I want to discuss my life as an openly gay woman with anyone who may not know what the internal dialogue is like.
Every day I make choices based on safety. Like everyone who leaves the house for the day, I leave with a shield of sorts.
At work, at the shops, at the gym - basically anywhere in public. And I prepare for the panic.
The internal thoughts go a little something like this:
Do I correct people when they ask about my sexual orientation?
Do I laugh like its 1980 and think the jerk asking me out can continue to uncomfortably hit on me just so I make it out unscathed?
The most scary and anxious ridden panic I immediately feel when going out for drinks after work. It's something I prepare for when I know I'm going to get borderline violated by some guy who's come up to hit on me. I immediately check my surroundings and weigh up what I'm going to say. If I do choose to say to this guy ever so politely "Hey, no thanks I'm actually a lesbian," I know what's coming and how the random guy will react.
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The answers can vary from "but you don't look gay?!" to "oh sweetie, you've just not had good d***" while he continues as if he's in with a chance, a game of sorts.
This happens every single time. I wish I was exaggerating.
I work in the community with people who have disabilities and the elderly. Every time I walk into their home, I immediately prepare for what my options are. Can I be open? Does it look safe? Will I be judged and abused? Or, more exhaustingly, will I then open the can of worms that is the public's confusion with me being honest and thinking I am a walking, talking, breathing Google search.
"You don't look gay!"