Some of My Best Friends Are Straight
There are plenty of days when the only gay person I talk to is my husband. On a day like today, when he’s out of town at a conference and I’m home with the kids, I don’t even get that. I’m relatively certain that I didn’t speak to any gay people today.
I dropped the kids off at school this morning, said good morning to some parents and some teachers. There’s a dad who is possibly gay, by which I mean that I get a vibe and have seen no evidence that he’s married to a woman. We see each other at both of my sons’ schools most mornings, but I didn’t run into him today. There’s a foster mom who I’m pretty sure is a lesbian, and if she has a foster child and if that child is in kindergarten, first, or second grade, we usually cross paths. I saw her car this morning, which has more bumper stickers than any other car in town. But I didn’t see her.
I took my sons to therapy this afternoon. They’re both straight women. One of them has a sister who is a lesbian, but it’s not like we’ve met. Does that count?
We had dinner with my parents. They’re straight, too.
It’s possible that the guy who made my coffee this morning is gay, or the woman at the drive-through pharmacy window.
Obviously, it’s also quite possible that any of these people I have assumed are straight, based on their marriages to people of the opposite sex, are bisexual.
When I was in school, I had lots of gay friends that I saw every day. When I had a job, I had plenty of gay coworkers that I saw every day.
Now, though? I live in the suburbs, in the Republican part of Massachusetts (that’s really a thing!), and I only see my gay friends on Facebook.
For gay men, Austin and I became parents extremely early. I’ll be thirty-five next month, and my sons are five and seven. Not a single one of my gay friends from high school or college is a parent yet. That will change next month, when a friend from high school and her wife are due to have a baby. Another friend from high school just announced that she’s expecting a baby later this year, too. I haven’t seen either of these women in seventeen years, though, and that doesn’t seem likely to change any time soon.
What I’m trying to say is that most of my interactions are with straight people. Strictly based on the numbers, it’s pretty likely that both of my children are straight, too.
And on 364 days out of 365, that’s fine.
But sometimes it’s exhausting.
Maybe it’s exhausting today because I’ve been by myself with the kids since Sunday afternoon, and I’m just exhausted.
Maybe it’s exhausting today because gay people were unceremoniously dropped from immigration reform, and it’s a vivid reminder that we really are second class citizens, begging for scraps from the table.
Maybe it’s exhausting today because I’m filled with anxiety waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on the marriage cases this summer. What if we lose? Prop 8 broke my heart on election day in 2008 because it seemed like that year we maybe had a chance to change the momentum. And this year has been going so well for marriage equality, but what if it’s all just leading up to an enormous, heart-breaking loss at the Supreme Court this summer?
Whichever of those straws broke this camel’s back, today I am tired of straight people.
Not some straight people, not just ignorant straight people or bigoted straight people. All straight people.
Because here’s the reality: we can never really be sure of you. Not all the way. Sometimes people who look like allies throw you under the bus. Maybe you believe in my equality, but only until it’s inconvenient. Maybe you think it’s kind of sort of understandable that gay people were dropped from the immigration bill, because isn’t it better for the greater good to be served?
Tomorrow, I’ll go back to liking you. Tomorrow, I will try to politely explain how what you said devalues gay people and assumes our lives don’t have quite the same value as yours. Tomorrow, I will pretend it’s not annoying when you ask a question about my wife. Ha ha, of course it’s not annoying, and of course you assumed that I married to a woman! Why would you have ever considered any other possibility?
But tonight? I’m tired of you.