‘Coming Out’ Happens More Than Once

Many people have the misconception that “coming out” is a one-time conversation, and while those very first times you talk about it out loud are usually the hardest, having to “out” yourself to strangers daily can be just as stressful and exhausting. Wait, daily?! Why do you have to come out more than once, you may be wondering?

Here are just a few of the examples from my own personal experiences:

  • When my wife and I were engaged, and I would mention my fiancée, I would always get asked about “him.”
  • When we were planning our wedding, I would make sure vendors knew about my future wife or my fiancée, Alexandra, so they would know from the beginning that we were two women. I
    didn’t want any surprises down the road if they did not work with same-sex couples.
  • When a doctor’s office asks for my insurance info, I have to tell them I am on my wife’s plan.
  • When I was pregnant, I would get asked if my husband was so excited about the baby.
  • When we are at a restaurant, the server always asks if we want separate checks.
  • Now that we are moms, when we are out with our kids, we are never assumed to be a family unit. People want to know which one of us is the “mom,” because apparently, it doesn’t compute
    that we could both be our kids’ mom.
  • Even at the grocery store checkout line while paying together, we get asked if we are roommates.

coming outBasically any time I meet new people, it is bound to come up. For a while, depending on the situation, I might have corrected the person, or I might not, because it just got exhausting, and you don’t necessarily want to get into personal details with a complete stranger. You never know how someone will react, especially down here in the South. These days, unless I feel particularly unsafe, I always make a point to explain that I have a wife, not a husband. We are both the mom. I like to think that for every time I correct someone, that is one less time another queer person will have to deal with strangers’ assumptions and decide whether or not to “out” themselves again.

In summary, it is 2022 (although it doesn’t always feel that way in this country lately). While it may be more common for a woman to have a husband than a wife, everyone just wants to feel normal. So, let’s try our best to not make assumptions about what a stranger’s family looks like.

Jess Dinney
Jess Dinney is a Florida transplant who grew up in New York but has been living in Jacksonville for 8 years. After working as a corporate event planner and conference manager for 14 years, Jess is now a full-time stay-at-home mom to her 1-year-old twins. In her free time (wait, twin toddlers, what is free time?) Jess loves spending time outdoors with her wife and kids, going to Jags games, and trying out new restaurants around town. Follow her on Instagram @doublethedinneys for the low-down on twin mom life, LGBTQ advocacy, local food tours, and more!


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