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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why should I?

I heard an observation the other day that I absolutely loved.

During a conversation about "coming out" to people about the poly lifestyle a lesbian mentioned she had come out to her family recently about her sexual orientation. She had been lesbian most of her life and now as a 30-something adult she felt it was time to tell her family from whom she had kept her lifestyle hidden.
Her family responded, "Why didn't you tell us sooner?" and were actually quite upset with her.

The woman's response to her family, "You never came out to me as being mono, why do I have to come out to you as being a lesbian at all?"

I loved that statement! She is so right!

As we are raised does anyone ever actually sit us down and say point blank "Guess what, I'm monogamous."? Not that I have ever heard. Instead it is assumed or understood by their actions. Maybe they were married to the same person their whole life and were never seen acting affectionately with another person. Maybe they had a succession of relationships but again, were only affectionate with one person at a time so monogamy was assumed. But they never came out and said that is what they were.

Now to be fair the woman mentioned sounded as if she had hidden her lifestyle from her family. The general assumption is heterosexual monogamy for most people until proven otherwise. Not that I think that is fair, it is just the way things work right now. By hiding her lifestyle from her family I think she created the need to "come out" herself.

At the same time I think her comment very nicely illustrated how assumptions are made about sexuality all the time. Most people don't even realize they are making assumptions it is so deeply imbedded in their psychology. Until that embedding is gone and people have to directly question the sexuality of everyone, I don't think the assumptions will change.

When being raised did your parents ever sit you down and explain their sexual orientation and relationship design to you? Do you think allowing the assumption of heterosexual monogamy is okay or would it be a good idea for parents to start (at the appropriate time of course) "coming out" to their children?

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