Tag Archives: Claire Potter

Queer Choices: marriage Equality at the Crossroads

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Eek! Marianne and I have just five days to go before out Wedding Weekend Extravaganza(!) begins. I’ve been busily getting the centerpieces for our table decorations procured, making a packing list for Thursday evening and trying to switch Friday’s outdoor ring exchange ceremony to a location with lighting because (as M pointed out yesterday) it gets dark by 6:25 p.m.

Anyhow, I’m currently at work catching up on my professional Twitter Feed and I came across the following gem from the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s blog. I’m including what I think are some of the best lines, but I really think you ought to read the post in it’s entirety.

Queer Choices: Marriage Equality at the Crossroads

Claire Potter

From the blog:

I must admit that sometimes when I am with heterosexual people who want to discuss the slow march toward equal rights, my queer soul seizes just a little bit. Please don’t take it personally if you notice. It means I am suffering the transformation from subject to object that occurs when I am discussing a lifetime of queer choices and dilemmas as if they were occurring in someone else’s life.

I think most GLBTQ folks have been there. We’re having a nice conversation at a dinner party and suddenly the topic turns to equal rights. To retain some semblance of decorum, we must separate ourselves from the topic of conversation (we as the “subject” must reframe ourselves as an “object” and pretend that the conversation is simply theoretical).

Even though I have accomplishments, money, a home, friends and a job, I actually know that the laws my life depends on are only a ballot initiative away, that other people’s feelings and insecurities about their straight families are widely perceived as justification for limiting the resources and rights available to my queer family.

I’ve written about this before. It’s a weird place to live, this space where I know that my rights and the laws that govern me are entirely dependent on how other people feel about their own families. And it sucks when 60 percent of the 30 percent of registered voters that came out to the polls in May were not comfortable enough with their own relationships so they chose to restrict the available choices for me.

 If life is a series of choices for everyone, queer life is a series of queer choices, of evasions, of making do, of coping with anxiety and with limitations.

She then goes on to give examples of the Family Rate for auto insurance that depends on how sympathetic the agent is to my specific situation; that only six states “recognize my humanity” while 19 states refuse any sort of legal protection (never mind marriage or civil unions) to GLBTQ folks in relationships; DOMA requires that GLBTQ folks that do live in states with marriage equality pay a separate tax rate at the state and federal levels; and knowing that a vast number of people think I can just abandon my “queer choice” of Marianne as a partner of almost five years for a man.

Oh what times we live in.  Why are our rights on the ballot? In that case, why not let the Taliban vote on whether women should go to school?

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