I will go back to finishing my …. journey? life? Experience as a gay child/teen/woman, and endeavor to explain *why* I felt the way I did - and why I chose the things I chose - and NOT because I owe anyone anything….. but because I *know* for a fact I'm not the only person who grew up this way - but I *hope* that I'm one of the last generation of gays who grows up this way.
I get a lot of email and questions about why I didn't come out on The Blog when I came out to my friends and family…. in the first place, and I say this with love - I am entitled to some privacy. This is a *huge* personal step for me to take - and it was my right to take that step in private. Additionally, when someone "comes out" - there is also a coming out period for that persons family and friends - and I needed to honor that and allow my family and friends the privacy to come out with me.
And yes….. El Capitan and La Novia *both* felt that I should not publish anything on The Blog. Last time - none of us were expecting, nor inviting, the media storm that followed the sign. *THIS* time, however, all three of were concerned about what (if any) media storm might occur if the country's "most famous scorned woman" (according to certain news outlets) - discovered that I was living as a lesbian. Remember that thing I wrote about giving La Novia a *say* in our family…..? Well: I meant it.
There were also concerns about safety. I posted the story about Brandon Teena (if you didn't read it - at least watch the movie….. seriously), but most of us think that safety in the LGBTQ community isn't a real concern…. well: it is.
In an unrelated event, the day after I ended things with Carhartt she was assaulted in a parking lot. Because there is an on-going legal investigation where charges have been filed, I have to very careful about what I write….. but here is the story:
I was honest when I said that Carhartt looks…. like Carhartt. She wears Carhartt pants and shirts, she works in a place where only men work - so much so, there is NO women's bathroom for her to use. Yes… that's true.
She keeps her hair short and wears boys trucker hats. She wears big ole' work boots and no make up. She *likes* being a she…. but she dresses like a man, goes by the male version of her name and from a distance (and even from close up) looks…. like a guy. In the 80s some people might have called her a "bull dyke"…. the common term these days would be "butch" lesbian.
Dressed in her usual work clothes, Carhartt was approached by a man who was speaking in a foreign language. He appeared to be under the influence of something and he was gesturing in a manner that indicated to Carhartt that he was questioning whether or not Carhartt was a girl or a boy.
Carhartt ignored the man and continued to her truck in the parking lot. The man stepped in front of Carhartt prohibiting her from getting in her truck and while asking questions the man reached down and grabbed Carhartt in the groin area.
In the LGBTQ community, this is known as a "gender check". When someone walks up to someone - usually a stranger - and feels either their genital area or their breast area to "see" if they are a boy or a girl.
This happens *much* more frequently that you would know. Butch girls are *constantly* harassed in women's bathrooms because they are mistaken for men. I had one friend who was escorted out of a mall bathroom and held in the mall office while these "security guards" tried to make her remove her shirt and "prove" she was a girl.
So this man reached down and grabbed Carhartt's crotch. Carhartt, scared and surprised in a parking lot well after hours (she works a night shift) - pushed the man off her and punched him in the face - apparently breaking his nose.
This infuriated the man who proceeded to punch back - striking Carhartt in the face once above the eye and once below the eye. The punch below her eye broke her cheek bone… which has another name.
Carhartt then stepped back and did what her Grandma taught her to do: she kicked him in the nuts.
Apparently, certain medical damage was done to the man's genitals. As he stumbled, another co-worker arrived in the parking lot, having watched the man punch Carhartt several times - and he pushed the man to the ground. The man hit his head and (apparently) suffered a skull fracture.
The end result is that Carhartt's face was smashed in (it's broken in two places), the man who started this is now charged with a Hate Crime (which is a federal offense) and the co-worker has been charged with assault for pushing the man to the ground.
Carhartt is still recovering from her injuries.
My decision on whether or not to come out *does* actually put me at risk, and to that extent, it puts my kids at risk as well. Which is a very scary thing for me….. for all of us.
This is actually the *third* time Carhartt has been injured in a physical altercation with men looking to prove she's a girl or a guy…… and sadly: it probably won't be the last time.
So, I didn't not tell you guys when I finally decided that I was willing to stand up and be true to myself because I wanted to dupe anybody, or I was trying to lie…. I was very careful about the language I used - it was gender neutral. And, any Blog readers who were friends with me on facebook were told over FB message that I was a lesbian - and - anyone who wrote me and asked me directly was told the truth.
The worst part is that Carhartt was hurt and there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn't make it better, I couldn't nurse her through her injuries because she lives too far away…. and we broke up. It's been a *really* rough fourish weeks now…
So. Now you know the truth. Carhartt and I talked about whether or not to share this…. but we both felt that it's important for people to realize that it's NOT OKAY to question someone's gender. IT's NOT OKAY to challenge someone in a parking lot because of how they are dressed….. or because how they are dressed isn't something you can easily define as "boy" or "girl". It shouldn't matter.
No matter what she's wearing - Carhartt is a strong person with educated opinions, a kind heart and a passion for alllllll things outdoors. Her gender doesn't define who she is, who she loves or how she lives….. and the question of her gender should be a reason for someone to cause her harm. Her being a dyke should be even *less* of a reason someone physically challenges her.
Being gay is how we identify. It's defines who we love …. but - we are still just normal people who should be afforded tolerance and safety. Period.