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Something from the Prop 8 trial today triggered a recent memory. One of the Plaintiffs stated the difficulties of having to have people understand what your partner means to you, especially in some casual encounters, like saving a seat for them on a plane, or at a theater.

When Chris and I were headed out to San Diego last month we were some of the last to board the second flight headed to California. Our connection had come in a little late and the flight out was three terminals away.

We already had our boarding passes with our seats together. We got to nearly the back of the plane and there in the three-seat row were two people. Some guy who was sitting next to the window and some sheepish looking woman.

At first she didn't acknowledge us. He didn't even look our way. As I fumbled with the boarding passes and started to ask out loud in my usual I'm-getting-frustrated way about that there should be two seats she took about a minute and then finally told us, "Oh, I thought it would be alright to sit here, my seat is just up there."

She pointed to the middle seat three aisles ahead with no intention to get up and go to it.

Again after another pause, she finally said, "I just wanted to sit here with my husband, that's OK, right?"

No, it's not OK. He's not even in his correct seat, which is the aisle. Chris can tell I'm getting pissed and I really want to tell her to move.

Heck, what I really want to tell her, was "I want to sit next to my husband, too!"

Chris just gives a look and heads towards the seat a few aisles ahead. I guess it didn't really make sense to go into the whole thing, having to explain that we're a couple, and we are traveling together, and at least we had the boarding passes for where we wanted to be. No, the flight was finishing boarding and we just wanted to get on with our trip, so we let it be.

I never spoke to the woman. I think she tried to say a meager "thanks", but as soon as I could turn on the iPod and leave her behind, the better. She didn't even really talk to her husband from what I can remember.

Still, it's that difficulty with explaining your relationship. If I was married to a woman, people would just suspect the woman with me would be my wife, or at least my girlfriend. It takes more effort to describe my relationship to Chris, and it's one that I don't always want to go into the full story about with just anyone.

I wish it was simpler. Sometimes when someone asks, looking at my ring, if I'm married, I say yes. Then if they start asking more, then it's the though, am I coy? Do I just say it? Do I go into the whole California marriage thing? Why can't this be easier?

I love the whole "I'm married in selected states" thing, but having to explain it gets tiresome. You never feel like yours is a relationship equal to those that straight folks can jump into so easily, so carelessly. And when they come down the aisle in some plane, you think, well, they could be a couple. Us? I don't know what they think.

Sure, violence and more obvious discrimination like firing or in refusal of service is one thing, but just that little thing of being considered unworthy of an institution, well that's a deep discrimination that really gets to feeling a resentment and being labeled less than worthy. Boy did Prop 8 do that in spades.

Given that a similar scenario came up when one of the plaintiff was asked about the equality of their relationship, they way they feel discriminated against, or at least find things more difficult by the simple act of having marriage denied them, well it just makes me that much more interested in how this case is going to go.

And if you see the two of us coming, yes, I do ant to sit next to my husband, and not the back of the bus thank you.

not an issue

Date: 2010-01-12 07:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] genelandry.livejournal.com
Kelly and I don't really have those moments of awkwardness anymore, mostly because 1) we're old and 2) we've been together so long. Our relationship has been around long enough that, for us, its not a topic that's up for debate nor is it something that is negotiable on anyone else's terms. We refer to each other as 'husbands,' and our straight friends do as well.

Being old really is the key though. I really don't give two rips what anyone thinks about me or my lurid relationship with my smoking hot hubby. If I've got a boarding pass with adjoining seats, then that bitch needs to move her ass or check in earlier. Period. (Also, I would never consider asking someone else to abandon their seat in our favor. That's just rude.)

Congrats on the wedding btw. That's great for you! WOOT!

Re: not an issue

Date: 2010-01-13 05:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eggwards.livejournal.com
Maybe it's that things are still a little new to me. Still, we've only been married a little over a year, but we've been together for 6 years now. Who knows.

I think a big part of it is just not caring what others think, and unfortunately that's never been an easy thing for me.

Date: 2010-01-12 12:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hot4latin.livejournal.com
No explanation necessary. Whether you want to sit next to your husband or you want to sit in the window seat. Your seat is your seat. It's people like her that take advantage of nice guys like you - gay or not. She should have been called on it. Let the Flight Attendant handle the ugly part.

Date: 2010-01-12 04:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hugh-mannity.livejournal.com
This.

It doesn't matter who your traveling companion is, those were your seats and you should have been able to sit in them.

Date: 2010-01-13 05:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eggwards.livejournal.com
Yeah, in the end it wan't that big of an issue, but still, we would have been in the right if we wanted to make an issue of it. Just no sense having an even grumpier guy sitting next to the two of us, I guess.

We ARE Married, This is my Husband

Date: 2010-01-12 06:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cruisebear.livejournal.com
I would have told her "We are Married too and this is my Husband. Many time people do it out of an old routine like her and her husband.

Re: We ARE Married, This is my Husband

Date: 2010-01-13 05:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eggwards.livejournal.com
Yeah, i wan't sure in that moment if I wanted to push the issue or not, especially as we were cutting boarding pretty close. I just wonder why they didn't get seats together as well?

Date: 2010-01-12 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emsbear.livejournal.com
I guess I don't see too much of that type of interaction since same sex marriage is legal and accepted here in the Great White North.

My husband and I will be traveling to Orlando for a MUCH delayed vacation to Disney. I used to just say that he was my "friend" or "companion" but after 17 years together I felt he deserved more than that so now I openly call him my "partner" or "spouse". I don't usually call him my "husband" outside of Canada because I know that some people still have an issue with that term. Sometimes baby steps are needed to get people to accept it.

I know that this time when we go, we will both be wearing the Happy Anniversary buttons and showing everyone that we are a couple.

Date: 2010-01-13 05:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eggwards.livejournal.com
Yeah, when it's still a very odd thing to have married men here, there is a difference in perception, not only from others, but I think in my perception of our relationship as well. There's always going to be some outsider status, almost outlaw kind of thing until there is true marriage equality here.

I have called Chris husband at different times, and that's the way I feel about him, but it still seems like we aren't supposed to use that.

i hope the trip to disney is a lot of fun!

Date: 2010-01-13 06:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dorisduke.livejournal.com
same happened to us leaving france. I said no we had these seats and my husband and I want to sit where we paid to sit. I then called the flight attendant and let him take it from there and we sat where we planned. I care not if they were displeased. But more so to a point, I never have a hard time expressing our relationship. I carry our marriage certificate if challenged on the matter.

Date: 2010-01-13 11:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cajuncountry.livejournal.com
Very interesting. But I wish you wouldn't have felt that it would have been "arguing" by just mentioning that he was your husband. She very well could have understood instantly and moved just as easily.

Please don't hesitate again. Your relationship is just as important to you as anyone else's is to themselves, recognized or not.

Date: 2010-01-16 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nomadvak.livejournal.com
I have said that, flat out, to some asshole on a plane before. It's liberating. The needle scratches across the record, and they have no recourse.

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