Out Day was October 11. I am
currently watching the final season of The L Word. I
didn’t come publicly come out on Sunday, October 11. I didn’t post a
profile picture or a status because I didn’t think I needed to.
- I talk about my love of women all the time. Romantically and
have openly dated women.
have had a live-in girlfriend/fiancé.
am mostly transparent.
not been very secretive,
so people know…
first came out to my birth mother, in 1997 or ‘98 at my aunt’s wake.
We were sitting in my great-grandmother’s apartment in Southeast
Washington D.C. When I told my mother, I asked her not to tell
anybody. A few minutes later, she was across the room telling an
aunt. That aunt told a cousin, that cousin told another aunt or
uncle. The news spread
throughout the room, like a wildfire consuming the dry underbrush of
a California hillside. By the time we made it to Courtland,VA to bury
my aunt on the family land I was flush in questions about the who,
what, when, where, why, and how.
2001, I came out to my then husband. This was the death knell for a
relationship that had been plagued with an on-going series of
unfortunate events. I devastated my friend. I created a wound, which
even when we reconciled 2 years later and still now has yet to heal.
came out again Thanksgiving of 2010 to my maternal family. A defiant
response to “Why aren’t you dating, and why aren’t you dating him?”
When I asked my grandfather the next day, who turned in early and
missed the conversation, he said, “So, I knew when you were 13.
Wanna watch a Western with me?”
The last time I came out was to my children. Standing in the kitchen of my Midtown Memphis home, with tear-filled eyes and fear in my heart. My beautiful
children heard me out, embraced me, loved and supported me. Their shared sentiment: I taught and showed them love and acceptance. I told them all I wanted from them was to be good people in life and that if they ever came out, I would totally love and support them. They offered me the same.
that I didn’t EVER
feel the need to come out again. Not as bi-sexual, gay, or sexually
fluid. I am QUEER, in
What on earth does that have to
do with The L Word…
I’m watching the the final season of The
L Word, “the longest
running Showtime series features intertwined stories about the lives
and loves of a group of lesbians and bisexuals in Los Angeles.” – Google
- I didn’t and haven’t had the benefit of being gay in posh West Hollywood. For lack of a better phrase, I was closeted until I left California and wasn’t really out,ironically until I moved down South… *that sure is a pun*
- I didn’t participate in an openly same-sex relationship until I
was far away from my family-of-origin.
- I’ve been in Memphis half of my adult life now, I’ve been out
in Memphis, almost the entire
- I’m just now watching the
much-lauded L Word, binge-watching
as it is now on Netflix and I avoided it in syndication, as I tend to
do with wildly popular shows.
- I’ve never seen Queer As Folk.
- I watched Noah’s Arc in
syndication, after accidentally stumbling upon it. I loved it. I was
sad when it ended. I lived and loved The Wedding. [Honestly,
that is where my love for Solange was solidified. It is also
where I found the music group Fol Chen (sorry guys no link available, but look them up)]
- I watched The Real L Word almost religiously. I was sad when it ended. I was even sadder, not to see
more representations of Black Women on the show and I was still
- I was profoundly sad when Netflix
changed it’s categories and Gay & Lesbian films was no longer an
All Wrapped Up In a
Pretty Pink Bow
What does one have to do with the other, how does this all come together? I’ll tell you. In my binge-watch of Le L… I have been critical, angry, and sad. That world isn’t my world. My Black, Queer, Southern world. I have little to no frame of reference for the world I see in the series. Recently I talked about it on a podcast I co-host. I talked about how it’s these pedestrian hook-ups between white and vanilla women, that involve intimate eye-contact, then sexy and/or sloppy hookups with hands being shoved down pants, up skirts, against sinks, walls, all over beds (seriously, it is rare that they have heads turned towards headboards). Everybody in the show is beautiful: among the sexy, waifish, Hollywood aesthetic of beautiful women even Pam Grier is positioned as the sexy, seasoned, sassy sister and even Cybil Shepard is presented as a sexy, intelligent, late-life lesbian.
I’m sure that in the 6
seasons the show ran, it also ran into it’s share of criticisms. I’ve
seen so much critical acclaim for the show and now that I don’t have
to buy the box set to see it, it’s much easier to watch and form my
own opinions. And my opinion, 6 years removed from the final season
is that they wrapped up Lesbian Life in L.A. in a pretty pink bow and
shipped it like so many 1-800-FLOWERS on Valentine’s Day. It appears to be presented with some careful consideration for storylines, same-sex
adoption, cheating, lust, promiscuity, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,
interracial relationships, marriage equality, self discovery, and
Transgender transformation. And even having packed all of that into
the gay bouquet there is so much missing for me. Unanswered questions
about safe spaces, racial politics within the LGBTQIA
community, agency, socio-economics, and divisions between the
I understand in an era
where there wasn’t nearly enough mainstream media that focused on gay
lives, why this show was pivotal. I understand that I am late and
that this show may have paved the way for more shows and discussions
to happen. I am aware that there are now successful lesbian authors, like my
friend Author Skyy (find her and her books here), the Between Women network and it’s
highly-successful web series of the same name. I am equally
aware of the number of out black lesbian, gay, and trans
people who are making strides in gaining rights and visibility.
- Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was
repealed in 2012
- The Supreme Court ruled in
favor of marriage equality in all 50 states in June of this year.
- Kim Davis made headlines
repeatedly for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses as court
What does all of this
mean? It means that as a Black Queer woman, watching the news, watching
TV shows and series, and reading books I wish that there
more mainstream representations of people like me, that there
had been more people like me in all of my coming out. I am
grateful for all there is now and that I still I want more. Selfish,
maybe? I selfishly want more people to see people like me. I
selfishly want inclusion. I selfishly want inclusion. There is no
pretty pink bow for me,
now yet… And still I hold out hope
because there does seem to be hope, at the very least, at the end of
- This post may
actually surprise many people who know me.
- I about 95% gay.
- I’m out.