With National Coming Out Day hitting last week, I read a lot of blogs that talked about coming out and found it interesting that a lot of bloggers chose to end their blog postings with comments about how it gets better.
Even Middle Age Butch commented In Celebration of National Coming Out Day “that it does get better and easier.”
With that said, I thought I’d explore some of the ways that things have gotten better for this butch lesbian since coming out a decade or so ago.
ONE. I can carry around a copy of the Philadelphia Gay News in public without shame. I knew that I was becoming more comfortable with being out when a gentleman approached me in Borders, pointed to the newspaper that I was carrying and asked where he could get a copy. I didn’t blush or stammer and eloquently directed him to the upstairs news rack.
TWO. I can buy lesbian erotica from a bookstore without turning 50 shades of red. I remember buying a lesbian erotica book in the early days of my coming out. Another “research project” for this fresh-out-of-the-closet butch. I’m not sure who was more embarrassed, me or the female bookstore clerk. I had wedged the erotica in between a stack of unassuming books in an attempt to camouflage it. The Canterbury Tales, Best Butch Femme Erotica, Little Women, The Essential Wok Cookbook. The clerk wasn’t falling for my well-planned ruse. She took one look at the canoodling women on the front cover of the erotica book and turned as red as the freshly spanked ass on page 73. Which, in turn, made me blush. I think I threw a couple of twenties at her and ran for the door. Or at least that’s what I wanted to do.
I like that I have enough swagger and confidence these days to buy an erotica book without turning colors like a lesbian chameleon, losing consciousness or pretending that the book is for my pretend lesbian friend, Ronnie. “Oh, she’s such a raging lesbian. Big, strapping bull dyke of a girl. She is really going to love this.”
THREE. I’m not fazed when someone mistakenly refers to me as “sir.” I usually just deepen my voice and go with it, unless the person realizes his or her mistake and begins to apologize profusely. “Not a problem,” I’ll say and mean it. I used to look over my shoulder and wonder who the rude guy was who was ignoring someone’s question.
FOUR. I can do what I want these days without stereotypical gender restrictions. For example, my mother never let me take drum lessons when I was a kid because, apparently, drums are for boys. These days, I can pay for my own lessons and become a rock star in a kick-ass all-girl rock band. Except that I’m 45 and way too old for late-night gigs and really loud music and being on the road for prolonged periods of time. But I totally could if I wanted to.
FIVE. I pay for my own clothes these days, so I can shop in the men’s department for all of my apparel needs. I can buy and wear ties and pinstripes and sleeveless T-shirts and suspenders. Whatever floats this butch’s boat.
So, it does get better. A lot better. It’s all about liking the skin that you’re in. With that comes confidence and on the really good days a little bit of swagger, especially when I’m wearing a necktie or maybe a really thick leather wrist cuff. On those days, I’m a rock star, even though I never learned how to play the drums.