If you are a regular reader of mine, perhaps you noticed that I was MIA last month. A dedicated procrastinator, l can’t blame last month’s absence on a case of leaving things until too late. I simply had nothing to say.
This coming April will mark my 30th anniversary as an out lesbian, and it appears that after all this time I’ve spent writing about being gay, squawking about homophobia, entreating others about LGBT rights, joking about lesbian hair and rescue dogs, and cajoling straight people into LGBT awareness, I might be done talking about it.
I can hear you now: “Abby! Uganda’s about to pass the Kill-the-Homos bill. How can you be silent?” or “What about all those LGBT kids who are still at high risk for suicide?”
I know. We’re not finished. If anything, we’re just beginning. So, Jodie Foster joked about being a single lesbian on the market at the Golden Globes – that’s not even notable gay-lebrity news now. But in the real world, the Supreme Court is poised this year to decide on marriage equality. They could send us back or ahead 20 years. No doubt change is afoot. Only a few months ago I predicted that 2012 might go down as the most important year in our collective history, only to be beaten by 2013.
I must have something to say about it all. But I don’t. So, I guess I’ll riff on that for a moment.
Aside from the panic I’m having that another column deadline is upon me, I’m enjoying this sense of swimming along in the ordinary-ness.
This must be what straight people feel. Or rather, I’d characterize it as not so much a feeling, but an absence of a feeling. A sense that I don’t have to remember I’m a lesbian. I can’t count the number of times in the last few weeks in which I discussed my partner with a stranger, barely triggering a blip in my blood pressure. You know what I mean – that slight tightening up when you coolly come out to someone you don’t really know and act like it was no big deal. It’s always a big deal even if people act all hip about it. Saying you’re queer still isn’t the same as announcing that you joined the Kiwanis, no matter where you live.
Yet, in my current state of homosexual mindlessness, I’ve had been at the local bank, the pharmacy, signing up for the frequent shopper card at the grocery, and giving my partner’s name and “in case of emergency” info away as if I were cashing in coupons.
Like I said, it’s kind of nice to burble along, disconnected from the reality that I’m damned lucky (or deluded) to be so unmoved to issue an observation. It’s relaxing, even boring. I can only dimly recall that keen sense I used to have of my environment, which came with being on the margins; the knowledge that I could take nothing for granted, and I didn’t want to anyway. I almost giggle at the irony now: I’m a columnist on LGBT issues and a host of one of the oldest LGBT-themed radio shows ever. In short, I’m a professional lesbian, and I’m going about my days with only a casual awareness of LGBT issues. This, I suppose, is what privilege is.
Except for one thing. I doubt that I, a woman who is never, ever at a loss for words (my friends and family can confirm), genuinely have nothing else to say on this subject or any other. I suspect that what I’m experiencing is not really done-ness, but fatigue.
A small voice inside is screaming that I’m tired of having to explain what should be self-evident. I’m tired of cajoling straight people to speak up in the face of bigotry (really, it is your business). I’m tired of reminding us all, straight and LGBT (me most of all) that all social injustices are interconnected and that there’s still a big fight ahead for people who haven’t been able to indulge in a little delusion now and again that everything is OK.
Maybe I do have something left to say. See you next time.
Abby is a civil rights attorney-turned-author who has been in the LGBT rights trenches for 25+ years. She can be reached through her website: queerquestionsstraighttalk.com.