Out and proud since ’99

Winnipeg selfie with pride shirt

So I look straight. Always have, this is just me. I’m a very queer person. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a lesbian, it’s kind of my super power. I have been confused for straight since I came out in 1999. People told me it was a phase, that it was something I was doing in university, yeah, because sexual orientation has an expiry date of an undergrad education. When I came out in 1999, we didn’t have same sex marriage in Canada. We didn’t have some of the basic human rights we have today. We were still talking in the community about HIV/AIDS because our queer brothers and sisters were still dying from it. We were not talking about trans rights (ref: Vancouver’s Rape Crisis Centre). We were not talking about LGBTQ2S rights. We were not talking about two-spirited peoples and their right to self determination or the need to decolonize ourselves.

When I came out, I had some queer friends who told me everything was going to be ok. I had family friends of my parents who stopped talking to me, stopped inviting me over, stopped including me in social events. When I came out, I found not only myself, but my people. When I, in 2000, went to a queer bar in Kingston on NYE, I met Meg. I wear my pride. So the next time you ask me what my husband does or how long I’ve been married and assume it’s to a man, I will politely correct you. But I won’t forget that you are heterosexist. It is not my job to educate and inform. Please remember that when you make assumptions, you put me back in the closet, because everytime, I have to out myself. Out and proud since ’99. I’ll just lead with that next time. xo Janet

Published by Janet Gwilliam-Wright

Feminist and queer. Professional teller of truths. Slayer of personal demons.

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