So, here's the scenario: I'm at my daughter's dance studio for the first time, waiting for her to finish dance class. It's the first time, because I've been teaching at the same time, so my husband has been taking her. Another mom comes in and signs her daughter up for class for the first time, greets the teacher warmly with words that indicate that she knows the teacher from outside of the studio, and then sits down at a table with two other parents whom it seems she's also old friends. I'm not at the table, I'm about half the room away, but I'm the only other person in the room except for the woman at the desk who keeps running in and out on errands.
The group at the table start talking about Facebook and Facebook etiquette and friends defriending them because of political differences. I'm interested, but the first time I start to react to the conversation they react like I would be intruding, so I revert to my introvert self and study my phone as if I'm checking Facebook. I'm not, because my phone is acting up. I turn my phone off and on, remove the battery, etc., all while continuing to hear the rest of the conversation.
The conversation turns to gay and lesbian people whom, it seems, in their world, are constantly, unlike heterosexual people, informing people of their sexuality, which is akin to informing people of what they do in the dark, which is where, apparently, this information ought to be kept. This is not my experience, of course. My experience is that I often hear my heterosexual friends and, indeed myself, refer to our partners with opposite-gender pronouns, thus flaunting openly our heterosexuality. On the other hand, I have known gay and lesbian people who were definitely in the closet publicly and referred to their same-gender partners with third-person-plural pronouns, thus hiding their homosexuality. Likewise with hand-holding in public. I see heterosexuals openly flaunting their heterosexuality all the time. Not so much when I see my gay and lesbian friends out publicly. The first same-sex wedding I performed it looked like the couple was afraid to kiss in the ceremony because that would be too out-there for their family and friends--at their own wedding!
So, what would you do? Enter a conversation that you were clearly eavesdropping in, and get in what would most likely be an argument with these other parents? Nothing? Something else? Tell me what you would do and what you would say--I could use the suggestions.
What I did was nothing. But I am hoping to do something in the future. I'm hoping that now that I know this information, I can go to the same place and try to put myself from the onset into the discussion so that I won't be an eavesdropping intruder, and trying to get whatever positive message I can across. My husband said he knew just who I was talking about because, apparently, there have been indications of this sort of thing, but less extreme, before. So maybe between the two of us we can go in there and open up a real conversation. Or, if we chicken out, at least have a real conversation about tolerance and prejudice that we let them eavesdrop into...