Today's my day off. I went over to the $5 haircut place on 7th where I normally get my haircut. I had a nice barber (are women barbers too?) She started the pleasant small talk that barbers normally do. That's cool with me. Silence or small talk are equally fine for me.
She talked about her three-year-old son and getting ready for Christmas. I mentioned my nephews and going to the Festival of Trees today. As I was doing this, I caught myself "straightening" my small talk. It's something I do naturally. When I make the switch I use gender neutral pronouns, change the situations a little bit and tweak the truth. I do it without even thinking. Today I just happened to mentally catch it.
It made me think. I am out to my family and friends now. There is not really anyone else that needs to hear it from me. (My sister is excluded.) So why do I de-gay my speech? Do I really care what the barber thinks? Is it just easier to not show that part of me to strangers? My boyfriend Aaron doesn't "straighten" his speech at all. He works at a hotel and will mention picking up his boyfriend or a cute guy or whatever. He's not embarrassed. He just treats it like it is the most normal thing. I envy him for that.
On one hand, I don't need to share my sexual orientation with every person I meet. I am a gay man and am proud of who I am, but it just isn't relevant to every conversation or relationship. Sometimes (rarely in my experience), I need to hide that aspect to protect myself or others from hate speech. That aside, there doesn't seem to be any logical reason to hide my being gay from people.
On the other hand, by sharing my sexuality as Aaron does--in the most normal matter--it will expose people to the fact that there are gay people every where. We are normal. Utahns particularly need exposure to that.
So what do you think? For those of my readers who are gay, how do you handle those situations? For those who aren't gay, being Mormon is probably the closest analogy. Do you ever "de-Mormonize" your speech with strangers you interact with? Do either of the groups say "I'm going to hang out with my friends" rather than saying "ward activity" or "Gay night"?