In the closet on Valentine’s Day

Photo by Adi Harari via Wikimedia

Jennipher Schafer/Contributing Writer

Valentine’s Day is coming up.  To most couples there are a few thoughts this brings up such as “Where will we go out to dinner?” and “What should I get him/her?”  For folks in the LGBTQ community it can also be a nightmare if your partner is in the closet.  I want to treat her to dinner, but as you may have guessed, my girlfriend is not exactly what we call “out” yet.  There have been little victories here and there.  Both sets of our parents know which at three years last November is only appropriate given the example set by most straight couples.

Every year so far it has fallen to me to treat her for the holiday.  She treats me more often so it is my turn to show her how much it means.  The only trouble is that when we do this, she maintains a distance in a personal space bubble.  It is terrifying to her for me to reach for her hand at the table or in any way indicate we’ve dressed up and gone out for anything other than a friendly holiday protest in singlehood.

In the past when I’ve dated guys their only complaint was my taste for fine Japanese dining being on the pricey side.  Never once did they seem so set against people knowing we were together that it scared them.  So what’s a girl to do?  We’ve both said the “L” word to each other and know it to be true.  I have no plan on disrespecting her privately let alone in public by going against her wishes.  I had hoped in December of 2012 when she kissed me under the mistletoe at Santa’s Enchanted Forest this would have been over and done with, but it seems not to be the case.

In part she says this is because of the over sexualization of the image of same-sex couples, in particular women.  She worries that something as innocent as holding hands in public will make people think and talk of further actions and assume she only likes women.  This isn’t the case for either of us even though we’ve found happiness with one another.

Her point on the assumption is sadly a reality faced by many people like us.  Personally I’ve experienced it too.  In the past women have turned me down citing they figured I’d leave them for a man eventually.  Assumptions like this exist on both sides of the field even today.  In the end all I can do to show how much I love her is to respect this wish of hers to keep things quiet.  Who knows though what the future holds.  I’ll still enjoy the evening with her even if any hand-holding is done in the car and not the restaurant.

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