Monday, June 27, 2011

New York legalized gay marriage and it feels personal

I understand that despite the legality of same-sex marriage within a state, the Defense of Marriage Act still causes all sorts of serious problems for gay couples who wish to marry and want the full gamut of rights equivalent to those granted to their straight counterparts. This is a major issue and a battle that still needs to be won in the fight for equality. However, that aside, I must say that I feel extremely elated and emotional about the passage of the marriage equality bill in New York this past weekend. I was actually surprised at how much it has touched me.

For all of my adult life, I felt very open to the idea of falling in love with a man or a woman. However, since I had only had relationships with men, I assumed that although I was open and had no issue with the idea of lesbianism, that I was, in fact, straight. Then, I fell in love with a woman. It was a shock to me and I really was surprised at the feelings I was having. Those feelings turned into a serious relationship and I realized that I was, in fact, truly bisexual - but even that term didn't make much sense to me (seeming so definitive). What I have preferred to call myself is "open." However, that doesn't change the fact that I am attracted to both men and women, as is summarized in the definition of bisexuality

Having been in a same-sex relationship for a few years, I had plenty of time to experience prejudices and the repercussions thereof - both those that were mild (those actions that people probably didn't even realize they were doing) and ones a bit more intense. There was the incessant staring and comments from strangers (often sexual and lacking any respect). There was the push-back and fear from some people close to me. There was the angry man who spoke hateful slurs and tried to physically hurt my then-girlfriend. There was the all-too-common, "Are you two sisters?" question when we would hold hands in public. There was the persistent exposure to negative proclamations in the media or from strangers, such as: homosexuality is an illness, homosexuals are going to hell, homosexuality is disgusting, and so on (nothing like making one feel rejected).

There was not the usual, "Do you think a proposal will happen soon?!" type of excited questions that you get from fellow women when you are in a heterosexual relationship, which I happen to love so much (since I'm a big romantic). There is, however, the fear of not being accepted everywhere you go. There is the ever-present anxiety of, "Wow, despite all of this, we must actually have it really good since we live in New York City. What will it be like if we wanted to move elsewhere someday?" Also, there's the need for acceptance and consideration that if we ever wanted to have a family, prejudice against our innocent children would be something we would have to prepare for. And I could honestly go on, ad infinitum.

Although dealing with these difficulties is not something I would actively choose, I am not one to shy away from adversity at the expense of love. Love is what life is about; Pure and simple, it's about loving others. I get teary-eyed when I think about how I had to justify, explain, or deal with barriers and prejudice because of the fact that I had fallen in love with a woman. I have a hard time accepting that not everyone believes and sees people as spirits within something called a body and that we are not our bodies. I fall in love with people, not their genitals, and I am saddened that this is difficult for some to comprehend. I also am confounded at how those who worship Jesus (who preached solely in love's favor) or other spiritual leaders can justify the belief that those enlightened beings would be unloving or punishing towards anyone.

Thankfully, I have felt for a while that there has been a growing shift in public opinion towards homosexuality. Although we have a long way to go, as horrors such as children committing suicide over it are still occurring (which really says something don't you think?), I feel like things are continuing to change, particularly with the passage of the marriage equality bill in New York, the third most populated state in the U.S. The fact that my home state is now acknowledging my right to marry whomever I love makes me feel more accepted, free, and so very grateful. Maybe now, if I ever fall in love with a woman again, people will be more likely to ask me if there's a proposal in the works. Thank you, New York, and to those of you out there who understand that the power of love is beyond the scope of a person's gender.


  1. Beautiful am simply moved.

  2. This is written straight from the heart...well done carly

  3. this is amazing xo julie