“gonna wash me clean”
My work holiday party was Friday. I don’t generally discuss work here, but for this to make sense, my work holiday party is not an employees-and-spouses shindig. It is a much broader thing than that. It included a little how the past year went report, in which there were lots of introductions, and explanations of folks’ connection with my work. These included a friend/acquaintance introducing himself, from some organization, and me, because i’m closely involved in that org with him. Cool. Except his introduction was “this is Brett Ashley, and that’s her girlfriend, Jamie.”
Now, personally, not that big of a deal. It’s a gay organization, and i’m on the board – so i can pretty well count myself publicly out.
But it really pisses me off in an ideological sort of way. Most simply, i just don’t think it’s ever proper to out anyone but your own damn self.
One, this is my job. Yes, i do work for a progressive place. But i also work in a state where it isn’t illegal to fire me ’cause you don’t like the way i look (or how gay i am). To be clear, my job wasn’t on the line – he knows my boss, and knows my boss knows i’m gay. I’m not sure if all my coworkers knew (i mean, surely, but you never know). He certainly couldn’t have known. I absolutely do have coworkers who are way uncomfortable with gayness, though they are personally polite and politically progressive about it.
Two, this is a room full of people who are strangers to him, who i have to work with in some capacity or another. The majority of whom think homosexuality is a sin. I don’t honestly think there will be any fallout from it, but it might have been worth a bit of consideration.
It’s just so fucking naive, is what really drives me crazy. Like the fact that he knows i’m gay and i’m not actively trying to hide it from anybody must mean i think it is important or acceptable to announce to every person i meet. It just exemplifies what i can’t stand about gay activism – it’s so self-centered. There is a complete lack of analysis as to what the possible effects could be on other things, as if, as long as everything is gay enough, nothing else matters.
I simply don’t hold to that. I’m not closeted (Granny excepted), but i am not really out and proud. Just out. I’ve never lied about it, and i don’t hide it (i’ve already mentioned how much i love PDA). But there are places where anyone’s sexuality is inappropriate, and more importantly, there are many, many situations in which it doesn’t take priority.
I can see where he would think i wouldn’t mind – though i disagree – but i know for a fact he doesn’t know Jamie well enough to reasonably make the assumptions about her that he made about me. Which just makes it that much more naive. Plus it just makes me a little protective. Though she didn’t mind, other than in the kind of ideological way i just ranted about.
“Holy Water” – Lori McKenna