My therapist, who is also gay (well, actually, I have no idea what her preferred label or lack thereof is, but she’s a lady partnered with a lady — call it what you want) sometimes tells me, “it’s still early” when gay-related stuff comes up. This is in regards to the fact that I’ve only been out six years and I am a young’un in the world, and I think it’s supposed to be consoling, although frankly, I don’t really see how that works. Six years is like a quarter of my life.
Anyway, this morning I was thinking about this particular comment while driving to work, and it occurred to me that I’ve been driving just about as long as I’ve been out (in any fashion), and the two — being a driver and being gay — have a lot in common:
Some folks get their license immediately depart on a cross-country road trip. Some folks also come out on Facebook. Others stick to the small circles of their life for a few years, slowly expanding their range.
On the same note, not everybody makes it to the cross-country road trip. Although it seems fair to say that generally, the longer you’ve been driving, the further you will have traveled, and the longer you’ve been out, the more people will become aware.
It matters a little if you’re a driver, but mostly for practical concerns, like coordinating rides. Despite what people often act like, it matters a little if you’re gay, but mostly for practical concerns, like which state your wedding will be in.
More importantly, I really thinking this driving/gay thing really gets at what irks me about the “early” comment. When driving, it does not matter if it is your first time out or if you’ve been driving for years — you might still have the rug pulled out from under you. Similarly, you might be one of the ones who just breezes through it all. Lucky ducks. And while trends might suggest more vulnerability early on, there’s ultimately no way to tell where your personal experience will fall.
Early or not, there is almost certainly a guarantee that as long as you continue down either road, literal or figurative, you’re likely to encounter some scary moments. And you’re likely to make it through. Not to diminish the losses incurred both in driving mishaps and the turmoil that is coming and being out, but most folks drive daily. Gay folks are actually gay more than they drive, since it’s safe to be gay while asleep, in contrast to operating a motor vehicle. And both parties generally carry on.