Meditations for Queer Femmes – Nobody’s Business?

I recently took my elderly parents in for their 6-month check up at the wonderful geriatric practice we were lucky enough to find when they first moved here 4 years ago. Their doctor is a young, kind and patient fellow who we’ve all grown to like and trust. As we were cooing over the pictures of his kids, a new baby and an adorable toddler, he let us know that he and his family would be moving this winter to be closer to his siblings and their families. Innocently, I asked if his wife’s work was portable or if she’d have to look for a new job.

“My partner works for the V.A.,” he replied. “So he’ll be able to find work easily.”

Should I have known better than to assume he was straight? Of course, and I apologized. But then, from the depths of my being, these words came flying out of my mouth: “You’re only just now coming out to me? I hate you!!”

Obviously, I don’t hate him. He’s been a really good doctor to my parents, helping us as all kinds of things went down. We will really miss him. And, I really could have used his queer company from day one. It would have been incredibly comforting to have a queer little brother as I navigated my mother’s depression and anxiety, my father’s dementia and various physical ailments – all the stuff that comes with being the caretaker of old folks.

This young doctor couldn’t have known the particulars of my life when we first met, that I’d recently had my heart broken and had to leave a UU church after several years when I finally realized the “Welcoming Congregation” promise was just flashing lights and mirrors and that this could never be a safe spiritual home for me. He couldn’t have known that I’d been soundly rebuffed in my efforts to find a queer support group for caregivers when, at the last minute, straight people were allowed to join “but they’re fine with gay people!”. He couldn’t have known all that, but he might have understood that being out to me would have comforted and supported me, made me – and my parents — feel less alone.

After I told the story about our doctor to my femme sis Liz, she remarked that she’s never understood the whole “it’s nobody’s business” thing, and I know what she means. If you’re in danger, you have to protect yourself, of course. But to be closeted at a groovy Cambridge, MA hospital to a flaming femme who is obviously a caring and conscientious person… Why? Not to mention how reassuring his presence as a queer doctor would surely have been to queer elders, their families, allies, the staff – his influence could have been huge as well as being a huge part of his healing work as a medical person.

It seems to me there can be this idea that if you know I’m queer you can suck out my soul or something, like you know my real name, like I’m Rumplestiltskin with his fatal flaw. That if you know I’m queer, you’ll be able to control me. Is being queer shameful? Will people be able to manipulate and use you if they know?

Just as our doctor doesn’t know my personal details, I don’t know his, so I have to assume he did the best he could with what information he had, and that his reasons for being closeted were important and compelling for him and his family. But I’m still so sad.

Driving home that day, I contemplated writing our doctor a letter detailing some of the things I’ve talked about here, urging him to see “Gen Silent”, etc., but have decided against it. I really don’t think he’ll forget my honest, heartfelt and heart-hurt reaction any time soon, and it’s certainly none of my business how he continues on with his medical career.

But darlings, if you can, if you are able, if it’s safe for you, please come out! Spread queer femme light and love! Be there for each other, for family and for family and beyond. Allow the starburst of your queer femme magic to radiate out and out and out.

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, kind, and wise and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)

 

Published in: on September 24, 2018 at 8:41 AM  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. OMG I love this so much! This really needed to be said, and with the passion and nuance that only you can say it with. I will think about this a lot and make sure that I don’t hide my queerness in any way as I go about my week.

  2. So many people will benefit! Thank you, Liz, and thank you for the title of the post and for all *your* insights! xottf


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