Today I can’t stop crying, because it is the first day of legal same-sex marriage in my home state of Pennsylvania. This is something I have long looked forward to, and I am so happy to see it finally here. But not all my tears are of joy.
Why I am crying:
First of all, I cry because my own marriage is now truly validated. I am legally married, because I married a man. But she is now turning into my wife, and I worried what this meant for the future of my marriage, legally speaking. While I had talked to a lawyer about this previously and found that I should be OK, this really gives me a sense of relief that my marriage can continue normally, legally speaking.
Second of all, and more importantly, I cry because of all of my friends who have been partnered for so long, to their true loves, can finally now cement their relationships legally. Or if they have already done so in other states, they are now legally recognized here.
But most importantly, I cry because I am sad for all of those who have not been able to reap these benefits. For those in the past who suffered from the lack of support. I am sad that it has taken us this long.
I will finally tell this story:
When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was in the Castro District at my friends’ BBQ on Valentine’s Day (yes, in SF, you have your BBQs in winter). During this party, I managed to slice off a very large section of my thumb (skin, not bone), and it wouldn’t stop bleeding. Worried that I might have cut too deep and need stitches, I went to the nearest ER.
What I didn’t know: Valentine’s Day in the Castro District is apparently gay-bashing day. I found out while sitting in that ER for hours from listening around that violence on gays in the Castro District rises substantially on Valentine’s Day. I don’t have any statistical proof to back this up, this is anecdotal from what I could hear on that day, but still, I realized I was sitting amongst the battered with my not very serious thumb.
After I’d been there a few hours, there was a wail. A tenor voice floated out from the ER rooms, “But, WHY CAN I NOT SEE HIM? I WANT TO SEE MY HUSBAND!” Cops were in there trying to talk to him about it, with words such as, “Sir, we can’t take you to see your friend at this time, but can you please tell us what the shooter looked like?” Every time the cops mentioned “your friend”, the man got more and more fervent about trying to see his “husband”.
It was clear to me that this was the problem, the man’s husband was shot dead. The cops were unable, legally, to not only not take the man to his husband, but they also couldn’t even inform him of such. The man was out of his wits trying to find out what happened, find out why these cops wouldn’t admit his relationship, and probably had a healthy dose of denial about the situation because… wouldn’t you?
It was awful to listen to. After about 20 minutes of that, I decided that my thumb (the bleeding had stopped by this point) was clearly not as much of an emergency as the others in this waiting room and I requested a band-aid from the desk and left.
I cry today, because I never ever want that situation to happen again. Tears of joy that we are closer to it, but tears of sadness that it happened, and can still happen in other places.