Now that we’ve covered all of the stereotypes that I cannot stand, and no one seems to have any questions yet, we’ll move on to the real part of the post I think Ka was aiming at, and that’s discussing the way it is for me living in a country where queerness is not legal, nor accepted.
In a word, uncomfortable. I’d like to think I am very comfortable about my sexuality. I am firm in what I like, and what I want. And I don’t mind demanding it or displaying it. Sadly, there are a lot of people who do mind.
Where I live it is not acceptable to see two people of the same sex showing affection in public. It is not generally acceptable to be gay. A great example of this is my last visit to the mall, which I mentioned in a post a few days ago. While I was at a jewelry stand looking for a new navel ring, and talking to the adorable [and obviously gay] clerk, several young males walked by and were less than quiet about commenting on how "fags are disgusting" and "should die". Lovely.
Even Beloved has become what I call a gay homophobe. She does not allow me to hold her hand in public, or walk to closely to her for fear people will know we are gay. Even outside on out front porch she likes to keep up auspices we are roommates for the sake of our safety. I think out neighbors know, but if they didn’t? I don’t know what I would do.
I am a very open person, so it is hard for me to be "in the closet" I don’t like it in the least. Beloved, on the other hand, has not come out to quite a few members of her family and it isn’t mentioned when I go to her family functions. I am just "Beloved’s friend" and that’s it.
Even in my own family its not something that is talked about, and while my grandmother has been as supportive as a woman of her upbringing can be, I know that she would be much happier if I ‘settled down with a nice young man.’ My mother, by this point, is rather clear on the fact that Beloved is not really fond of her, and my mom has taken to digging at her when she isn’t around. She also tends to make out that any male I am friends with is a potential mate who is likely falling in love with me. I think she hopes it’s a phase, really. It will be a shame for her to figure out eventually things aren’t going to change.
Beyond the people who are supposed to be supportive, there is nothing where I live that really encourages you to live an open and happy lifestyle. There is a community center here, but it is located in a frightening part of town, and there is very little community support. It was only the year after I graduated that a high school in my town formed a gay/strait alliance, and it was amongst a large amount of controversy. For those interested, it was not the high school I went to.
In my state there have actually been moves to block equal rights legislation for gay couples. There was an amendment to the equal housing laws in my state, for example, that was meant to add "sexual orientation" to the laws, so that you could not be evicted from your residence for your sexuality. This amendment did not pass, unsurprisingly. In the most recent election in my state gay marriage was outlawed as well. Even the university I will be attending in the fall has no sexual orientation clause in its equal opportunity statement although it has been lobbied for strongly by both teachers and students because the university president feels it is not necessary and might divert state funding to other less liberal schools. I can also lose my job because of my orientation.
As a gay, there is no guarantee for me in housing, schooling or work because of who I sleep with. I might also add there is a disturbingly low rate of follow up on gay hate crimes in my city because the perpetrators generally get away and police say there is "no use" filing a report on an unknown perpetrator. I’ve seen them go as far as to say that a woman I saw attacked outside a local gay club "knew the risks she was taking" when she went into the establishment. [In my mind this is much the same as saying that a girl who gets raped after drinking at a frat party has no right to file a police report as well...rubbish]
More than these liberties when you enter into a long term relationship there is no recourse for you unless you and your partner die at the same time with wills and amicable families. I can honestly say, at this point, if something were to happen to me the following would happen: I would not be buried per my wish [I want to be cremated and my mother would never let me, she hates the idea] because Beloved would have no say in it. When my life insurance policies were cashed in, my family would contest Beloved’s amount and take the money from her because she is not a relation to me. If I did not have a will [which I do not at this time] they would become owners of all my property, including the things in mine and Beloved’s home which we may have purchased together, such as my computer, television and my truck. They would even have access to our joint bank account. If I did have a will they would hold it up in execution and end up with all of my things, all because Beloved has no legal right to any of my things because according to law we haven’t got a recognizable relationship. If something were to happen to Beloved, I would have no home, and the same problems with all of the insurance policies, wills, and etc. And while I love her family, I have no guarantee they would not do the same thing I know mine would.
I think the whole marriage issue has been done to death over here. It breaks my heart to think of all the couples in this world who cannot be together because they are the "wrong" sort of couple. To me, love is love. If both are adults, and consenting, it is no one’s business. I don’t look at marriage as a religious institution because its not. Its been made into one and I think that’s wrong. There were marriages before there was a Christian religion, and there will be long after it is gone. It should, for the concerns of law, be a legal status. A partnership between two people. I don’t care if its called marriage or partnership or whatever. I think if two people love each other and want to make a commitment to each other they should be able to do so. And if a man and a woman can be given special government rights for that pledge, I think a homosexual couple should be able to as well.
For me, I don’t need a marriage. I want a ceremony where I tell the world I am completely committed to the person I am in love with. I want people to celebrate that. But I don’t need a piece of paper to prove my love to someone. They know I love them. Beloved and I have agreed we would have a commitment ceremony after 10 years together, because that is a time commitment most people over here cannot make. Strait or gay. And if we make it that long, we deserve a long vacation and the celebration and admiration of the people we know.
Still, I think that it is wrong to reward heterosexuals for moving in together, saying they love each other and popping out babies like good little breeders. I know that sounds cynical. And it is. But that’s why I can’t get married to Beloved. I won’t be able to procreate. You know what? Fuck off, because there are too many people in this world who are having children they don’t care about and don’t want for there to be a reward for doing it in a committed relationship. And this may sound harsh, but it is so rare for a marriage to work out I think it is a complete joke that its called a "sacred" institution.
And children. I’ll tell you a secret. I want them. Not now, I am too young. But in the future I want one. I would love to have a family. I cannot adopt in my state. I cannot foster parent, even were I single, because of my sexual orientation. It is also difficult for me to get In Vitro or any form of AI because I am gay. There are *two* clinics in the whole of my state that will allow a single woman to become fertilized. I think that’s wrong. On top of that, I will have difficulty getting pregnant in those situations, paying what will end up being thousands upon thousands of dollars to doctors who think I shouldn’t be allowed have kids, because I could not run out and sleep with a man to get pregnant because of a past *heterosexual relationship* I was in put me in a situation where my body was damaged to the point I can’t have kids naturally. The irony of this is I know this man now is married and has 4 kids. I will never know that joy because I think women are beautiful. And if I ever did have kids? Social services can take my children away from me because of my "sexual perversion" and the risk that I might molest them. It sounds crazy, but I know people it has happened to.
Right. I am mad now. I am going to call this a stopping point, and if there’s something else you would like me to touch on, feel free to ask me about it.