A male colleague saw me and JE holding hands, downtown Toronto. Thankfully he didn't stop us.
A member of the work grapevine told me this man was acting all surprised in the days after the sighting.
He thought I was a "lesbian."
The tongues of the country club cooks employed by that institution were wagging that week.
At long last, there was a category for me.
Would they like me now there was evidence I'd been with at least one man?
Was there a ceremonial welcome to shed the identity they imposed on me?
Because who doesn't know that in those circles, "lesbian" is code for hetero man-hater.
I chose work I loved. The price I paid was being othered. It was degrading to more people than me.
Sadly I got used to being the object of gossip—my sexual identity their feast.
The speed with which a new generation has put an end to it is a relief.
Queer, Trans, Lesbian, Homosexual, Two-Spirit, Bisexual, Fluid—all those beautiful people holding the gates to freedom open.
That man's arrogance was thinking it was any of his business who I got it on with.
How it applied to my tremendous cooking talent remains a mystery.