With all the changes for more acceptance of same-sex marriage, I am always surprised when confronted with lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgendered/questioning prejudice. Sometimes it comes from unexpected sources and others times from exactly where you expect. I do not hide my life from anyone and refuse to feel belittled by those who try to demean me for who I am. I have a strong sense of self and it serves me well.
22 years ago today Natalie and I had a commitment ceremony surrounded by over 50 of our friends and family. It is the closest thing to a wedding we could have at the time. If Natalie and I could, we would have been married right out of college. Finally, just over three years ago we were married in the state of Iowa. Our marriage license is good in 19 states, the District of Columbia, and with the Federal Government, but not the state in which I reside. You have heard me lament this before and I will probably lament it again.
Today a co-worker bragged, after he had openly flirted with a female co-worker, that he had been married for 37 years. I said I had lived with my spouse for almost 30 years, but we had finally got married three years ago. He told me it doesn't count until you are married. At this point I said, well we would have been married sooner had the law allowed it. He gave me a dismissive look and dropped the subject immediately. His disdain apparent through the rest of our interaction.
I do not care what his opinion is of me or even his disdain of my marriage, but it made me angry to realize discrimination of same-sex couples has robbed me of my co-worker's bragging rights. I burn at the injustice to me and to other same-sex couples. We have made the commitment and done the work, but we don't get to account for all the years of our accomplishment. Just like same-sex families have been robbed of the title of family, parent, or widow. Discrimination takes those honors and saves them for only the select few who feel they deserve those roles.
I am still angry about what happened today. In many ways it tarnishes how I feel about my job. To some regardless of how many times Natalie and I stand up and proclaim ourselves as a unit, they will refuse to accept our marriage. One day it will be the law of the land and they can still choose to reject our union, but I will hold up my marriage license, look them in the eye, and say, "FUCK YOU!"