The trouble with being queer in a hetero-normative relationship is that you have to repeatedly come out of the closet. However, I do get to have my marriage seen as legitimate by not only my state and my country, but also the entire world. So, small price to pay.
I am queer
This past weekend, I was watching SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND with a bunch of friends. For those who have not seen this wonderfully lurid piece of television, most of the male cast is made up of handsome, muscular gladiators, who, in one of the show’s few nods to historical accuracy, are shown wearing little more than subligarium. It is a gifted cast, in many ways. I said as much, when one of the heavily-muscled cast turned away from the camera.
“Nice ass,” I said. Not clever, I realize. But it was true.
“Oh, does he have a girl butt?” one of the guys who was watching with us asked. I wish to point out that he could see the screen just as well as I could. And there was no way an actor with as little body-fat as this was going to have a girl-butt.
“No,” I said, an added a lascivious tone to my voice. “He’s got a man-ass!”
Now, this made more than a few people uncomfortable. Questions were raised, and explanations were monologued, and whether or not it was okay for a man to appreciate the aesthetics of another man’s ass was decided in the affirmative.
“Not that he needs your permission,” our host said. She continues to rise in my esteem.
I didn’t really pay attention to the discussion, as I was watching handsome, muscular men parade around in loincloths (With swords! It’s like they made this show just for me!). I suppose I could have said “I’m bisexual! I find these dudes sexually attractive!” But I assumed that’s what I was saying when I said “Nice ass.”
Later that evening, I had to explain what “power bottom,” meant, as the very thought was turning one of the guys bright red and I thought he might suffocate on his own embarrassment.
It must be really hard to be straight. In the words of James Adomian, I’m glad I don’t have to pretend anymore. Seems exhausting.
I am married
My wife, JR Blackwell, is also bisexual. We got married four and half years ago. She took that photo at the top of this post at our First Anniversary, where we marched for Marriage Equality.
A few months before that, I broke my ankle. Because we were married, JR got to stay in my hotel room, long after my hospital roommate’s girlfriend was asked to leave. I was on morphine, but it would cut out a good hour before the nurse was allowed to give me more. There were times during that hospital stay that was in excruciating pain, and the only thing that got me through the night was feeling JR’s body next to mine on that hospital bed. I got to have that, because the nurses recognized our marriage as legitimate.
Despite the fact that we had a ceremony of our own design in a field where no god was mentioned, despite our Quaker marriage license not being endorsed by any priest, despite our lack of children, our marriage was seen for what it was: a meaningful commitment between two adults, that because of our intense love, we would always be there for each other.
There’s been many attempts to define marriage, but if its anything other that, its missing the point entirely.
The Supreme Court is deliberating on Hollingsworth v. Perry. While there are other issues wrapped up in this battle, the biggest one is whether or not marriage equality is good for America. This is weird question to ask, in 2013, forty-six years after Loving v. Virginia. The arguments are the same; God is against it, it will lead to ruin, are we to marry goats?, etc. etc. Again and again, this battle fought by the same people, who, in the words of Toni Morrison, wish to feel tall by keeping others on their knees. There’s a lot of power in being a gatekeeper, in denying people things, especially happiness. It’s an ugly, nasty sort of power, though I understand the appeal.
But it’s wrong. To deny someone’s feelings as legitimate, be it causal oogling of TV actor or their need to be at a hospital bedside, is wrong.
My wife and I are queer and married. Now, we get to be that way through a hetero-normative loophole. That should not be only way.