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african-american-man-phone-woman-backgroundI’ll tell you a secret.

I still have some internalized homophobia. So I get squeamish when I have to come out.

I don’t have to come out very often, but the situation does arise if I have to, say, switch ophthalmologists. Or if my son Ray wants to play with a child whose parents I do not know. Just recently, after I told the mother of a child in Ray’s Suzuki violin class that I was one of two moms, she looked at me with a completely straight face and said, “There was a girl in my daughter’s class who had that.”

Had what? The malaise of homosexuality? The disfiguring disease of conjoined motherhood?

Once, when I was adjuncting at St. John’s university, the topic of homosexuality came up.

“I heard it runs in families,” an English professor said.

“Oh yes,” I chimed in. “My brother and I both inherited homophilia. Haven’t you heard? It’s very catching. Do you want your spoon back?”

I don’t want to be labeled, see. Who does? Even if only a portion of the lesbian population have wiffles, I still have trouble coming out with it in ordinary conversation. I hate the word “lesbian” because it makes me think of a bunch of women wearing patchouli and making out with each other on some Greek island. Gay is generally a term for the boys (although I do use it) and queer still means strange to a lot of people. I do love the word homosexual because there’s a whiff of the scientific there, and it’s funny, but admittedly I say the word in a humorous way as a coping mechanism.

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