I married my husband in 2010. I never thought I would get married. I never expected to be standing in front of a room full of men and women publicly declaring my love for a man. I certainly never expected to be kissing my newly pronounced spouse in front of my family (and especially my father). But they were all there. Applauding. And happy for us.
Sure, they called it a gay wedding. Let’s be honest, seeing two people of the same-sex getting married is different. Hell, we don’t even see gay couples holding hands in public, let alone getting unioned. So I don’t mind that it was a gay wedding. I’m just glad I got to have a wedding. And a husband. And presents. Ahem.
That said, I did happen to recently see two guys walking in a mall holding hands. A young straight couple walked past them and I saw her look at her boyfriend and roll her eyes. He made a gagging motion and they both shook their heads. I wasn’t sure what to do. I felt like walking up to them and slapping them, but another part of me wanted to ask them why. To understand why it was so nauseating and insulting to see two men hand-in-hand. I stood frozen. Watching them walk off into the distance hand-in-hand with no one blinking an eye. I realised then that their reaction to the gay couple hurt me more than it actually hurt them. I walked away embarrassed, hurt, shamed and angry. They just walked away.
I’ve never held hands with my husband in public. I’ve never leaned over and kissed him at the table of a busy restaurant. I’ve never walked down the road with my arm around him. Our intimacy is in private. Forced to be. If I walk in the street hand-in-hand I’m not expressing my love and union with the man I want to be with for the rest of my life, I’m making a political statement, whether I like it or not. I give people the opportunity to make comments, to possibly even hurl abuse, and the potential to wound me. Yet my action and intent is essentially harmless.
Today, I sit at the bottom of Africa, hoping that the USA continue their progress to accept gay men and women. I hope that people start seeing that if anyone is being hurt by this, it’s the men and women who just want to say they’re in love with another person, who happens to be of the same-sex. That the people who are being hurt are the women that gay men are marrying in an attempt to believe their God can make them straight. And the children who watch a family broken up as a result. The people who are being hurt are the ones who are being denied.
I feel denied. Even though I’m married. I want to walk in the mall with my hand in my husband’s. I want to lean over and tell him I love him without being scared. I want to kiss him goodbye at the airport. For no political reason. Just because I love him.