AI: More or Less Open Than Your Partner(s)?


I’m pretty much out about a lot of my identities in most places in my life. I don’t consider my gender identity, sexual orientation, or skepticism to be private issues. When they come up in conversation I do not obfuscate, and I’m usually pretty happy to talk about identity, life history, and interests that some other people would consider too personal to discuss in social situations.

My fiance, on the other hand, is fairly private. She hasn’t discussed her sexual orientation with her extended family, despite being very close with some of them. She is careful about who she discloses other parts of her identity too – so much so that I’m not being very specific here, even while not using her name. Privacy is important to her.

I don’t see either of these tactics as problematic in general – people absolutely should be as out, or not out, as they are comfortable with. Part of the point of being an activist and advocate is, for me, to allow others to have private lives without the need to talk about these issues all of the time. It’s to make the world a safer place for people like my fiance.

Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to be out while she private, and hard for her to be private while I’m talking loudly about being bisexual and transgender. We’re learning, together, to find ways of handling this difference between us to make it work for our future together. She is learning to be more comfortable with being a little more public. I am learning to shut the hell up sometimes. We’re making progress, but it’s not always easy.

Have you ever been more or less out or public about your identity than your partners? How did it work out for you? Do you think compromising and finding ways to meet in the middle can work?

The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 3pm ET.

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  1. I’ve been in relationships in the past that have been polyamorous, but my partner wanted to keep it secret because he worked in a conservative profession or came from a conservative family. That’s always hard for me, because I see a lot of value in being open and honest about almost everything, and certainly about sexuality.

    I’m now with somebody who’s openly bisexual, and it turns out that being open about his orientation has gotten me in a lot of trouble with my family; they are aghast that we would discuss sexual orientation instead of just trying to ‘pass’ as a conventional straight couple. In some ways, it was easier having an excuse to avoid being open, but I feel a lot better about how things are now.

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