Coming Out in a Virtual World

There is no single "coming out" for queer folk - we come out over and over again. We come out to ourselves, our parents, our friends and co-workers. We come out to our children's teachers, to our health care providers, to our accountants, to the cable guy and a whole host of others. It's not like I tell the pizza delivery guy, "Thanks for the pizza and do you see that lady standing to my left? Yeah, I kiss her - with tongue." Coming out can be subtle and unspoken, like approaching a salesperson to buy a bed with your partner. When you are both trying the bed out and talking about who sleeps on which side, that salesperson knows damn well that you are not simply "good friends".  When I joined Facebook and became actively involved with people from the past, I knew that I would be coming out again in ways that I never imagined. I don't censor myself and don't hide things. I am who I am. I knew that nothing I would write would surprise my family or good friends. At that point, I didn't think about people from the distant past finding me. So, when I got a couple of friend requests from people I had known in my pre-gay days in Kansas - I did pause before confirming them. I knew that by accepting them as my friends that I would also be exposing myself as the big lesbo I am. What would they think? What would they say? In the end, I did confirm them and I have had lovely conversations with them about my life and my family. Yesterday, however, I received a friend request from a high school acquaintance who belongs to Facebook groups that clearly put us on opposite ends of the political spectrum and I really started to think about what it means to be visible in these virtual worlds. Back in my Lesbian Avenger days, we did a lot of actions that were specifically designed to increase lesbian visibility, like driving downtown on Valentine's Day and handing out Hershey kisses attached to cards that read "You've just been kissed by a lesbian". In some ways, lesbians are doing the same thing on the internet everyday. We are blogging. We are on Twitter and Facebook. We are truly everywhere and we are talking about our lives, our families, politics, sex and everything else you can imagine and it's beautiful. It's about visibility...readers just don't get the Hershey kiss to go with it. So, I have decided to keep that Facebook friend and she will see my blog posts and my pictures and my life as it is. Will she think of me differently? Will she think of lesbians differently? Will she think of liberals differently? Will it change her? I doubt it but I don't know that for sure. I truly believe that we are not yet living in a Post-Gay world in which coming out is no longer important. Each time I tell the truth...I have to believe that it matters. I've seen the truth work wonders.