An Open Letter to the Well-Meaning Straight Community

Dear Well-Meaning Straight Community,

I would appreciate it if you would pretend to stop being so “open-minded” about queer folks, and either admit that you are bigoted, or truly accept the gays amongst you.

My partner and I, or I who am my partner’s girlfriend, have had to come up with specific language in order to describe our relationship to one another. We aren’t allowed to get married, have a civil union, share benefits without a huge legal hassle, if at all. This illegitimizes our relationship, should we wish to move into a diferent state of co-habitation. Personally, I think marriage is a heterosexist institution; been there, done that. But it has its perks. It would be nice to have the option.

When well-meaning straight people can’t even get my partner’s relationsbip to me, or mine to hir, right, it is further illegitimizing. Guess what? We sleep together on a regular basis, and even more than that, we like each other! We do things that other couples do, like buy groceries, clean up cat litter, (and argue about who is cleaning it up more), and talk work over dinner and dishes. This makes us a very real couple. We are 30 and 28 respectively. We are actually old enough to be people whose genitals aren’t confusing their hearts, if that actually means something or matters to you.

So this is to you, landlord, family, long-lost friend at the bar: We are not “buddies,” roommates, pals, friends, or other people who have known hir long enough to know hir before she came out. We are especially not those things when I or my partner have identified the other to you, and you continue to use some other word to describe us.

We are queer. We are a couple. If there was a permanently attached dick on the person whose gender presentation made the most sense, I am sure you’d have no problem using words like girlfriend, partner, couple, or living together. Which makes you well-meaning straight people a bit less well-meaning than you thought.



  1. bookwyrm said,

    July 10, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Marriage is such a mess now that it functionally doesn’t exist, and it is as much the fault of the fundamentalist types at the radical types.

    I want a union where everyone understands that people change, that people don’t fit into convenient little boxes anyway, that made sure the kids were provided for, and that required more thought that a three-day whim to get in on. Unfortunately “marriage” was the closest I could come to that, though a limited partnership comes fairly close.

    Mostly, I try not to dwell on who’s doing what with whom, and just need to know if I should be including their name on your invitation or issuing them their own separate invitation, and what honorifics to use.

  2. Sam said,

    July 10, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    I think that there should be far more straight talking (whoops – pun quite unintended!!!) as I have a few women friends with female partners and I tend to wait until they introduce their partners with their chosen strapline and then use that name as that is what they have decided to use between themselves.

    Besides, there are so many tangled relationships these days that I am far safer saying partner rather than husband or wife cos that couple there just may not be married! I do think that it is only right that if a couple (gay or otherwise) are a couple then that relationship should be recognised (indeed must if the couple are to remain mentally healthy!!)

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