It pleases me to be able to say that I’m writing this article from my new desk in my new flat. I’ve just returned to university for my second year and am officially living off campus, which makes me some kind of adult, I think. It’s exciting stuff. I’ve moved all my things in, called dibs on the second best kitchen cupboard, and presented my flatmates with a brand new mop as a gesture of goodwill.
Getting to this place at this point in time wasn’t the easiest thing. For those not familiar with British universities, we only live in campus housing or dorms for one year and then are expected to find somewhere else to live with the wonderful friends we’ve made as freshers. Unfortunately, I made a grand total of like, three friends last year. Of those, one has graduated, one’s already living with other people, and the third just transferred to another school to be close to her girlfriend. That left my pool of potential flatmates pretty low, so I resorted to living with a couple of strangers I met on Facebook. (What could go wrong!?)
I mean, they seem pretty cool and I’m excited to get to know them (and I think they approved of the mop) but it does bring up a kind of a queer conundrum for me: to come out or not come out?
I mean, it’s 2015, so this really shouldn’t be an issue, but I don’t know. It sort of still feels like one.
These are the first people I’ve met who I’m going to know long-term since I’ve been out. Before these girls, coming out was a simple matter of establishing my identity with family, friends, people I already knew and who already knew me and who, for the most part, accepted me gladly. But now, entering the pretty intimate situation of living together, it feels like something I’m honor-bound to divulge. A disclaimer, if you will. Do I march into the kitchen one morning and say, “Hello, ladies, I hope you haven’t mistaken me for a heterosexual”?
I exist these days in something of a transparent closet. I don’t feel it necessary to shout my queerness from the rooftops, but nor is it something I hide. I wear rainbow bracelets. I drink from a mug that reads “Nobody knows I’m gay.” I frequently make gay jokes about myself. All the evidence is there if anyone were to wonder, but I suppose it’d also be quite easy to just assume I was a harmless hetero. And that’s fine… when it comes to strangers or acquaintances. But with the people I live with? I find myself balking at the idea they think I’m something I’m not.
It’s a practical issue, too. What if I bring a girl home? What if one of my flatmates is casually homophobic and says something gross that makes me want to unhinge my jaw like a snake and devour her? So many dilemmas.
I suppose this is just something that will resolve itself. There will be a moment where coming out feels natural and it’ll happen. Or it won’t, and I’ll just spend the next year or two feeling like I’m biting my tongue. Yay.