Not quite gay enough
A reader debates whether to venture out of the closet in her 50s
Standing outside the DIVA magazine offices, my finger having just pressed the buzzer, it was the closest yet I had got to coming out. It seemed like the tipping point. In my mind I was teetering on the brink of coming out, and if I got the job at DIVA, I would definitely tell my family and friends where I would be working and how come I had seen the job advertised in the first place. Although nervous, I was excited. I wasn’t sure how or even what I would tell my teenage children, but I would definitely tell them. At the age of 51, and with seven years’ worth of back issues of DIVA stacked surreptitiously in my wardrobe, it did feel like it was time for me to come clean to my kids about the real, unspoken reason I had left their dad, and that it was more than likely that any future relationship I might have would be with a woman.
And yet… it seemed that for now I was not quite gay enough. After all, I didn’t get the job at DIVA. My lesbian-leaning credentials may have almost snuck under the wire, but my lack of media law knowledge and paucity of magazine experience were sniffed out, and my coming out ticket was snatched from my albeit short-nailed fingers.
So, I am still NQGE (not quite gay enough) because the truth is that I am not, strictly speaking, in a relationship with a woman, so I don’t have any hard evidence to give my kids, concerning my sexual inclinations. Not that I actually want to give them the hard evidence anyway. Of course I don’t want to tell my teenage children about all the kissing, the touching and the unbelievably beautiful intimacy. All of which has rocked and changed my world and shaken me to my core. For a start, my children don’t want to know any of that about their middle-aged mum! And, teenage sensibilities aside… I can’t tell them even a part of how I feel anyway. I just can’t. Not without also outing the woman I am in love with. The woman who also loves me, I believe, but who is also (oh, would that it were different!) still married to her husband.
So I am in a bit of a bind! I do want to be honest with my children. I do want to be able to tell them how I feel and for who. I do want them to know that I absolutely understand their pangs of heartbreak and their giddy feelings of new love because I experience similar emotions myself, right here, right now. But I can’t tell them the truth because my love and would-be lover is living the life of a heterosexual, married woman, wife and mother. And my children know her and her family.
So, for now, I believe I have to bite my tongue (not hers), cross my legs, read DIVA in private, and enjoy Lucy Spraggan concerts standing chastely next to my teenage daughter, rather than with my arms encircling the waist of the woman I love. And, whilst I don’t know the future, I know that one day soon I will be gay enough and brave enough to tell my children who I love and how true and deep and passionate that love is.
Oh, and meanwhile, any advice or suggestions from those of you who have been here, done that and bought the t-shirt (probably the one saying “Nobody knows I’m a lesbian”)… I’d love to hear from you…
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