by Delaney Rose
Ever since I was a young, rainbow-freckled lesbian I’ve dreamt of the day I would have the right to get married. I always thought I’d celebrate, get married spontaneously, release a bunch of gay doves, bathe in glitter and scented candle wax, and help a bunch of other gays paint New York City in rainbow colors. Not that it needs much help.
In reality, when the Supreme Court announced that gay marriage was legal nationwide, I was sleeping. I’d stayed up late working the night before and woke up to see I’d missed about 100 notifications about it. At first, I was thrilled, but the thrill was almost immediately squashed by the toad of disgust. I wondered, “Great, what now?”
As a lesbian-American, what should I do with this news?
The straight people who once asked me how it was possible for two women to make love had rainbow icons on Facebook. Even transphobic people were rainbowing it up. Some genuinely support gay rights, or are part of the LGBT community themselves, but but many were just patting themselves on the back. It’s just unsettling seeing the straight guy who asked you “But there’s no penis in your relationship, how could you have sex or get married?” change his icon to rainbow and go “HAHAHA MY ICON IS SO GAY.” In the end, I guess it’s nice to know Dudebro ‘No-Homo’ McHetero is on my side. I needed his support.
That evening, my cool straight friends and their hip, liberal children all went out to dinner, and I didn’t. As many missed notifications as I had, not one of them was someone asking if I wanted to celebrate. My straight friends who said, “We won’t marry until everyone can get married anywhere they want in the country!” had friends commenting, “You can get married now, lol!” on their Wall. Now they were flailing for another excuse.
It’s ridiculous to expect that, just because you’re gay, people will automatically recognize and cater to you as a gay person. It just seemed like most of the celebrating going on was allies patting themselves on the back and changing their Facebook icon. What more did I want? Some acknowledgement that maybe, I don’t know, I might have been panicking for months about what the Supreme Court was going to say? Some kind of note that this isn’t the be-all-end-all of gay rights, and we still have to keep fighting? I do have faith that every issue in the LGBT community will get dealt with, especially now that we’ve had a big win, and I really hope that faith is not misplaced.
When my fiancée and I decided to move in together, we actually had to make sure that the place we were moving would rent to us. It’s still technically legal to get evicted in Florida because of your sexual orientation. You can also still lose your job. My sexuality isn’t a strike I like against me as I move forward with my life. I’m smart. I’m known as one of the best workers at my current job. My boss thinks I’m wonderful, but every time I talk about my home life I fear I’ll let it slip out that my “roommate” is actually my fiancée. But at the end of the day it shouldn’t matter whom or what I cuddle: another woman, my ninth-grade writing trophy, or an anime body pillow.
It’s as if 3.4 percent of the population were starving and suddenly someone gave them half a sandwich they didn’t need because they’d loaded their plate at the Cracker Barrel buffet. And you said, “Thank you for this half-sandwich, but I’m still starving.” And they said, “Are you kidding? This is huge!” And they changed their Facebook profile picture to a half a sandwich and wrote, “We did it!” And then all their friends who’d never fed a single hungry person changed their profile pictures to a half a sandwich too.
I shuddered thinking of all the teenagers out there who are in the closet and, upon hearing the ruling, also heard a parent make a homophobic remark or saw them roll their eyes. I felt grateful that my parents accepted me when I came out, and grateful that I was raised in an environment that was accepting of gay and trans people, unlike many of the people I know who were too terrified to say a word about whom they loved and how they really saw themselves. My fiancée, Jenna, was disappointed to see companies that haven’t done anything to help gay rights or even contributed to the undeniably large amount of poverty in the community now “going rainbow” for gay rights. I found myself about to cry thinking of the friend I had who was a lesbian transwoman and killed herself a few years ago. She would have loved to have been alive to see this day. The last thing she said to me was that no one would ever love her. I wondered what she’d be doing today, if she would have found love like me. I like to think she would have.
Jenna and I wound up doing pretty much the opposite of what I imagined we’d do: we went for a walk in the woods. We tried to find humor in the fact that neither of us had been to a gay pride parade in years because we don’t like crowds. I laughed that we both seem to want a traditional wedding. We discussed possible cake flavors. Why does our desire for a traditional wedding still feel non-traditional, even to us? Can you still wear white at a Pink wedding?