Safely Under the Radar

Dealing Effectively with Others’ LGBT Prejudices

Murmansk, Russia
Murmansk
Grace’s grandparents immigrated to the United States from Murmansk, Russia, during the World War Two period. Grace had heard them talk about the harbor and the distinctive architecture; and she had always wanted to visit Murmansk to see for herself what it is like. Grace and Jenny plan to take a week-long vacation there during the Christmas holiday, when both will have some time off from work.


Preface

Most of us probably are at least somewhat aware of the Matthew Shepard murder, a tragic and widely reported hate crime carried out by two men who pretended to be gay so as to lure Shepard away from safety. Somewhat lesser, but still very consequential, acts of discrimination face not only gay men such as Matthew Shepard, but also lesbians and transgender people. Economic and social harm are serious risks. This page is about two lesbian women who found ways to avoid becoming victims. What they do to stay economically and socially safe could be adopted by crossdressers and others.


Grace and Jenny

Grace and Jenny have much in common. Both graduated from high school in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Both were good students and both were on the football and basketball cheerleading squads. After high school, they enrolled in different universities and lost track of each other for more than a decade. During that time, both married and had children, Grace a son and Jenny two daughters. Both were divorced after several years of marriage. Today Grace is a pediatric physician with a private practice in a small town (≈ 3,000 population) roughly 70 miles east of Atlanta. Jenny teaches third grade in a public school in a small city (≈ 35,000 population) roughly 70 miles northwest of Atlanta, Georgia. (Even their distances from the nearest large metropolitan area are about the same!) Both women have joint legal custody of their children with their ex-husbands; both have primary physical custody (i.e., their children live with them and attend local schools). Both of their ex-husbands live and work in Georgia communities about a 30 to 45 minute drive away from where their former wives reside, far enough away to permit everyone to get on with their lives, but close enough to insure that the children have fairly easy access to both of their parents. Finally, both women found themselves, after their divorces, making discreet out-of-town visits to lesbian clubs.




Lesbian Club

Sharing a cottage or hotel room is safe, discreet, and reasonably
affordable, even for a room in
a nice cottage or hotel.
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The children’s fathers typically have them for two weekends per month, although that varies somewhat, depending on each person’s schedule. Both women often socialize in Atlanta on weekends when their kids’ fathers have custody. That’s how they met after not having seen each other since high school. Quite unexpectedly, they ran into each other at a club called “My Sister’s Room” in January 2012. They hit it off immediately; and in the months that followed they shared hotel expenses. In addition, they shopped together and often went together to movies, art museums, and other interesting places, as well as restaurants. Between trips to Atlanta, they now talk on their cell phones and send each other birthday cards, Christmas cards, and … even Valentine’s Day cards.

As one might expect of two single, unattached women spending a lot of time together on planned weekends, they increasingly shared physical intimacy. Both had experienced scattered lesbian behavior in college, so their progression with each other was not entirely new ground for either of them. But it felt good to do it again. Today they continue to go to “My Sister’s Room” and similar entertainment spots on Friday and Saturday nights when they both have a weekend free. Sometimes they dance with each other, which is in line with what many others do at “Sister’s” and at similar clubs. When they get back to their hotel room, they typically shower, put on their nightgowns, open a bottle of wine, and relax together for a while before going to bed.

Both of their lesbian sex lives had been quite subdued before they started seeing each other; but their lesbian sex lives blossomed as they spent more time with each other. Their relationship today is based partly on compatibility and common interests, partly on feelings of security and comfort when they are together, and partly on lust. They engage in intimate behavior that they had never done before. They love each other very much.

As a third-grade teacher in a socially conservative community, however, Jenny must keep the full extent of her relationship with Grace secret; and Grace also feels a need to be discreet. As a pediatric physician, Grace deals mainly with traditional families. Being divorced is bad enough in her conservative, traditional town; being divorced and sexually active with another woman probably would ruin her medical practice if it became a gossip item in the town where she lives. In short, both women must keep this part of their lives secret in their home communities. For the most part, of course, keeping it secret simply means not discussing it. As William Shakespeare (1564-1616) once said: “Discretion is the better part of valor.”



Safely Under the Radar

While this page has focused on single, unattached persons such as Grace and Jenny who need to be discreet in pursuing social and sexual interests they feel they cannot share with some persons in their daily lives, that is just one category of persons with essentially the same needs. It’s instructive to note that the same strategy and plan that works for single, unattached lesbians also works for other catagories of the LGBT umbrella. Moreover, others with quite different reasons for wanting to escape the eyes and ears of those in their home communities also could adopt it. And of course many have.

  • Amity P. Buxton, PhD. 2005. “A Family Matter: When a Spouse Comes Out as Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual.” Journal of GLBT Family Studies 1(2): 49-70.

For example, in so-called “mixed-orientation marriages,” approximately of the couples choose to try to make their marriages work despite one spouse’s sexual orientation departures from traditional marriage norms. The compromises they arrive at may involve occasional out-of-town get-togethers between spouses and same-sex friends of those spouses. They may accept such compromises as agreements they can live with, but they know that some of their friends and associates would not approve. The more general point is that when discretion is necessary, or at least highly desirable, out-of-town rendezvous are a tried and true plan for keeping personal matters private. Single unattached crossdressers can learn from the conclusions of other LGBT groups. Lesbians and gays surely have experimented with different strategies and plans, thereby discovering through their own experiences what is most effective for them.


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I wish you   blessings.
Have a great day!


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