Other people’s anger

I don’t really like “gay panic” killings to be part of entertainment. Two TV dramas I have seen this month included a gay panic killing- one might even have been a trans panic, as the murder victim was female in Virtual reality but male in real life. Yes, I know they exist, and there was no sympathy for the murderer in either, but someone I could identify with was bludgeoned to death. Women complain about the number of women murdered in such dramas- it always begins with the death of a ‘girl’…

Why should a gay pass be such a provocation, anyway? Both dramas showed it raising uncomfortable echoes in the murderer. The organismic self, feeling attraction, comes up against the self-concept, furiously asserting “I’m not gay”. All the rage and terror that elicits is projected outwards, onto the nearest possible victim. If that gay man is disgusting, then the murderer can ignore his disgust for himself. And he makes his disgust and anger indisputable- surely he cannot be gay, when he feels so strongly.

Such cognitive dissonance, the conflict between who I am and who I ought to be, is painful. Turning the anger outwards may reduce the pain, but cannot address the problem. Neither can my instinctive method, which is to turn the anger inwards. I beat myself up for not living up to who I ought to be. Well, I am not that person, and so the anger only hurts me; but turning it inwards has the advantage, for me, that it does not manifest in conduct which others may find objectionable, until it means I have no motivation to do anything at all.

So now, having drained away my motivation and my self-respect, the anger still turns inwards. I beat myself up pointlessly. It’s other people’s anger, which I feel because I have taken it into myself from them: so as not to suffer it from others, perhaps. So as to fit in. It may be old anger, from my parents’ generation or even before, which no-one would feel now except me.

Who I am is who I ought to be.

The problem is changing my self-concept, so that it matches my organismic self.

The gay panic comes not just from the murderer’s homophobia, but from society’s. His self-concept would not be straight but for homophobic messages from the wider society, or from his upbringing, that straight is better than gay. Concepts of how people ought to be get in the way of anyone seeing who they really are, even the people themselves.

I hope my explaining who I am, here, may help anyone who shares my characteristics. If it brings out a strong emotional reaction- even one of revulsion- it has something to tell you.

The anger is merely destructive. Not all anger is- we get angry against injustice, and that may give energy to end it- but this anger either turns on an other who has innocently drawn the angry man’s attention to a characteristic he must deny, or on the angry person themself. His anger at the other does not change his organismic self, only allows him to deny its reality. It blocks him from seeing himself clearly, and prevents self-acceptance. My anger hurts me, and changes my perception of my real attributes from gifts to weakness.

Perhaps I could consider the anger. Why was I angry? What characteristic am I angry at? How could I see it differently? Self-acceptance is my work. How can I see something in myself, which is so frightening I use anger to prevent me seeing it?

Trans and homophobia

When I realised I was lonely and I wanted a relationship that’s what got me thinking well, I don’t want to be with a man, so the other option is to be with a woman. I thought I can’t be with a woman as I am because it just feels wrong. I saw a documentary on TV and I didn’t realise that women could transition into men so it was from that and realising how unhappy I’ve been all my life, that’s what I wanted to do.

Oh God, I thought, that’s just what gay people who want to drop the T from LGB say we are: it is internalised homophobia. I can only love a woman if I am a man. Being a lesbian “Just feels wrong”. I was bothered to hear this on Radio 4, Ovid in changing times. It also had an old interview with Jan Morris:

-Is it not the height of arrogance to assume that, having your penis taken off you can say “I am now a woman”?
-I have not said that. I am a person who felt self to be of feminine gender so adjust body to fit my inner feelings.

Later we hear her say, I was in a difficult situation, not certain of myself, I tried to be more one or the other. Now I know just what I am, I’m in the middle, really, I’m a bit of each. It’s a comfortable place to be.

We adjust what we say about ourselves, to fit what others will accept. I don’t know about “comfort”. Possibly rather she felt reconciled to the journey, she was not resenting or fighting it. Though I loved her for this:

-Are you ever able to stand up and see an element of absurdity?
-No. I think it is beautiful.

Of course I am absurd. We retain the concept of “normal”, even if we recognise that Diversity is a good thing, and I am certainly not that. I wanted something which many would call ridiculous, and I cannot justify except that I wanted it, because it was the way I could best express who I am. Emotion is absurd, and therefore people are absurd. But I resent on her behalf that allegation of a lack of insight- “Are you ever able”. What arrogance in the interviewer, to suppose that one could only transition if one didn’t understand.

I think I am beautiful.

But that line, being with a woman just felt wrong as he was. He talked of envying his male cousin’s anatomy in the bath, as a child, and how being a girl had been bad enough but puberty was awful; so there are two narratives here. It strikes me he is trying to justify his change, to create as many arguments as he can, and that is one. And gay people would say of course a woman can be with a woman. It is not “wrong”. I would agree- but this trans man said it was wrong for him.

If a gay person objected to trans on that ground, they are denying our existence, our ability to see our nature and make our choices. Phobic? Right back at you.

It does not help that his voice sounded female. Not everyone’s voice breaks properly on T. There is a trans man sound which some men have, a roughened alto, but his was completely female-sounding. The excerpt was without context, beyond that he was 39 at the time: I have no idea where he was on his transition journey.

Narrator: Not every change works out. We are always striving after what is forbidden, Ovid wrote, and coveting what is denied us.

Transphobia II

Transphobia is like anti-semitism: people deny it exists. Just as there is clear anti-semitism, like the blood libel, and justified opinions which are not, such as opposing house demolitions in the Occupied Territories, there is clear transphobia and questionable opinions which are disputed. Some would say even the opinion that trans women should not use women’s public toilets is not transphobic, and work hard to produce the appearance of rationality and concern for the vulnerable, arguing that. Perhaps trans folk would extend the definition too far.

Some people have a Yuck reaction to us. As with anti-semitism, many of them get self-righteous about it, like the woman who objects to the feminine presentation of trans women, claiming any feminist would find that presentation disempowers women, as if we had the power to be fashion leaders. How calm is that person, really? How far do they want to exclude us from ordinary life? What proportion of their writing concerns trans women, rather than other feminist concerns?

It seems to me that some people cannot imagine that yuck reaction, and I wonder how I can convince them. A man in the shopping mall who had never seen me before hissed “f–king nonce” as he passed me, and I wondered what I had done that he so hated me. A group of drunk young men on the train, and one shouts, “Oh look, it’s a tranny”, and they continue shouting until they get off. Fortunately my friend was in First Class, safely apart from them. Just possibly, that might be societal transphobia rather than individual, deliberate hatred; not all of them are repelled, but none stops the others from shouting and perhaps they would say, “But, it’s a tranny! Wouldn’t everyone shout at a tranny?” if asked why they were shouting. Just boisterous young men with normal animal spirits?

A shopper takes a second look at you, and exclaims, “It’s a man!” But she was just shocked and surprised, and vocalises a passing thought, as anyone might stare at someone a little out of the ordinary.

“F–king nonce,” though. Calling me a sex offender. No idea who I am beyond reading me as male, dressed female. That’s not a normal reaction to people like me, surely? Might you believe that it was phobic?

If someone I think of as a friend could imagine herself exclaiming “It’s a man,” the first time she had seen a trans woman in the street, could imagine herself feeling “Bless my soul” levels of shock, because, well, trans women really are out of the ordinary- even though perfectly acceptable-

could someone be my friend, chat happily with me, then say, “Well, you are a bit weird, really. You aren’t normal. I don’t hold it against you, I like you, really…”

but me being trans is if not the elephant then the sweaty runner’s shirt in the room, which we don’t see but which insinuates itself into everyone’s nostrils…

How widespread is the “I am perfectly accepting, but face it you are a bit weird” sort of attitude? Would they say, “Surely everyone’s like that, I would not shout abuse but I would notice, surely you can’t object to that?”

Am I too sensitive?

Transphobia exists. “F–king nonce” is an example of that. Yet friends don’t seem to realise.

A man. I hear he is now in prison: he did not attend the first sentencing hearing, threatening suicide, but did attend the second a day or two after I had the misfortune to meet him. He came to the Quaker meeting once and left after ten minutes, not liking the silence. Then he came a few weeks later just before we were about to finish, and we gave him a cup of coffee. He sat in the corner. We did not start a conversation with him, nor he with us, but I took him over the cup of coffee and offered him a biscuit which he declined.

People were leaving, and he made no sign of wanting to, so I told him we needed him to leave. He objected. I explained and he said, “I don’t know if you’re a man or a woman” and continued objecting, standing close to me, and waving his hand near my face. At this point people notice and come over to see what is going on. They see me in a confrontation with a man.

So after he has actually left, I explain what happened, and someone says, “Well, that’s your account of it.”

Honestly, what? It’s transphobia. Have you no memory, no gay friends, you never saw someone abused simply because he was gay? That man could only object to me if I had done something objectionable? The EEUghH reaction, the hatred, for Jews, black people, gays, Manchester United supporters- some people are prejudiced and react violently- you are aware it exists, right?

Can you not imagine that someone might be prejudiced against people like me, without any other reason? Do you sympathise with their shock or revulsion? So, you look at me, disbelievingly, without sympathy when I explain how horrible the situation had been, and how can I possibly get through to you?


New year’s irresolution

I have my life just about perfect, just about how I would want it. How can I make it better in 2017?

Ways which I have imagined would improve it may not. An example: yesterday I went to Mind, the mental health charity. There we were doing a positive psychology craft task, with little difficulty and maximum gentle affirmation, and one of we service users said how sad she was at the change in meaning of the word “gay”. It used to mean joyous or colourful. It has been twisted.

I am quite clear that such a remark should be challenged. It is homophobic. An exact analogy is a racist remark, like, “I hate to walk down that street. It’s as if I am in a foreign country, I’m the only white person there and they’re all speaking foreign.” I understand the distress; yet that is saying to people- you should not be here. To the gay person- You should pretend to be straight. You should act normal. You should not be you.

I deflected. “Yes,” I said. “‘Gay’ now means mediocre or third rate, which is a horrible meaning.” I am pretty sure she meant she disliked ‘gay’ meaning ‘homosexual’. And- they did not challenge her, even though I was there, obviously queer, and the manager is gay, and he was there. The third sector should promote diversity and challenge homophobia, because I should not have to pretend to be someone else so that other people can be comfortable.

Perhaps they did not want to drive away a service user. Stats means Funding, which really matters. So, either she is more important to them than I am, or they think I can cope with homophobia better than she can cope with challenge. The manager was sitting beside me and his underlings fawned on him a bit and none of them said anything. He’s Gay! What were they thinking?

What bothers me in this incident is not that the woman’s homophobia frightens or hurts me, but that

That’s not supposed to happen!

I know the rules! I know how these mental health workers are supposed to respond in these situations, and they just didn’t! Everything’s going along just fine, and then out of the blue- something unexpected happens. And therefore unwelcome.

I might say, how can I improve my life? A little more variety, more human contact, is what I am supposed to want. So says the culture; most people would agree; it makes sense to me; yet when I go somewhere which should be supportive and non-threatening, where I know what to expect, something I did not expect happens!


My life is just as I want it. I have control. A little more money would be nice. I would have the heating on more. But I am not cold, I wrap up in a sleeping bag. Pride, shame and amour propre might have a role here. I am a pig satisfied, and the alternative is not Socrates dissatisfied, but someone houseproud and concerned with appearances dissatisfied. I want to understand, and I continue using my analytical mind to consider whether homophobia should be challenged or what makes my life good.

I am houseproud only vestigially. Sometimes I act, because it seems possible I could make things better. I take pleasure, yesterday, in having bought a sink plunger and unblocked my bathroom basin, clogged with soap and used toothpaste, with it. The basin now drains quickly. It might stay clean longer after I clean it, so I may muster the motivation to clean it. I have been thinking about this for ages, resenting how it was blocked, and messing about with boiling water. Will a plunger not just shift a blockage further down the pipes, causing worse problems later?

I like analysis. I have spent a happy hour pacing the floor, agonising over all this, before starting to write. I am happy now, writing. I knew sink plungers unblock sinks, yet analysed and cogitated for weeks.

So I might say,

Taking action is the solution!

But what if something went wrong, or what I expected did not happen?


Letting go of control is the solution!

But why, if that can make me so unhappy?


I have seen worse, in home visits, or in student flats- one had half full coffee cups, which after a week developed a mouldy scum- but those are the kind of home visits we use for stories. There were fish and chip wrappers left on the floor!


My house is not that bad, but-

I have control! I feel some boredom and frustration, but little anger or fear. I have limited human contact, little motivation. If I tidy my house it will only get untidy again.

I am dissatisfied because I am thinking about it, and in that sense I am closer to Socrates than the pig- and Socrates had Diotima and slaves to do the housework.

Never mind how or why that homophobic incident upsets me, it does. It is an example of so much human interaction, from the rare to the quotidian, from my oral hearing before the Social Security Commissioner to those who-shall-give-way dances as we walk along the street. So- retreat! Avoid those interactions, and you avoid distress!

I will not go out because the culture tells me, or I imagine, that I ought to want to. You see! I did what I was supposed to want to do, and it was Awful! I met a homophobe! And yet, I am frustrated and bored. Something better may be possible.

Two more thoughts on pleasure and desire. I ate a plum just now. I gave it my attention, and it was beautiful; yet I do not want to be eating all the time. And, I had a vaginoplasty because it was what I wanted, more than anything else in the world. Now I regret it, thinking a penis might have its uses. Desire is not a reliable guide to satisfaction.

My life is as I have made it, and it is good, right now. It pleases me. And my mind is at work: could it please me better?


Coming out, as a father

He started talking almost before he got to the bus stop. He loves the heat. He works on a removal van, he’s got one job today then he’ll enjoy the sun. He hates the way people complain about the heat when they’ve been complaining about cold and rain the rest of the year. I agree. I like the heat, and this variation is fashionable among the English this year, who like to agree as well as talk about the weather. He is a sweet enthusiastic man, who says how lovely it is to go up through the Rec then the woods and down to S- Lakes. You don’t need to go away! I enthuse. Yes. The sun on the water, not a beach exactly but-

He goes there with his son. His son’s a really lovely boy. He’s not boasting, it’s not that he’s saying he is a brilliant parent or anything, but his son has a lovely personality. The bus comes and he starts the same spiel with another woman. He loves heat. He hates people complaining. He has a lovely son.

He’s got this bouffant thing going. That’s the fashion nowadays I suppose, says the father whose hair is short. She says she hasn’t seen him for years, would not recognise him now probably.


I didn’t catch the next bit, but the boy is gay or bi. The father whispered, and if he did not want me to hear I am pleased that he did not read me but bothered that he would be ashamed. The boy said he looked at boys, and felt- The woman says you’re learning who you are, finding what you like, at that age.

“I tell him, ‘I’ve got your back’,” says the father, definitely. He repeats it.

I talk to learn what I think about things, to see how it feels to articulate particular opinions, and to find what others feel. He could be testing the waters, finding out whether others are homophobic, talking himself in to acceptance of a thing which disappoints or frightens him. “I’ve got your back” is how I would hope a father would be, and it should not need said unless the son is in trouble. There is such progress! And we still have a way to go.

Langrenee, Echo and Narcissus

Using the shooting

Hours after the shootings at Pulse, Orlando, people are using them to further their aims.

The Real Donald Trump tweeted, Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn’t he should immediately resign in disgrace! There are times to call for a Presidential resignation, but not this. Trump incites insane levels of anger, to stop his dupes thinking. He inflames hatred to direct at his enemies. He directs attention to his chosen scapegoat, Islam and Muslims, to prevent people thinking about their real problems.

Da’esh have now claimed responsibility. Well, the shooter is dead, so how could we tell? They want to appear powerful.

Would Omar Mateen have no part in any “well-regulated militia”? Even gun control is complex. We hear he had no criminal record, FBI investigations into terrorist links were inconclusive, and while his wife said he was mentally unstable, he was employed as an armed security guard. Gun control which would have prevented him getting any guns at all would be far more far-reaching than any proposed in the US. Was there any mental illness diagnosed? I can’t find it on the web.

“Ideology [is] usually just a rationale for mentally-ill attackers” says expert. If you are so enraged that you want to kill many random strangers, imagining you are in ISIS might give you a feeling of power and rightness.

Some “pastor” says the good news is that the gays are dead, because it is God’s law in Leviticus, but the bad news is that the shootings will be used to oppose hate speech. He is seeking publicity. He has got it, unfortunately.

Pictures of the gunman create “feelings about the guy” as if you knew him, though you have not even met him. You now have a first impression. Choice of that photograph is great power.

Man kills 53 people he does not know. Everyone starts talking about it. Some want to stop such things happening, some want to use it to further their own agenda. Some propose sensible, thoughtful reactions, some impulsive idiocy.

Homophobia is the problem. Mateen got enraged, after seeing two men kissing “in front of his wife and their child”. On Pink News, I read homophobes have already praised the shooting. Well- they quoted a tweet, “Someone is doing G-d’s work in Orlando”.  Troll no-one has heard of says shocking thing for lulz. The American Family Association will not say anything like that; but any use of gay people as scapegoats encourages others to do the same. If you hate us without cause, that makes such hate more thinkable for other people, and may have created a rationalisation for murder in this case.

Especially in times of darkness, that is the time to love,
that an act of love may tip the balance.
— Aeschylus

Internalised homophobia

You see, I want to sympathise with the man. However much of a villain he is, he is also a victim.

Disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien still fascinates me. What was he thinking? Possibly, when he was unmasked he was merely a hypocrite: no longer believing any of the doctrines of his church, he still prated what he had to, to maintain his income and power, and access to men for sexual exploitation. Possibly, the homophobia of his church had so hollowed him out that he was no more than that: while St Paul wrote of the Christian being justified, sanctified, glorified, the homophobic church instead took away all truth and honour from the human being, leaving only a husk. Could the truth be more complex?

He would not have started in that way. Quite probably, as a child wanting to be a priest, O’Brien would believe in God the Creator, in Jesus, and even in the human accretions of his church. He would be aware of his sexuality, but be very quiet about it: his church and the wider society, where gay lovemaking was a criminal offence, both told him it was Wrong. Perhaps he thought that God would heal him, or that in celibacy he would find the strength to resist his natural desires.

And then, perhaps, he fell in love.

Honesty, then, would have meant penury, and disgrace in the eyes of his friends, even though honour in the eyes of reasonable people. He would be cut off from his social group, his purpose in life, everything. It would have been better than his final state, but knowing that, then, would have taken rare honesty and insight, which his career would not have prepared him for.

But then, there are so many who find celibacy impossible for them, and find a compromise: cuckolding a parishioner, living with a housekeeper. Perhaps O’Brien’s initial arrangements were not more wrongful than that. Certainly the fact that his partners were male made no moral difference.

Could it be that, at the end, he actually believed what he taught? That gay lovemaking is a serious sin; that all human beings suffer from Original Sin, and that “There is no health in us”, but that regular confession and absolution make it alright? One result of that would be that he would believe consensual sex to be as wicked as the sex he forced. He takes his understanding of right and wrong from his church, rather than from any rational consideration of suffering caused, or the true nature of human beings created by God. The child abuse for which his church has so recently apologised is not an aberration, but a natural consequence of its teachings.

Whatever his case, as well as a monster and wrongdoer, he is a victim, of the thoughtless or cruel homophobia of men he admired and trusted.

Degas, At the Milliner's

Sarah Mbuyi II

Sarah Mbuyi was a nursery nurse, with a lesbian colleague. She calls herself “born again”, and imagines she knows Jesus. Her God is deeply concerned about silly rules, and one of these is No Queers. She tried to evangelise her lesbian colleague, and gave her a gift of a Bible. She gave another co-worker a book explaining some of her noxious “Christian” ideas.

On 6 January 2014 Mbuyi and her victim who wishes to be anonymous- let us call her Claire- had a conversation about what they did over Christmas. Mbuyi told of some of her church activities and Claire said that must have been nice for someone from Belgium, to have the church acting as an extended family. The conversation moved on to whether Claire might attend, but Claire would not until her marriage was recognised by the church. Mbuyi told her homosexuality was a sin, but that everyone is a sinner.

So while Mbuyi told her being lesbian would not be a bar to attending the church, it is clear that Claire would be expected to cease this sin very very quickly, and separate from her partner. From a state of self-acceptance and mature partnership she would be plunged into self-loathing, maintained by the manipulative “love” of her church.

Mbuyi, though she imagines herself loving, is a homophobe. She has an obligation to apply common sense and empathy to the many vilenesses of her church. She has failed to do so. She is filled with the congealed homophobia of generations of bigots: the sins of the fathers are visited on the children to the tenth generation.

Claire, brought up Catholic, has imbibed homophobia throughout her childhood, and though now in a mature partnership she is exquisitely attuned to the homophobia of others. Perhaps that would be better as an “I” statement: I have only very recently been able to endure homophobic or transphobic comments, because they have echoed in myself, in my internalised transphobia, or self-hatred. This very self-hatred can be exultantly welcomed by the “Christian” homophobe, using it as more evidence of my Sin- for how could I be uncomfortable with myself, unless God was calling me to self-loathing? LP was so upset by the conversation her manager sent her home.

Mbuyi is therefore toxic to anyone around her, unconsciously preying on their insecurities to bring them to her own slavery.

However the Human Rights convention gives freedom of religion, which must include the right to state ones beliefs when they come up in the ordinary course of conversation. Though the employer seeks to provide a welcoming environment to all, including the children of gay couples, it could not sack Mbuyi for her belief. She is protected under the Equality Act.

Mbuyi and her legal representatives, Christian Concern, have been exulting on daytime television about their freedom to hurt others, and claiming to be victims. I take my account of fact from the tribunal decision.

Renoir, La Lecture

Convictions and Compassion

Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.

-Rick Warren

“Lifestyle” is code for LGBT, though could be expanded to other things Warren disapproves of. This is the Rick Warren who inspired the Ugandan anti-homosexuality legislation. He claims to have compassion for gays even while comparing our love to “punching a guy on the nose”. Delight in Truth finds him a backslider but they imagine the World is utterly depraved.

Saying what he thinks about gay people, that our desires are wrong, and campaigning against equal marriage, he still imagines he is compassionate. He knows better than we, after all. He desires our highest good. I would say, “Please! Go and love someone else!”

I know Steph’s alcoholism is bad for her. I saw she had lost her teeth to it. Her mouth is a sorry sight, and she finds her false teeth painful. But I would not stop her drinking. It is her escape from her pain. If I could show her a more healthy or fulfilling escape, I would, and there is my difficulty: Warren believes that leading a gay person to faith in his strange Christ of sterile commandments is liberating rather than enslaving.

I have to acknowledge Warren imagines he is compassionate: his arrogance blinds him to all the contrary evidence.

Another line: if Warren said that he shall not allow his convictions to get in the way of his compassion, a statement of intent, it would be less bad. There would be a chance that he would listen to us. Instead he says he does not, a claim about his conduct, so that however vicious it is he believes himself loving. Confident he is right, he refuses all evidence to the contrary. That is not respectful, even if he intends compassion. Stopping drinking is so difficult that the person must want for themself to change, must see something better is possible. Telling them that it is without persuading them merely antagonises them.

Warren is a homophobe despite his protestations. He has taken into himself generations of hatred and oppression of gay people.

Hogarth Rake's Progress 8- In the madhouse

Not shutting up

File:Panel With Design of Meandering Floral Vines LACMA M.81.69.2.jpgI 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”?

File:Floral-Design-with-Peonies-Lilies-and-Roses-for-Spitalfields-Silk-by-Anna-Maria-Garthwaite-1744.jpgSometimes 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.