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not quite the same

Unless you avoid the news studiously, it's hard to miss the growing number of countries who either legalised same-sex marriage, are in the middle of making it happen or at least are talking and thinking about it.

I'm Dutch, and that means I'm lucky enough to be able to get legally married since 2001. And that's what my wife and I did. We've been together since October 1981, so we assumed our relationship could be considered reasonably stable. Our sons preferred saying that their mums were married instead of having a registered partnership. We walked to the town's administration centre, filled in the form and that was that. We were finally accepted in exactly the same manner as any straight couple.

Only... we weren't... and we still are not. No quite.

Now, let there be no misunderstanding, being married means something and it's a overwhelmingly good thing. It's worth fighting for, and no mistake about it. 

But in the 30+ years my wife and I have been together (12 of those officially married) the number of  individuals we meet for the first time (outside gay-settings), who assumed right away we are a couple and addressed us as such is exactly zero.Yep, zero.

"Your sister..."  (We don't remotely look alike)
"Obviously best friends." (I sure hope so, but there's more)
"Sisters-in-law?"  (Just because she shares my family name doesn't mean she married my brother)

 I have to admit, neither of us read very much as gay (if butches are your point of reference) and once we have corrected them, all react friendly and respectfully enough. I do understand people want to avoid  misunderstandings.  That it's never with any bad intentions. That 98% of married couples in the Netherlands are m/f (yes, I looked it up)

And still...

It's such a small thing, everything considered. And it's such a huge thing, everything considered.

S. Dora
Ella Laurance
R.A. Padmos


Anne Sherriff said...

Check out Lisabet Sarai's blog today on much the same subject.

JP said...

It's a huge thing - Phil and I will be married soon as the stay on Prop 8 is lifted - congrats on your 30+ years together!

S.Dora said...

Hi Anne,

I saw it, yes. Great initiative. :-)


S.Dora said...

Hi JP,

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you and Phil that will be soon.

Thanks. :-)