Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A few thoughts on gay marraige

Gay. Lesbian. Bi. Transsexual. Transgendered.

What do those words mean to you? I'm sad to say that before I met a girl a few years ago, I never really gave those words very much thought. Oh, I knew that "they" were out there - and I had met a few. I went to a Catholic high-school. If you were gay or lesbian you most certainly didn't talk about it, for fear of ostracism. Eventually my one friend from high school came out of her closet - however, by that point in time, I was distancing from her for other reasons. And so my first-hand experience with such things was minimal, at best.

I used to ride the public bus system to school every day back when I first started college. I would carefully select my seat in a location that would ensure that I wouldn't be bothered by any of the other passengers. Occasionally I'd have to share a bench with someone else when the bus got full, or I'd give my seat up for someone who was disabled or older. But usually I could just zone out and read a book, or work on an essay.

It was on that bus that I met Sarah. Bright red hair and pale features made her stand out as she would read her book. Everyday she took the same bus that I did, and everyday I would ignore her.

And then things changed.

She said hi.

I distinctly recall thinking that she must be insane.

So I said hi back and went back to reading. Somehow that initial encounter became a friendship.

We talked about many things on the bus system. Sometimes we chatted about the other passengers. Sometimes we talked about what we liked, and what we didn't. Sometimes we talked about the crazy ass bus drivers.

I remember that I asked her whether or not she had a boyfriend. She told me yes. I almost didn't hear her next sentence as she softly muttered it.

"Well, he's not exactly a guy. Merry's a girl, physically speaking." I looked at her, hard. I automatically came to the assumption that she was gay. I was ok with that - she was my friend. The girl who had come up to me on the bus and said hi and talked about silly inane things and important big things. We continued our friendship, and I met Merry - her girlfriend.

It wasn't until some time later that I understood the full implications of that conversation. Sarah and Merry opened me up to the possibilities. I didn't realize it then, but I understand now.

Sarah is not gay, nor is Merry.

Merry has since changed her name to Sean. Sean believes that he is a male that is stuck in a female body, and I (for one) believe him. I believe the term is transgendered. I think that he's looking into surgery options at the present moment.

Stranger things have happened.

Sarah was open enough to accept him and love him for who and what he is. I had the great honor of attending their wedding this past summer - after six and a half years of dating, they finally tied the knot. They have their ups and their downs, just like any couple. But they make it work, and their love is as real as any other that I've witnessed. I sometimes feel as if their relationship may be stronger than many heterosexual couples I know, since they've had to endure much ridicule and pain at the hands of the ignorant. They've been told that it must have been a "phase" that they were going through. That it wasn't real. They've had their relationship overlooked and dismissed (not just from strangers, but by family as well), just because they are (physically) two women.

However, the friends and family of many heterosexual couples I know act completely differently. Within a year of dating, usually hints concerning marriage will enter into conversation. Even if the relationship is not wanted, it is (at the very least) validated. None of my heterosexual friends have been told that their heterosexuality was "just a phase." Why would we make that assumption about others that do not quite fit our bill of normalcy? I don't know the answer to that question.

Of course, Sarah and Sean's marriage is not considered legal. For all of our talk about equality for all, we still engage in discriminatory and prejudiced practices.

Oh, right. We have civil unions. Let me tell you something about civil unions. It's not the same. The "separate but equal" stance didn't work for those who were "colored," and it won't work in this situation either.

Just face it. We're a prejudiced society.

Scream about it all you want. Tell me how it is considered as unholy. Tell me about how marriage was created for a man and a woman, and that's the way it is. Tell me how they're all going to hell, and how I'm going to be joining them. Tell me about how it's unnatural. Go ahead. Tell me. I've heard it all.

I don't care. The government has no business dictating who may and may not be married based off of religious views concerning marriage. Marriage is something best left to the churches, not the State. Only the most cowardly of hypocrites hide behind these reasons. It's not holy? Who are you to decide what is and isn't holy? Marriage was created for a man and a woman? Not that long ago, marriage was forbidden between whites and blacks. The rule was created with archaic viewpoints of society in mind. Besides that, what is the definition of gender? Is it physical or mental? Or both? We're all going to hell? Well...that's really not for you to decide anyways.

But that's just my view of it. I now have many other gay, lesbian, bi, and transsexual friends. Sean remains my only friend that is transgendered - however, I feel that this is only because to be transgendered is a very rare thing indeed.

So that's my viewpoint on it. Marriage (to me) is a sacred covenant between two people, witnessed by all and God. It's a promise to love, honor, and cherish. It's like you're telling the other person that even if they drive you nuts sometimes, you'll still love them. Even if you have to work at it - because marriage is work - you'll do it. It's also a sacrifice. You're giving up everyone else to be with this one person. And it's more - so much more. However, I cannot possibly try to sum up what marriage is into a few sentences. I am not, nor will I ever be, that good of a writer.

It's a promise that Sarah and Sean have made to each other, as well as countless other gay, lesbian, transsexual and transgendered people. And just because others out there may not see it as such, doesn't make it any less.

So that's what I think about that.

And thank you Sarah, for saying hi to me on that bus.


  1. This was a great post..and thoughtful. I wish more people were insightful and open. One of my brothers is gay and he and his partner have been together for 8 years...and yet, not legally recognized as a couple? Ridiculous.

  2. JennyMac: I know. It's a damn shame that people can't pull their heads out of their asses long enough to realize how dumb it all is. Love is love, regardless of what one's opinion of it is. I know that eventually gay marriage will legally recognized, I just hope that it's sooner rather than later.

  3. That was deep...

    I'm trying to recall one of the few times I've been on a bus. I think I've only had the misfortune of riding one three times -- back home from college, when my mum wasn't available to pick me up.

    My first run-in with a gay person was at university I think. Or at least I didn't 'spot' any before then (I also had a very, er, mollycoddled schooling...)

    My first year at university, I had a gay girl in my flat. Then in the third year I had a gay, self-harming guy in my house. The girl was a lot cooler than the guy (she didn't have scars all over her arms for a start...)

    Anyway, there's your rambling, written-at-2am comment.

    I'm all for equal opportunities -- we're all born equal, right? That's the most fundamental tenet of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights...!

    Why we still differentiate between men and women and blacks and whites and Jews and Arabs... I have no idea.

  4. Sebastian: Equal rights should be had, but more often then not are denied in the pursuit of 'protection.' As for the guy who was cutting himself...did it ever occur to you that he may have needed some help? I have extensive experience with cutters, and I have to say, the majority of them are very cool people who are just afraid to let others see the 'real' them.

    Cutting is a sign of a serious illness, not a bid for attention, no matter how it may have come off to you.

  5. Hehe, I never saw it as such -- I just said I thought the non-harmer was cooler (i.e. more fun to be around).

    As you say, it's usually indicative of something pretty serious.

    I have helped a lot of people, but for various reasons I won't go into here, that one was outside my jurisdiction :)


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