We are inundated daily with stories of intolerance and hatred toward the LGBTQ community. Usually these stories emanate from the USA as our brothers and sisters struggle with equality in the cumbersome USA legal and political systems. We’re also hearing alarming stories coming from Africa where it is still okay to be condemned to death for love.
I shake my head and count my lucky stars daily that my father insisted upon immigrating to Canada. Not that it’s absolutely perfect here, but based on the media stories that abound, it’s one of the best places on Earth to be gay.
In my own life, I’ve found people either don’t care or are enthusiastic supporters. I suppose those that are not in favour of my “lifestyle choice” simply shrink into the darkness and don’t express themselves. That works for me.
Acceptance has come in a variety of ways. Some subtle, others not. Bill’s daughter is our own personal Pride parade. She would shout her love and support from the mountain tops if she could. Bill’s son, however, has been less than forthcoming with his support. He has told us that he will not be attending our wedding because, while he is “okay” with our relationship, he does not want to “witness” it. I’m not sure where this comes from because he gets along very well with Bill and I. While he doesn’t want to publicly declare his support, he does display acceptance in other ways, such as calling up and asking me “what are you and your hubby doing today?” and during a photo session at Bill’s recent retirement, he said, “it’s time for the lovers to pose now”. Small measures of acceptance are just as important.
My mother has been struggling with the concept as well. She has never met Bill even though she only lives an hour away. That is her choice. Bill and I have been in our relationship for over five years and only now my Mom is asking about him in small ways like “what’s he going to do now that he is retired”? I suppose that is also a tiny measure of acceptance.
Other forms of acceptance come when we’re in social settings. The other evening, at a cast party for one of Bill’s community theatre productions, a hetero guy came up to me while Bill was performing at the karaoke and said: “that’s your future husband up there”. Yes, indeed. Other straight friends commonly refer to him as my “hubby” and others, more correctly, “my finance”. We get total acceptance in that community.
Recently I ran into another high school parent in the grocery store. She chatted away about her daughter’s impending graduation when Bill walked up beside us. I introduced him as my fiancé and without skipping a beat, she inquired: “haven’t I seen you on stage”? Well, yes, he was recently starring in a local production of “Man of La Mancha”. We eventually ended our chat with her hearty congratulations for our soon-to-be wedding.
I have to admit that occasionally, a shadow crosses my mind as I allow myself to feel like a minority which, due to “programming”, implies “less than”. I immediately reject the thought because we are all Earthlings and equal regardless of our sexual orientation, skin colour or eye shape. I suspect those errant thoughts come from the media inundation and hopefully once there is acceptance for all, we can all feel safe and happy.
Coming out has been the most liberating experience for me and "everyday" acceptance is the crowning touch to happiness . . .