Coming Out The Gated Community

By Desiree Michelle Brown

Scene & Heard (SNH)
3 min readDec 23, 2017


Courtesy of John Holyfield

Today, my cousin came out as white. Auntie seemed to
act shocked, but the family already had a clue.
At one point, Grandma, eighty-seven, put a hand on his
shoulder and asked who told him. We laughed but
Uncle J stood straight-faced. It made Christmas
dinner a little awkward, but at least Caleb got it
off his chest.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with being white.
I work with a white guy and one of my best friends
is white. He’s not white white, like some others, but
he’s been white since I’ve known him.
I mean, I could never be white, but that’s just me.
If I were at the grocery store and two people were being white
together, I wouldn’t make a rude comment or an ugly
face. I’d just politely walk away. It doesn’t gross me
out. I just don’t always want to watch it.

Being white must be hard. I remember back in high
school there was a kid who was openly white and the
football team picked on him. They call him names like
“cracker” and “albino” until he cried. It was terrible. I’m
glad I’m not white.

I wonder if being white really is a choice, like people say.
Am I choosing not to be white? Maybe I am white but I
haven’t been open-minded to it. Would I like being white?

How did Caleb figure out he was white? How early can you
tell, and how long can you go without knowing? Caleb
acted white when he was younger, so he had to’ve known
then. Even I knew. I mean, he couldn’t dance, he always
thought he was right, and he loved watching NASCAR.
Even now it’s so obvious. He’s always on time for dinner
and apparently he’s got the highest paying job in the family.
Uncle J should’ve seen it coming.

I know Auntie knew he was white. She probably knew
the day he told her he wanted to be an accountant. But she
must’ve seen Uncle J was watching her. He’s a very
religious man. Goes to church every Sunday, with or
without his family. Spends more time there than at home.
How did he take it when Caleb “came out of the gated
community,” as they say? I’m not sure, but I bet he didn’t
put his hand on his shoulder and ask who told him he was

My name is Desiree Brown. I’m a college undergraduate currently working toward a degree in English at UNC Charlotte (University of North Carolina at Charlotte). “Coming Out The Gated Community” was inspired by a poetry teacher I learned from last semester and my passion to support LGBTQ+ rights. I feel as if my poetry would be a great addition to The Scene & Heard Journal because I often create poetry that people can relate to and that fights for something.