Archiving this from a Facebook post.
I was really hesitant to even post about this because… oh, lordy. Reasons.
So I get done with my therapy session yesterday and I get a Lyft home.
The driver was nice enough, pretty personable… offered to help me into his car (he was driving a delivery van, of all things, so quite a step up for my gimp behind to work my way into. Anyway.) He’s rather chatty, as a certain set of Lyft and Uber drivers tend to be, which is generally great. They’re usually quite nice.
He was around my age (for some reason, he needed to tell me he was born in the late sixties), and really needed me to know he dated “a couple of cute girls” in my housing development, a few years back; that Terrestria is known for “great looking girls,” and how he’s been in several local heavy metal bands.
Something, just something, ticked a warning switch in the back of my head that said, “um. Straight dude, be careful.”
Which, honestly, I haven’t really felt – at least to that degree, that sense of “is this paranoia, or do I have a reason to actually feel unsafe?” – in a while.
Maybe there was something about being a hundred percent vulnerable. I’m in a complete stranger’s car, and who knows what may happen if he decides he’s not dealing with fags today… my best-case scenario is that he pulls over, kicks me out, and I get another car home.
Worst case? I dunno what happens. I am a moderately disabled gay man who’s been jumped before. Granted, it was years ago, but… that’s not exactly an experience that you really get over. If he decided to get physical, there’d be very little I could do to actually defend myself. I’ll fall over if you look at me sideways.
I decide – because I’m instantly 19 again and it’s suddenly 1989 and I’m hanging out in the parking lot across from the Cellar (Bakersfield will relate) – that I’m just going to try and keep things light, but I’ll scrupulously avoid disclosing a thing about me personally.
So, of course, his next question is, “do you have any kids?”
“Ooooohhh, no.” (If he’d been gay and pushing 50, he’d easily have read between the lines, because he’d have been here before, himself.)
At least he didn’t really push that particular line of questioning any further.
So, the tough bits:
- Yes, gay folks half my age, I’m totally stereotyping this guy, and no, under ideal conditions, that’s not defensible.
- But, folks half my age, if you haven’t had the shit beaten out of you by nazis (not even kidding, nazis), y’know… stfu, okay?
- I’m fully aware of how problematic my reaction was. It’s entirely likely that I could have just come out to him when he first assumed I was straight and he was attempting his dudebro bonding exercise; I could have told him I have a husband, instead of the wife he assumed I was married to. I could have told him that I don’t have any kids, don’t want my own kids, but my husband has a grown daughter we both adore.
I could have done any number of things that weren’t me – at this fucking age, having been out this long – intentionally closeting myself, or making shitty assumptions about this person.
Yeah, they weren’t great. I know that. I accept that.
I was also scared shitless.
Please try to see that, too.
I dunno what the right choice should have been. I dunno that there even is one.
But I do know that I feel exhausted, that in 2019, that this shit is still happening.