Thursday, April 11, 2013

Why We're Fighting

Some days, days like today, all I want to do is curl up on my couch and cry and hide and hug my wife.  Apparently in Missouri, a gay man was arrested for trying to see his partner in the hospital.  The sick man's family didn't want him there, and the nurse refused to look at the power of attorney papers they had.  He was handcuffed and removed from the hospital.  Now he can't return at all because the hospital has placed him under a restraining order.  You can read the full story here.

I am constantly told by straight people, both ally and enemy to the gay community, that full marriage is not required.  That we have the capability of being just as protected as any hetero couple out there if we just have the correct legal papers in order.  Well, here's a newsflash for those who agree with that idea:


One more time in case you didn't quite understand:


Regardless of the fact that Obama signed something "guaranteeing" that we would not have to deal with situations like this, apparently we still do.  Full legal marriage would prevent things like this.  A stack of papers "simulating" marital status does not.  This poor man just wanted to see his partner, who was lying sick in the hospital, probably just wondering where his partner was.  There is no telling what the stupid family told him about the absence.  They were obviously not the most supportive of the relationship from what I can tell.

THIS is why we keep fighting for marriage. Not civil unions or domestic partnerships, but full, protected marriage.  Yes, we take these lesser items when offered because any protection is better than none at all.  I will sure as hell be in line May 1 when Leon County, Florida starts letting us register as domestic partners.  We need the protection.  Just last year my partner had to have a surgical procedure, and I damn near gave myself an ulcer being terrified and worried that if (Goddess forbid) something happened I would be denied access and decision making ability.  That her family, which is 6 hours away and Jehovah's Witness affiliated, would be the only ones allowed to choose what happened.  I live my life this terrified.  What if I get hurt at work or somewhere, and they don't let her in to see me or make decisions for me?  What if...what if...what if... 

I'm tired as hell of living life terrified.  I decided long ago that my orientation and relationship were not secrets to be hidden.  I have not once changed a pronoun or deferred a conversation because I was worried about the consequences.  I am proud to be who I am, and I am certainly proud to be with my awesome wife of 15 years.  She's amazing and beautiful and brilliant and wonderfully geeky, but my pride will not protect us.  It will not grant either of us the power to control decisions if the worst happens.  And apparently neither will those papers of approximation. Think about that the next time you want to tell me a union or partnership or talk with a lawyer will be enough.    

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

She has such pretty face...

A good friend of ours is expecting a daughter, and I was picking up a few more things for her baby shower gift in Wal-Mart today.  I came around the corner and found this:

This is a onesie starting in size 0-3 months.  ZERO TO THREE MONTHS!  On the other side of the rack was one intended for boys in gray that said "Don't call me chubby. This is all muscle."  

So what?  A lot of people (including the woman working the infants section) think this is cute.  It is not cute, and let me tell you why.  I've pretty much always been a big girl.  I started gaining weight in fourth grade, and it has fluctuated up and down my whole life.  As a kid, I dieted all the time.  I tried all the ones in the women's magazines laying around the house, and I even checked weight loss books out of the library aimed at kids.  People took it upon themselves to tell me "You have such a pretty face." and "You'd be so much prettier if you just lost a few pounds."  Bullies at school called me a variety of uninspired and cruel names.  I learned to hate my body, hate what it looked like, and it has only been in the last couple of years that I have finally come to a cease fire.  I'm 33.  So for 20+ years, I put tons of energy into hating and hating and hating the one and only body I have.  Yes, I am heavier than I would like.  I would  not be averse to dropping a few pounds in order to be able to buy some of the clothes I like that do not come in my current size.  However, no matter how big or small I am, it has nothing to do with who I actually am, but I was brought up in a society in which one's worth is believed to be tied to one's weight.  Is this really a tradition we want to continue?

No child, girl or boy, needs to grow up in an environment of shame and self-hatred.  There is nothing wrong with promoting healthy living, but there's a fine line between that and the area in which fat-shaming and the offensive onesie live.  The baby I was buying gifts for is not my own, and I do not plan on having any.  I do, however, have very fertile friends, and I want more than anything to promote a world in which our friends' daughters and sons are brought up to value their intelligence, kindness, and courage rather than the size of their jeans.  A world in which onesies like this are not a reality.  A world in which no one hears "But you have such a pretty face" anymore.