Courtney Jacobson

My coming out story is that I refuse to ‘come out,’ in the conventional sense.

I resent the heteronormative (or homonormative) assumption that, because I’m queer, I have to announce my sexual orientation.  I also take issue with the fact that anyone identifying as heterosexual is assumed to have a simple and straightforward sexual identity, and so there is no need to think about or discuss it.

Understanding my sexual identity has been a long, but not dramatic process.  I knew from the time I was about six years old – when I started having sex dreams about women (but not men) – that I didn’t fit the normal mode; I just didn’t know yet what that meant.  It wasn’t until I was about thirteen that I had a clearer idea of how my sexual orientation was a part of me, and the terminology to describe it: “bai-sεks’-juel.”  By high school, I felt totally comfortable with my sexuality.  But at no point did I sit my parents or friends or anyone down in order to inform them that, contrary to the assumed assumption that they thought I was straight, I was, in fact, queer.

Being “queer-identified” has also complicated the process, because my sexual orientation is less visible to, and more problematic for, other people.  If I walk down the street with a boyfriend, I’m assumed to be straight.  If I walk down the street with a girlfriend, I’m assumed to be a lesbian.  But neither label is accurate.  I feel like I’m required to come out to both the straight community (“FYI, I sleep with girls”), as well as to the LGBTQA community (“oh, and I also still sleep with boys”).  Not to mention the fact that the label the world gives me (“bisexual”) assumes a gender binary I don’t even believe exists!  And then there is the problem of people refusing to accept by self-identification: straight people who insist it’s just a phase, or that I’ll “end up” with a man “in the end;” queer people who assume the same things, or think I’m somehow betraying my community.  I love being a part of the queer community, but to be a genuine part of it, I have to be able to be myself.

I would much rather have people learn about my sexual orientation the same way they would learn anything else about me: in the course of normal conversation – the same way one would learn that someone has kids or grew up in Maine or is allergic to cinnamon.  Because that’s what being queer is to me – one of many facets of my personality.  I think making a big deal out of coming out is what makes it a big deal; it assumes that being queer is so unnatural that it must be disclosed and explained to people.  Rather than a special condition, I want my sexuality to be another, normal part of my life; another part of what makes me me.