Friday, December 9, 2011

Gay Introductions

via HuffPost Gay Voices, by Domenick Scudera

'Tis the season of holiday celebrations, office parties and family gatherings. For gay people like me, these social events lead to a unique problem.

When I introduce the man I love to other people at a party, I cannot use the convenient title "husband" to explain who he is to me. Same-sex marriage is not recognized in our state.

There are many other options that I could use to introduce Brian to my long-lost Aunty Trudy from Duluth, but none of them is satisfactory. Here are a few:

Boyfriend: Brian and I have been together for 16 years. We are both... well, let's just say we are both on the other side of 45. We are too old and have been together too long to be "boyfriends." If we were going steady, or going to the prom, then maybe "boyfriends" would be more appropriate.

'Friend': I have lots of friends, and Brian is one of them. In fact, he is my best friend. But he is much more than that, so if I were to use this term to explain our relationship, it necessitates the use of quotation marks, italics or winks, as in:

"I'd like you to meet my 'friend' Brian [wink, wink]." You could use the word "roommate" in the same way: "my 'roommate' Brian [wink, wink]." This is all a little too cutesy for my taste.

Mate: This word would be fine if we were pirates. "Aye, matey, this here's me first mate Brian. Now swab the deck. Arrrgh."

Partner: This word makes us sound like attorneys in a law firm: "Scudera, Strachan and Associates, Homosexual Partners Since 1995." (Well, this could work if you consider our dogs "associates.")

Domestic Partner: This is even worse than "partner." It makes us sound like we are joint owners of a home cleaning service: "Scudera, Strachan and Associates, Domestic Gays Since 1995. We Make Your Floors Sparkle!"

Lover: This defines our relationship by a sex act. Although Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum may want to define our "lifestyle" this way, I would rather not. Sex is just one aspect of many in our lives.

It seems random to choose one part of our relationship to represent who we are to each other. Brian cooks dinner sometimes, but I would not introduce him as "my chef Brian."

He also does the gardening in our yard, but he is not "my gardener Brian." I could just as easily call him my "confidant," my "driver," my "dog walker," or "the guy I watch TV with."

All these choices, including "lover," are too limiting.

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