Wednesday, February 01, 2006

all things considered I couldn't be better

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.


HistoryGeek said...

I live in such a bubble sometimes. The Bay Area isn't perfect, but it does have some definite advantages...including domestic partnership laws and anti-discrimination laws.

Some of the things that Alecya didn't add. If her partner were hospitalized, the hospital would not be allowed to give her information (unless Beloved were able to consent, i.e. was conscious, or had an advanced directive) about her because she is not an immediate relative. Beloved and she may or may not be able to adopt children in her state. Any child born to the one of them would have to be adopted by the other, or all sorts of parental rights (including the rights around medical care) could be denied.

I did want to say that I really loved the discussion of stereotypes. I think here there is much more of a butch/femme culture (and a definite trans culture), but I'm a femme who likes femme-y women. I've dressed to stereotype (of a queer girl) at times and been mistaken for a man (I know, people get a little shocked by that).

adem said...

Fox - The thing is that Alecya shouldn't have to be the one to change, to move, to be considered an equal and have the same rights as everyone else ,but the fact is that some places are more bigotted than others. I guess it's a very hard situation to be in, but that's all I can do, guess.

The world is changing, we've just got gay marriages passed here [termed civil partnerships] which is a great step forward, but it does take longer for the same to happen everywhere else, and in some places it'll never change.

Keep fighting though and use your anger for the best.


HistoryGeek said...

Hey Foxy! I do agree with you a bit, but it's a matter of personal preference. I moved from my home town because I couldn't tolerate certain things about living there (the winter weather being a big factor, but there were others). The tradeoff that I made is that I left all of my established, friends, pets. These are people I still care about and being away from them (and certain aspects of my hometown). Luckily, I've found a place I love, but you take a risk that the place you move won't be welcoming in other ways.

Alecya G said...

Spinny makes a good point. Beloved would never move, and is so anti-PDA, it wouldn't make a smidge of diffrence.

And you are right, Spinny, I cannot adopt, I cannot get In Vitro as a single woman (with few exceptions) And if I have a child, Beloved cannot adopt it. And vise versa. I'd lose the children to protective custody anyway because I am a "sexual deviant" and expose my children to "high risk" behavior.

Also, if I were to move, I would have to pick out a coast, because there isnt much else for choice.

Adem, you're a doll for pointing out the obvious, I should be able to live where I like. Thanks.

For those interested, if I ever am in the position to move I will pick either a big city in the US [if Beloved moves with me] or somewhere overseas [if I am single]. I cant wait to get the hell out of here.

Oh, and Spinny - anyone who thinks you're a man is stupid. How could they miss it? *mutters* morons... You're a lovely lady. You really are.

Aravis said...

I can only imagine how difficult it must be, not being allowed to be who you are and even having to consider your safety. My heart goes out to you and everyone who suffers for their sexual orientation. This is going to be a very long battle, I think, but it's one I hope we can win in the end. Equal rights are worth fighting for. But then, you knew that already. *G*

Anonymous said...

I feel for you Alecya. If it's any consolation, just think back what it was like 50 years ago. Our narrow minded public has come a long way.

Have you thought of moving to a bigger city?

I live in a predominatly artist community and gay and straight alike cohabit the area without problems. As a matter of fact it has been this way for so long that I can't tell the difference between the straight or the gay. Nor do I care to.

I am a true advovcate of sex being your own personal business. What I do in the bedroom with my consenting partner is my own private right and that goes for everybody else.

I am not a violent man, but I would go to war to defend that belief.

LB said...

I cannot believe in a supposedly advanced Western country people can still go on like they are living in the 1950s. Madness.

It's odd how the larger the city, the more comfortable and tolerant people are. I'm not sure it would be that easy to be gay in my city to be honest. It's all a question of degree; you certainly wouldn't experience the kind of attitudes to the level you do, but also I don't imagine you'd feel comfortable kissing your gay partner on the streets of the city. If you were in London, as Foxy says, I doubt anyone would bat an eyelid.

It makes me really mad, actually. I'm with Mr Mystic, if there was one cause that I had to choose above all others to vociferously support, I think it would be this one.

Alecya G said...

Mystic, Lord B, I can't tell you how refreshing it is to hear men say that [you, too, Adem].

Around here, I get a lot of "well, if its women its okay if I watch, but men?"...and you can follow the rest of the conversation, I am sure. My city is actually fairly large. I mean, its not the biggest in my State, but its #3.

I think its nice that there are strait people out there that feel like its a cause worth fighting for.

Really, I don't feel like I deserve sympathy, as Mystic points out, in the 1950's it was much ahrder. I read a book called "Stone Butch Blues" that really opened my eyes to how good I have it. Its also sad, because in my community the gays are either wildly activist, and get nothing done for all of their political in-fighting, or they are completely apathetic. No one seems to know how to pull everyone together. And it seems like no one here votes. It makes me sad, we have such a powerful demographic, and no one thinks of how much difference we could make if we tried.

I want to move, but I have reasons for staying here. Most of them revolve around Beloved, because I am more than willing to cut the cord and move somehere better, but thats an issue that will likely change in time.

In case I haven't said so lately, I really love how wonderful and supportive all of you are.

Erika said...

Sad. Horrified. Angry. Frustrated. Not terribly surprised.

The worst part for me: you and Beloved pretending to be roommates. Institutionalized hate and intolerance, but when it is internalized... That just breaks my heart.

One of the reasons I left for Britain when I did was because the Premier of my home province was threatening to veto the Supreme Court's ruling that sexual orientation must be included in the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms: work, home, safety, etc. The good people of Alberta were horrified, overwhelmingly, at having to legally condone such immoral behaviour, to the extent that, for some time, it looked like homophobia would win over basic human rights. So I left. I don't care if you go home to a goat, you deserve a home. There is just no excuse to deny basic human rights to ANYONE based on ANYTHING.

Things like adoption and marriage are a different issue, but are really no less cut and dry. I posted once on not understanding the argument against same sex marriage - hello? why are we forbidding commitment and monogomy?

I'm a flaming liberal, mind you, so I'm perhaps not unbiased in this area. I happen to think opponents of same sex marriage (legal, not religious - churches should not be forced to perform same sex weddings) are idiots. I'd love to hear an argument against same sex relationships, however, that doesn't have to do with "immoral" or "the Bible says..." Equality, baby, trumps all.

Thanks for that, Alecya.