One day a lesbian who lives in my neighborhood caught up with me while Rocky and I were walking the dogs past her house. I’d met her once or twice, never remembered her name, she never remembered mine. She lives alone in a grand three-story that she owns, she has a lawn crew and a purebred pointer dog, and her friends dress nice; I rent a one-floor apartment with my partner and child, have dirt stains on all my pants from gardening, my pointer dog is a clutzy mongrel from some backwoods somewhere and my closest friend is a homeless mule-cart driver with beard-braids. Which is all fine. We’re different from each other. Ok. So.
The thing is, she always ignores Ry.
We’re out walking our pointer dogs, she says hi, she ignores my child. She’s taking out her recyclables while we’re walking by, she says hi, she ignores my child. So this one day, the day I’m talking about, she comes out, says hi, ignores my child, goes on to say that she’s friends with a group of lesbians who get together once a month and have a potluck, and this month she’s hosting, it’s going to be really fun, would you guys like to come?
Me, smiling, surprised by the invite: “Oh, hey, thanks! That’s really nice of you. Hear that, Ry? We get to go meet some new friends!”
“Oh no, it’s only for adults.”
Rocky: uncertain, her happy little smile quietly fading.
Oh, no she didn’t.
“Hey, we’re having this fun party, we want you to join our club – PSYCHE! sorry little girl, I know I made it sound like I was inviting you, but YOU CAN’T GO.”
Now, despite the people I’ve seen at the woman’s house, I know it’s still a judgement call, my feeling that Mo might have been the only non-white person there, and it’s an assumption that I would have been the only pierced Gen X artist lovechild, and my sense could be off that we both probably would have been the only ones inclined to use the word “queer” instead of “lesbian” to describe our rather pan-ish sexuality, and I might be wrong that we’d have been the only working-class folks in a mostly upper-class-ish gathering, which can be uncomfortable. I would have gone because I have plenty of friends who are different from me, diversity is the spice of life, and I like potlucks. But I can say with absolute certainty that I am not in the least bit interested in getting to know someone who completely ignores my friendly little child and then hurts her goddamn feelings, because that person is a TOTAL DOUCHEBAG.
Which brings me to the point:
It occurred to me, when I was thinking about that incident, that my parenthood has become more important to my identity than my sexuality and gender expression.
I’ve generally self-identified as bi or pansexual, but my lifestyle has been essentially lesbian, and the majority of my chosen communities, from twenties on, have been lesbians, or lesbian-types. It’s nice to be friends with people who are like you; it’s validating, and comfortable. You don’t have to explain things. Your friends just know. My friend base changed when I moved to Louisville, because although the Ville is fulla queers, I just haven’t met many queer parents. Or, if they are queer, they mostly haven’t said so. The one time a Louisville friend and fellow parent in a hetero-type relationship came out to me as bi, I was floored. The point is, I’m most comfortable with parents and kid-friendly folks now, and I’d rather be friends with them, straight or no, than a whole roomful of lesbians with pointer dogs, if it so happens that those lesbians with pointer dogs are also douchebags.