An interesting thought occurred to me today. Something that has irked me over and over again, but no light had been shed upon the reasons behind it until now. It finally all makes sense.
Georgia introduced me to some old friends of her’s today as her wife. And what followed is painfully common, “Oh, you got married?” Georgia’s response, was a demoralized and deflated explanation of how its only a domestic partnership. Therefore, not in equal standing to those privy to the acknowledged partnership known as marriage.
Now, to the untrained ear this may not evoke any emotional response, however, upon a slightly deeper investigation this is what comes up for me: here is yet another commonly-used divisive question directed at the line between us and them.
My amazement lies not in the individuals that so mindlessly ask the question, but in how common it is. I am astounded just how divisive and painful language can be.
These are old friends of Georgia’s, a straight couple that she’s known for years that obviously didn’t ask the question to hurt us. It was just a knee-jerk response.
On the flip side, I have never asked a straight couple with a furrowed brow “So, you got married?” after they just introduced one another as husband and wife. I would simply say “Congratulations!”
How often does a straight couple ask another straight couple this question after introductions? Isn’t it safe to assume that if they just said, “this is my wife”, then they are obviously married? No need for further scrutiny, gumshoe-mystery solved.
My being personally offended falls to the wayside when I step back just far enough to see the sprawling disparity between even the simplest of decencies between a gay couple and a heterosexual couple. My interpretation of this conversational faux pas is just this—lack of awareness. Mindfulness and skillful speech go hand in hand.
Straight people continually trivialize our relationships inadvertently. It doesn’t seem to matter if they are somewhat politically aware or not. Even if they manage to overlook the vast age difference between Georgia and I, they still feel the need to ask the same idiotic question every time we utter the words “she’s my wife”.
Hooray for Judge Walker and all that’s been happening with Prop 8. Let’s get it done—let’s make it legal! But it’s going to take some time before equality isn’t merely a theory and people actually accept same-sex relationships as being just as valid as their own. I’m 26, so I sure hope it happens in my lifetime!