I am out. I came out loudly, I in fact yelled at my mother over text message about it for not figuring it out on her own and then proceeded to be as out as humanly possible. This was about 5 years ago and I still have to come out to people on a regular basis and it. Is. exhausting.
In high school I went out for softball and wore plaid because I thought it would mean I wouldn’t have to explicitly state that I was out. There was in fact an incident involving an obscene amount of cherry chapstick as I constantly tried to come out via pop culture references. I dated fem identifying people almost exclusively. I was easily identified as queer.
In college I met the man who seems to be my person and became defensively queer; I shaved most of my hair off, I started participating in what would be called by some radical queer activism, I spent all of my free time at queer events.
When I met my person, I started a whole new round of having to come out with every new person I met. My queerness was no longer assumed, and became something that I had to fight for people to recognize. My person identifies as straight, as a result of that I am assumed to be a straight cisgendered individual. It seemed that his straightness removed any outward expression of me being genderqueer, no longer was I queer; I was suddenly a tomboy again. My pronouns became assumed and I felt parts of my identity slowly slipping away.
I began to introduce myself to people by coming out “Hi I’m Abby I use they/them pronouns and identify as pansexual” which meant I had to argue about my pronouns half the time right when I met people and that just was not working. I tried just not bothering to come out and sat there and cringed as I was referred to by pronouns that caused me to develop a twitch. There is a subtle balance that had to be found. I had to learn to decide which people were worth the effort of discussing my pronouns with, and what people I would just have to grin and bear it with to avoid the arguments.
You are never out of the closet, there will always be new people. There will always be people who question just how queer you are. Life is a balancing act and there is just no way to come out once and never have to do it again. You will start new jobs where you will have to decide if you want to be out at work. You will meet and love new people and each of them coming into your life will create a whole new set of scenarios in which you have to decide how out you are going to be. Coming out is not the one big event that we were lead to believe it would be; instead it is a repeated battle against assumed straightness. Queer must be announced, or we risk being lost in a sea of heterosexuality that forces us back into closets we thought we had escaped long ago.