Commentary

Like Martina On Steroids

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Over The Rainbow: May 26

Hiding in plain sight … or maybe not so much

Betty and I were married in Connecticut on June 19, 2009, nearly two years ago. We celebrated that day with both our daughters and three grandchildren, all of whom attended the church ceremony.

Betty and I celebrated the 17th anniversary of our Holy Union this past Sunday, May 22. What a difference 15 years makes! Well, sort of.

Back in 1994, we were young and bold. I remember walking around the Sixth Street Walmart holding Betty’s hand, feeling like nothing short of an asteroid falling through the ceiling could ever harm us. We were lesbians determined to claim our rightful place in the checkout line of life!

Betty and I have always tried to be out as much as possible. Every job I have applied for since our Holy Union, I have dropped the words partner or companion in the interview. I do not want to live in the closet.

Gay folks know what I mean, ’cause we have all been there to some extent, and I can tell you, it’s no fun. It’s like being a lawyer pretending to be a garbage man. Sometimes the pink silk tie pokes out from beneath your coveralls, and sometimes it’s hidden. Pretending to be who you are not is a lie, and lying is not good for little children or the gay community.

I have to smile when I see a diesel dyke, (i.e., a very butch or manly lesbian) with her nails painted red, wearing pearl earrings and a skirt, trying to “pass” at a family wedding or a business convention.

I’m like, “Sister, if you think you’re passing for a straight woman, looking like Martina Navratilova on (more) steroids, your breasts bound up in an ace bandage, wearing Doc Martin’s with little heels, you’re psycho!”

It’s the same thing with men, especially handsome gay men. Take a look at the Facebook profiles of your gay friends. Forget the Doc Martins with heels; men go as far as to use live women as props. There they are, cheesing it up for the camera, holding a sexy woman seductively close, mouthing the words, “I’m a top …”

Come on guys, really?

“But hold it right there,” you say! “Why am I reading a column poking fun at queer folk pretending to be who they are not, written by a local queer columnist under a pseudonym?”

Well … let’s go back to when Betty and I got married the first time, 17 years ago. One day we came home, tired from working all day, to find that our front screen door had been sliced open with a knife.

Another day, I walked to our mailbox expecting to find a few bills, when what I actually found was an explicit magazine photo, held down by a rock, showing what “one man and one woman” could do on the kitchen table, besides eating soft-boiled eggs.
We’ve known lesbians whose homes have been burned down and children who have been beaten up on school property.
You see some things change over the years, and some things stay the same.

Because we still have Bubbas out there and right wing conservative nuts calling down earthquakes from God to kill all the queers, we still have lawyers dressed like garbage men and dykes pretending to be Madonna. It’s sad, but we do what we can, when we can, and we choose our moments.

Fortunately, the closet is getting to be less of a sealed tomb with all the oxygen piped out and more of a high fashioned “changing room,” a place where we can come and go at will, slipping into our boxers and high-top Chuck Taylor’s when we want to and into our red lipstick and pearls when we must.

It’s not the way it should be, and it’s not the way it will be, but it is the way it is.

So be safe out there, baby dykes. And remember me when you give yourself a manicure with medium grade construction-quality sandpaper, ’cause I’ve been there girls.

Love,
Lillian

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