I am left handed. I don’t have a left-handed lifestyle, or identity, exactly: the variation of left-handers is as great as that of right-handers, and in my view of myself it is as important as being Scots, or a graduate, or a pianist- I acknowledge it if someone mentions that my pen is in my left hand. If that is “never shutting up” about being left-handed, then I would never shut up about it, and if anyone thought that made me less, or disabled, or the spawn of the Devil as in the past, I would want a Pride march.
People make assumptions. The partner of a woman is going to be a man- well, obviously: even I make that assumption, but though I am embarrassed and apologetic when I get it wrong, others turn that feeling outward in resentment. So Hollywood is “full” of gay characters, even though the proportion on screen is lower than that in the general population. It gets noticed.
-How was your weekend?
-I had a date. It was wonderful! We just clicked immediately, it was as if we had known each other for ages [You know, the idealised “known each other for ages”, not the bored, irritated by faults and mannerisms, sex is mechanical if it ever happens at all known each other for ages]. How long can you go without a pronoun or a name, a revelation or assumption? If it slips out, am I “going on about it”?
Sometimes it is in a friendship where we would talk about these things, and sometimes there is small-talk with a stranger when it happens to come up, and I must decide whether to Come Out to someone I have just met or be evasive- like strapping my watch on my left wrist in case Someone Notices, rather than in order to avoid a watch-mark in my sun tan. Incidentally, my watch has its knob on the right of the face, assuming its wearer is right handed like most people. Better to avoid embarrassment: this is in part internalised homophobia, in part fear for ones job, and in part wanting to avoid a scene or deal with someone else’s reaction.
We make our own way, sometimes coming out and of course it is all right, because people are either completely accepting or they know that, though they are not, it is their problem and not mine; and sometimes coming out and the atmosphere goes cold and tense or the shutters come down behind the other’s eyes and they put on a formal act of being accepting. I can’t be bothered with that. So sometimes I do indeed just shut up, and die a little.