I Came Out today.
I Came Out to my new Osteopath*.
It wasn't especially noteworthy or remarkable or awkward.
The only awkward thing about it was that I was lying face down with my head squished into that little space on the massage table......but I was fully dressed. So that's something!
Now, I wasn't 'testing the waters' by Coming Out to my Osteopath before I came out to family, friends, employers and the rest.
No. I'd Come Out in various ways (some better than others) many years earlier...!
I'd also Come Out to numerous Osteopaths over the years....!
This was just an interaction with someone I am building a professional relationship with, and trust me...... it is always best to get this out of the way sooner rather than later.
You see, no one ever Comes Out once! It's a process and it's a process that LGBTIQA+ community members will repeat over and over and over and over again.
First is Coming Out to YOURSELF, then selected friends, family, extended family.
It's a constant and ever evolving 'status update'.
I'm not talking about wearing a huge rainbow flag (although I have been known to do this....) and declaring your sexuality / gender on a grand scale. I'm talking about the quiet coming out that introduces you and your partner and your family to those that you choose to.
On a daily basis.
Starting a new job..... you'll come out.
Meeting the new neighbours..... you'll come out.
Most of the time you'll come out to these people to avoid a bit of awkwardness down the line......
"oh, no my partner is female!"
"no, not sisters..... we're married"
"hhmmm, actually my HUSBAND..."
And EVERY SINGLE TIME you do it..... no matter how often ... you watch. You wait for a reaction.
You watch for the flicker of recognition, perhaps a slight head nod or a knowing eye.
You also wait for a different reaction. One that isn't positive.
It can involve a slight stepping back, a look that crosses a face.
So, imagine planning a Wedding and Coming Out and waiting for that reaction, EVERY time you engage and enquire with a Wedding Vendor. It can be exhausting and stressful.
If you ever wondered why I am so "out" here and on my socials with every 3rd (or so) photo being of a rainbow....? It's this.
I'm gay. That's not changing. I'm gay when you first meet me, and I'll still be gay every time we meet after that.
If that's not your cup of tea, that's fine (well, it's not actually.... we'll address that another day!)
You see, over the many years that I have been Coming Out, I have seen all the reactions.
Thankfully, most of been overwhelming positive, but I've also seen that flicker in the eyes of the person who I have just come out to.
I've felt the temperature seem to drop in the room. I've noticed the change in the tone of voice.
I've seen the uncomfortable looks.
By being out in a very visible way I'm protecting myself.
I am also saying to my LGBTIQA+ community members, "I get it..... you are very welcome here!"
I guess what I'm trying to say is, to my fellow Wedding Industry colleagues, please don't underestimate, even in 2020, how stressful it can be for members of the LGBTIQA+ community to Come Out to you when they enquire with you.
Make it super easy for couples to spot that you are LGBTIQA+ inclusive and welcoming.
Make it so obvious that they don't have to ask " Do you do Same Sex Marriages?"
The language that you use and the images you choose to share are the best ways to do this.
Three of my favourite Celebrants EVER have written wise words on this topic and I encourage (URGE) to read Lauren, Precious and Monty's words.
The AMAZING Lauren Khabbaz
Mind Your Feckin Language
My good friend Precious Celebrations
To couples planning your Wedding......? If it's not obvious that a Wedding Vendor supports YOUR love and partnership and family.... find those that DO!
*Let's just pretend that this post was written in a time when Melbourne wasn't in Stage 4 Lockdown!