Happy June, Summer, and GLBT Pride month!
I’m a proud mom, wife, Christian, and queer. I also happen to be a librarian who tells jokes on occasion. That doesn’t seem so radical, but sometimes people see or hear the queer, and they lose sight of all the other things that make me, well, me.
Next month I’m performing a stand-up set at Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, North Carolina. The festival is, according to organizers, “an art, music, and story-driven transformational experience grounded in faith-inspired social justice.” http://wildgoosefestival.org Am I going to tell jokes about parenting? You betcha! Am I going to tell jokes about Jesus, his followers, and why he should be prominent in Minecraft? Of course! Finally, am I going to come out? Yes.
I come out all the time.
I come out when I tell the repair person that my wife will be home to let them in.
I come out when I tell my son’s teachers what they call their moms, other than “mean” and “unfair” which is a regular for my 6-year-old.
I come out when I ask a pastor at a local church whether they lead a welcoming congregation.
And most of the time I think about it before I do.
That brings me to what I’m going to do at Wild Goose beside tell jokes.
I’m chasing my set with a conversation, “I’m Queer. Am I Welcome Here?” That shouldn’t be a question. But it is. GLBT Christians (that’s not an oxymoron – we’re everywhere – and so are GLBT Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Baha’i followers, you name it) think about that question when visiting a place of worship. Let that sink in. I don’t just church-shop, I research the church ahead of time not only to determine how I fit with the congregation but if it’s safe to walk in the door. Heads up religious folk, communities of faith are called to share the good news with ALL of God’s children. I’ll be happy when people like Justin Lee have nothing to write and talk about. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Lee_(activist)
Sometimes people say they love that being gay isn’t a big deal anymore. Unfortunately, that’s not the case unless you’ve joined me in my safe, little, liberal, bubble where I pretend that narrow-minded people and homophobes don’t exist. Then I emerge from said bubble, and I witness this:
My wife and I decide to go for a stroll and we avoid PDAs because we know there are KKK supporters or neo-Nazis in the area (they hate gays too, not just racial minorities).
Curriculum that includes GLBT history (and civil rights, and race issues, and immigrant issues) is being erased from textbooks.
Someone who I consider being a very ‘woke’ friend (and I’m not facetious) suggested I not use the term wife on an application for a village election.
It still feels radical to say, “my wife,” and it shouldn’t – see above.
I’ve been uninvited from leadership in a MOPS (Mother’s of Preschoolers) group because my lifestyle isn’t in alignment with their code of ethics.
Because podcasts like #ilovemywife (www.ilovemywifepodcast.com) and Cameron Esposito’s Queerycast (https://www.cameronesposito.com/ ), and so many more GLBT people in all careers and locations and levels of visibility, are standing up and talking about the ways our lives are like everyone else’s and different at the same time. But the fact that their level of being out is brave and bold, and wonderful, proves that our lives are not like everyone else’s. Not yet.
I stand up now and I will stand up every day, at least while I’m alive, until I don’t have to come out. Until I don’t have to think about coming out.