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You Can Be a Lesbian, If You Can Be Quiet

Updated on July 24, 2013

Volume VII

My dad has no problem bragging about my education and
career. After several years of refusing to even enter my home, in recent time
he has not only entered but traveled hundreds of mile to do so. And, based on outward
appearances, after ten years he seems to adore my wife and stepson. In spite of
this progress, I get the impression that he's accepting as long as no one has
to know that his daughter is a lesbian.

Honestly, my father has never shared how he felt about my sexuality. As a matter of fact, my father doesn't say how he feels about much of anything of substance. I told him I was a lesbian via a letter, when I was twenty years old. He never responded. I heard from my brother that he had a bit of a breakdown one day and revealed to my brother what the letter said. According to my brother, my father was in utter disbelief. However, he never said a word to me and was always cordial to my girlfriends. My siblings did much of the same. So I thought that everyone was accepting until my wife's mother made her latest backhanded compliment.

She was said to have stated that she did not mind visiting my wife and I because we were, "classy with ours."

Scenario: My wife's mother and several other family members were preparing to visit us in South Carolina. Well, my mother-in-law kept changing her mind about if she was or was not coming. My wife thought that her mom had a problem with her and/or us and asked her aunt to find out if she did. My wife was relieved to learn that her mother was in no way trying to avoid us. As a matter of fact, she found us to be "classy with ours."

I pondered over the meaning of this statement for quite a while. Were we classy because we were college educated and well-spoken? No, she said we were "classy with ours." 'Ours' must have meant our sexuality. What made us classy lesbians to her? Again I asked myself if it was the education, speech, style of dress, etiquette or taste. I wanted it to be one of these so desperately, but I knew the truth. We were classy to her because we were both feminine lesbians and gave no outward indications of our sexuality. We were classy because we allowed her to be a closeted parent of a lesbian. This made me wonder if my dad was the same way. I wondered if he to only accepts us if no one knows that we are lesbians.

This wasn't the first time that I had someone close to me pretend to accept me. I met this friend when we began pledging a non-Greek sorority together. We were LS's, and if any of you know how close you are to a line sister, you understand how much I loved her almost immediately. After we pledged non-Greek, we were approached to pledge a Greek organization, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated. Neither of us was ready for a second pledging process but we both fell in love with SGRho. So we became LS's for the second time. When my wife and I were married, she was one of twenty people on the guests' list. I fell in love with her in a platonic way. Then someone in her family was suspected of being gay, and she revealed how she really felt. She didn't agree with it, but felt that because she didn't say it or treat me differently it was okay. I didn't know what to think then or now.

Part of me agrees with my friend. As long as people treat me and my wife fairly, why should it matter if they don't agree with my sexuality? Then another part of me wonders if everyone who is quietly against us is simply resting in limbo and waiting to ambush me when their homosexual beliefs are challenged, homosexuality hits too close to home, or lesbian daughters refuse to be silenced.

(Please comment at the bottom of this page!)

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    • AMarie Jackson profile imageAUTHOR

      AMarie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Summerville, South Carolina

      You're right. Understanding my sexuality has been difficult at times for me to accept; so, with thoughtful consideration, I have come to better understand the struggles they must be experiencing.

    • jackiemac profile image

      jackiemac 

      5 years ago from orange county, ca

      There are no easy answers for the right way to be out...or who to tell & not to tell. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to accept our families for who they are, even if they don't get our sexuality. Doesn't make it any easier, but that's the reality.

    • AMarie Jackson profile imageAUTHOR

      AMarie Jackson 

      6 years ago from Summerville, South Carolina

      I totally agree with your conclusion. Your perception is very refreshing. It has opened my eyes. How can I live in the closet and expect others to out me? But I will say that my last comment on the blog related to my stepson was that he has accepted it and now allowed me to two free to live openly. Also, I have vowed to live openly, which I stated in earlier comments. But I thank you.

    • profile image

      Refreshing 

      6 years ago

      I have read several of your blogs but I've ended up back here. You have mentioned how you don't openly talk about your sexuality at work or your son's school (to name a few). If you aren't open with your sexuality and your wife, why would you expect anyone outside of your relationship to be so open. Sounds to me like the statement "classy with ours" describes a way that you all as a couple conceal your relationship which is why others that are not so openly accepting can respect it. Bottom line is your families could have easily written you off but instead they are doing what's comfortable with them which is accepting you for being a "Lipstick Lesbian."

    • AMarie Jackson profile imageAUTHOR

      AMarie Jackson 

      6 years ago from Summerville, South Carolina

      Acknowledgement of my spouse and family would be accpetance in my opinion. I would appreciate it if she were introduced as my wife. The choice not to do so is because they are uncomfortable with the idea and would be disclosing to people in their lives that their daughters are lesbians.

    • profile image

      Jelly 

      6 years ago

      Although your father and in-law show some type of hesitance or resistance to accepting the love that you and your spouse have for each other, I believe they are accepting. It really depends on how you define acceptance. If you define acceptance as loving you and still interacting with you, then it seems that they are gradually becoming accepting. If you do not define it as this, how would you define acceptance?

    • AMarie Jackson profile imageAUTHOR

      AMarie Jackson 

      6 years ago from Summerville, South Carolina

      That is a unique perspective but very true. Many people feel that they need an explanation or justification that explains homosexuality rather than accepting and loving people.

    • JeanesseM profile image

      JeanesseM 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      It's sad how some people feel that sexuality should be justified to be acceptable.

    • AMarie Jackson profile imageAUTHOR

      AMarie Jackson 

      6 years ago from Summerville, South Carolina

      @Eric, I guess most parents have the same reaction. They assume their children are heterosexual. I think its the perception of society and fear of hurtful things being said to their children that truly drives their feelings of disapproval. @ john I know you are right. I just wonder and worry about the day the truth is revealed. I am afraid of the hurt.

    • johndnathan profile image

      John D Nathan 

      6 years ago from Dallas, Texas. USA

      True. I do feel that she accepted him, and not my sexuality, but that's probably the best I can expect from her. I'm fine with that.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      6 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Schucks, I got a 29 year old and a 23 year old daugther, never did occur to me what their sexuality is. We talk about sexual attractions and love. They sure as heck do not want to hear about mine. I am one of those traditional, only my wife guys.

      I cannot imagine that their happiness with another would ever cause me grief or shame. I suppose there are a lot of folks out there that I should feel sorry for.

    • AMarie Jackson profile imageAUTHOR

      AMarie Jackson 

      6 years ago from Summerville, South Carolina

      But it appears that she accepted him and not that you were gay. I feel like my dad approves my wife but not my sexuality and that troubles me.

    • johndnathan profile image

      John D Nathan 

      6 years ago from Dallas, Texas. USA

      I understand your situation. I'm a writer at heart, and couldn't come out to my Roman Catholic mother in person, so I did it in an email. She shunned me for a week, but eventually learned to love my boyfriend when she found out he was of genius-level intelligence and highly cultured.

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