not a “civilian gay” anymore!

Well, I have just finished my third week at Family Pride and am
beginning to settle in.  I am really excited to back doing
professional advocacy work for the lgbt communities again.  I have
worked for SpeakOut, a Boston-based lgbt speaker’s bureau, and
GLSEN Boston.  I made a concerted decision to become a “civilian
gay” as my friends like to refer to my departure from the
professional lgbt world.  When I entered back in the mainstream
nonprofit world, I found working with heterosexual individuals was
more difficult than I remembered.  There were lots of awkward
moments when people found out I was a lesbian, sad moments when
someone I thought was a friend said something homophobic, and
overall lots of exhausting moments having to the goodwill
ambassador for the lgbt community with people who had never talked
to a lesbian before.

All that is not to say, that I didn’t meet and work with some
great folks in those four years.  I did.  But all that explaining
of who I was, how I loved who I loved, and that we were a family
(with our beloved pug, Bella, of course) was exhausting.  My work
at SpeakOut came in handy, because everyday I hosted a bunch of
mini-lgbt 101 trainings.  And while it was trying at times, I know
I changed hearts and minds.

One of my former colleagues had a baby and he called me to tell me
about a conversation someone was having with him about his daughter
marrying a man someday.  He corrected that person and said,
“well, you never know.”  Before we worked together, he had
never had a serious conversation with a lesbian about gender,
sexual orientation, the politics working against us and our
families.  I truly believe he is an ally now and will always be
listening for assumptions AND correcting them.

I am looking forward to moving beyond simply educating the people
immediately around me to taking our message of love, justice,
family and equality to communities all over the country so positive
changes that affect our kids and families will be felt for years to