I think this post from The Portly Dyke is something everyone needs to read. As a follow up from posting about last Friday’s Day of Silence, this personal testimony complements things very nicely. It’s a longer read, but seriously, read the whole thing if you have the chance. The most powerful part for me was when TPD was talking about a friend who did not seem to fully understand what it was like to be silenced and self-monitored in public because of one’s sexual orientation. The author describes a challenge she issued to her friends:
So, I issued her and her husband a challenge (and I’ll issue the same challenge to any straight coupled allies here who want to raise their awareness of LBGTQ issues):
Spend an entire week pretending that you’re not a couple. Don’t write a check from a joint bank account. Hide all the photographs in your home and office which would identify you as a couple. Take off your wedding rings. Touch each other, and talk to each other, in public, in ways that could only be interpreted as you being “friends”. Refer to yourself only in the singular “I”, never in the “we”. When you go to work on Monday, if you spent time together on the weekend, include only information which would indicate that you went somewhere with a friend, rather than your life-mate. If someone comes to stay with you, sleep in separate beds. Go intentionally into the closet as a couple. For a week.
They took my challenge.
They lasted exactly three days.
My friend returned to me in tears on day four and said: “I’m sorry. I had no idea what it is like for you.”
[For those of you straight allies who are not coupled, but who want to play along, your challenge is (perhaps) simpler: Spend one week in which you make no mention and give no hint of your sexual orientation at all. When straight people around you are parsing the hotness of the opposite gender, go silent, or play along in a way that makes it seem as if you are part of the gang, but never reveals any real personal information. If someone asks you about your love-life, be evasive and non-committal. If you went on a date, and you’re talking about it later, de-genderize all the pronouns, or consciously switch them (him to her, her to him, etc.).]
That is how I lived for the first 32 years of my life, whether I was single or coupled.
Read the whole post here, pleeeease.