YOU are not required to come out if you don’t want to.
There is absolutely no reason why the stranger who assumes you are sisters, or asks whether you’re best friends, should be corrected if you don’t want to correct them.
When she goes out with her partner Heidi and is asked “are you sisters?”, Michaels admits that she tells them that they’re friends, which she says comes from thinking they will be “shocked or disturbed”.
She then admitted that it would be a dream to be “normal” with a “strapping football player husband”.
Naturally, Twitter lost the plot.
There seemed to be no end to the calling out of Michaels, saying that she was calling homosexuality abnormal and, essentially, making people feel like crap.
I thought we must be reading different parts of the interview. Astoundingly, this wasn’t the case.
While increasingly I say “no, this is my partner” when I am asked if my girlfriend is related to me, it’s absurd to suggest that everyone should be forced to come out to any person prying into their life. Choosing the easy answer isn’t always a bad thing, and it by no means lessens your identity or pushes you back into the closet.
If someone I was getting to know, or that I was working with and was likely to see again, asked – then I would likely tell them. I’m not embarrassed by my relationship in any way. However, when a telemarketer knocks on my door and I tell them I can’t make a decision on the spot without my partner? They can assume that my partner is a “he” and I won’t bother correcting them.
So when that woman who asks in the shops whether my partner and I are sisters (and, despite our differences in nationality and vastly different appearances, this happens regularly), I’ll happily just say “friends” once in a while. Because, yes, it’s easier.
If you’d do otherwise, then I support your right to be able to tell that person as you wish. I fully understand the importance of representing homosexuality and normalising it.
But some days, feel free to not have to explain yourself to someone who doesn’t matter in your life. We can’t spend our every waking moment being ambassadors for the LGBTI community. Some days I just can’t be bothered adding an extra layer of potential conflict or awkwardness to my busy schedule.
It’s also hurtful to suggest that Michaels shouldn’t be able to voice her personal struggle with homosexuality. I will happily add my voice to the chorus of those who have at some point wished to be “normal”, whatever that means. I’d say Michaels is actually more “normal” in her desire to be “normal” than she may even realise.
I have immense sympathy for someone who is in the spotlight and who is under plenty of scrutiny about her life. Not everyone feels the same way about their identity. While it was a struggle, now I know that this is my normal.
You know why it would, as she terms it, “be such a dream to be ‘normal’ like that”? Because you wouldn’t have people asking you these questions in the first place.
You wouldn’t have to think about your response every time some person you don’t know questions the nature of your relationship. And if you went on the record in a magazine, you wouldn’t have all of these people losing their mind over the fact that you put your hands up and said “you know what? I would like life to be easier”. That’s no revelation to me.
Some days I just want to get on with my life, with little care as to whether my relationship offends anyone else or not. If I walk down the street holding hands with my girlfriend, and they assume we’re friends, well, so be it.
Add to this the layer of having a child, as Michaels does, and I’d imagine that my conservatism would hit a new high. As a parent, your job is to protect that child and your family from physical and emotional pain. There’s a lot of irrational hatred out there, and if avoiding it means telling some stranger that you and your wife are “friends” then it’s likely you’ll do it.
Jillian Michaels has since spoken about the backlash regarding her comments, saying she had been “misunderstood”.
After clarifying that by “normal” she meant what is popularly perceived to be normal, she then said this gem: “If I was ashamed of who I am, I would be in the closet.”
It’s far from in the closet to be out to the world, in a magazine discussing your homosexuality and living your life with a same-sex partner. If she then chooses to make her life a little simpler by not explaining herself to everyone who asks, then that is her choice and nothing to be demonised about.