Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

In honor of yesterday, which was National Coming Out Day(Yes, I'm running a bit late):  

My name is Margo and I am a lesbian. I am a proud member of the GLBTQ(questioning) community. I hope I didn't leave anyone out; I think our community should be as inclusive as possible. Heck, I even like straight people. They can't help it, they were born that way.  

Someday maybe I'll tell my whole coming out story, which was relatively easy, compared to many, but today I will tell about coming out with a bang to all of New London County. At the time I was out to everyone I knew-family, friends, work, but Rene was not quite so out. She worked at Electric Boat, a Federal Contractor that builds submarines, and a place which was, shall we say, less open to diversity than many private employers.  

On September 21, 1995, Rene and I had a Ceremony of Commitment, which took place at the local Polish Club, of all places! It was quite informal, but we had 200 guests-all our families, friends, people I worked with, and friends even brought friends. We wrote our own vows, danced a lot, visited with everybody, and a great time was had by all. We had asked our guests to bring non-perishable food items for our local AIDS project in lieu of gifts, and we filled a small U-Haul!  

 My father offered a toast. " There is a long history in the Page family of marring good woman. Margo has continued the tradition!" There wasn't a dry eye in the house.  

 A friend from the local paper asked if they could cover the ceremony, and we said yes, as long as nobody else showed on the pictures, because not everyone was out. Eventually the article ran in the paper.  

Imagine our surprise, it was on the top half of the second section's front page, nearly as big as life: Rene and Margo kissing! And not a chaste little peck, either, a full on lip lock.  

The extroverted part of me came out with great glee, laughing and speculating on reaction( I actually have an in your face attitude about a few important subjects, coming out being one of them). Rene was a little less enthusiastic. In fact at one point, she considered rushing out and buying up all the copies of thepaper in existence, including going up on peoples porches to steal their papers before they got up.  

Eventually,though, she began to see the humor in the situation, for she, too, advocates coming out when a person is ready, she just hadn't realized how ready she was! I worked at a woman's heath clinic-they all loved the article. Rene went off to work full of anxiety, and was surprised that quite a few people offered congratulations, and no one else said anything. Much ado about nothing.  

The only negative feedback we got was a nasty letter in the paper from a local conservative Episcopal priest, who seemed to think we were doomed to hell for all eternity(although he put it more eloquently). And positive feedback? We had people coming out to us for months, even years afterwards. I had married women asking me how I had the courage to leave my marriage, patients at work telling me they really were gay, but slept with men so their parents wouldn't guess, stories that broke my heart, but were important for the woman to tell, and be heard.   

And good stories, too, we heard from a lot of people who said the article helped them get over the fear of coming out, at least to a friend or one family member. Our neighborhood rallied around us, too, congratulating us, offering food for the AIDS project, and began to treat us as any old married couple on the block. It was amazing, and wonderful.  

And so we came out to New London County with a bang, which had a lot of reverberations in a lot of lives. I am proud to have been in the first picture the paper ran of two lesbians kissing!  

Blessings, Margo                      

14 comments:

bosoxblue6993w said...

a ceremony of commitment at the polish club?    sorry, margo ... but there's a great joke in there somewhere.

the enlightened attitude of your family and friends is inspirational.

ksquester said...

Margo, You are a great story teller...........I want more stories!  Gosh, I am proud of you!   And yes, you are right............."we can't help it!" haaaaaaaa   Anne

christapaz said...

What a wonderful story! I think when we are proud of our own lives, others cannot help but be proud of us (well, most others!) My name is Christa and I, too, am a proud lesbian. love, chirsta

ryanagi said...

I love it! Great story!

blondepennierae said...

A great story Margo!  Loved reading it.  Pennie

jouell3935 said...

Wow Margo, thanks for sharing your story!!!
My brother works at EB...lives down your way??...Oh I am so happy you are feeling a wee bit better...
Peace
Jodi

donah42 said...

I love your father's toast!!! Great story!

judithheartsong said...

I love this story!!!! xoxoxoxox judi

csandhollow said...

The Polish club? John is right! LOL
I am glad you like me. I can't help itt that I am straight! LOL
You are still coming out. Your life has been evolving so much. I am glad to be a part of it.

chasingmoksha said...

Great story!  I am glad the reception from the community went well.

Atlas, what is life without conservative Episcopal priests writing nasty letters! LOL! {sigh}

jasonlane1968 said...

You know that Episcopal priest used that picture of two women kissing for more than just birdcage liner.   Those who protest loudly spank it all day long!!!  Sorry for the image, but it had to be said.

My coming out story began when I popped my head out and said, "Mom, hate the shoes!"

ecori said...

A wonderful story!  Congratulations!
Peace,  Virginia

cheetozmartini said...

Margo,
You write so beautifully...I wish I had your talent! Lovely story, and I am glad that I know you in person! Maybe someday you will bring Renee w/ u to our support group?
I want to thank u for your kind words on my site. Yes, it has been a difficult time, and honestly, I am not sure that I would be at all of this weight loss w/out my brother planting the seed of health. He was really a health nut and was the one who really motivated me. Now I carry on not only for myself, but also in his memory and honor. I want him to be proud of me. When I have a hard time getting up a hill, I pretend he is pushing me -- or I hear his voice telling me I can do it! It really keeps me going. He was my best friend and I miss him like crazy...a day never goes by that I don't wish him back....but all I can do it keep going, keep eating right and getting healthy to make him proud!
Thanks again for your kind words -- and I will see you at our next meeting!
Take care and be good to yourself ~ you LOOK WONDERFUL!!!

dbaumgartner said...

What a wonderful story.  You words created such a beautiful mental image.  Thanks for sharing.

Deb