The only thing I can’t accept is why she doesn’t participate in the gay community. I’ve always made a point in supporting the gay rights movement, because if we don’t care about our own rights, then no one can help us.
But still with all my pushing and prompting, my partner has yet to go to her first Gay Pride. She has never been interested in changing the injustice we face, which compared to me and the kind of passion that I have, has been very puzzling to me.
Sometimes I wonder if she even thinks of herself as a lesbian.
I guess she’s still at the point where I started off initially – not having a clue about gender identity and sexual orientation. If you read my earlier piece (here), you’ve probably gone through my babbling on about how the concept of ‘being gay’ was taught and learned for me. Before then, I didn’t even know what gay was.
So I feel that my partner is still at that stage of simply being content in our relationship and not necessarily seeing a significance of us being the same sex. Perhaps she’ll stay this way forever, maybe one day she will wake up like I did, although even I myself am still exploring this “gay world” (pun intended).
Coming Out at One of Those Odd Moments
Because of my partner’s unwillingness to say the words 同性戀 (tong xing lian), which means homosexuality in our mother tongue, I was pleasantly surprised what she told me over the phone during one of our pre-bed time calls (no, we are not living together, in fact, we are not even living in the same city… More on long-distance relationships later on, when I feel depressed without her, probably sometime in the near future).
She had come out….
To her masseuse…..
Wearing nothing but a paper bra…..
How strange life can be in just a matter of sentences…..
[ Cover Image by Nick Webb under Flickr Creative Commons ]