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Delia and I have been together since 2002. We’ve wanted to get/be married for seven or eight of those years. But we also wanted to wait until we had money to have all of our family there, and for Delia to be able to have as much of the bridal experience as she might want.
Having that kind of wedding requires 1) money and 2) family to be knowledgeable and supportive enough to be able to celebrate with us instead of coming to our wedding with distracting and unpleasant amounts of confusion, discomfort and judgment. We still don’t have enough of 1 and 2 to be able to pull off and actually ENJOY that kind of an event, especially since Delia’s family lives halfway across the country and some even farther than that and they haven’t seen her since she transitioned (it requires some people a lot of time to get used to someone they knew their whole life and even raised themselves as a boy turning out to not be a boy).
There are things that mean way more to me than being “married”, or signify a lifetime commitment much more profoundly to me than a ceremony and/or “marriage”: owning and operating (a) business(es) together, as Delia and I have for over a decade, or buying a house and making a home with a person or persons (as I did with my ex).
Strangely enough, even though I felt very solid in Delia’s and my partnership, this weird thing started happening where I’d see my naked, ringless finger and suddenly panic that I’d lost my wedding ring. SUPER funny since wedding rings are another thing I was never into (until I got engaged the first time and suddenly had flocks of women looking at my hand like it was the most important thing EVER . . . it was weird, but some part of my brain must have caught that disease in a way). So yeah. I felt like something was missing . . . that I’d forgotten or misplaced something important.
We eventually realized we couldn’t wait for everything external to be perfect, and we wanted to get the same tax benefits as straight married people instead of paying extra the way unmarried people and those with state-recognized same-“sex” domestic partnerships or other as-yet-unaccepted arrangements have.
Basically, we had to get married while Delia still had an “M” on her drivers license so we can have all of the rights and benefits that were then (and in many cases are still) only provided to hetero spouses. We had to get married so Delia could proceed to change that letter on her drivers license to an “F” and hope to be treated by the police and others as the woman she is without closing the tax loophole on our queer marriage. So far in our country this has worked to grandfather in a modicum of straight benefits/privileges to people when one of them officially transitions after the marriage — it has gone unchallenged as far as I know.
It may not sound romantic, but paying thousands of extra dollars in federal taxes every year when you already have tens of thousands of dollars of debt isn’t super fucking romantic either. Neither is having people question your identity and think about your genitals whenever you have to show them your identification.
As you may have already guessed, I find true partnerships much more profound than symbolic romantic bonds and white veils and shit. I’ve been much more brainwashed by capitalism and dude-designated cultural ideals of success than I have romance and chick-designated cultural ideals, so for me being bonded by money, business and property are the REALLY meaningful and intense things. Of course, that’s really what marriage is about anyway, but most people have shrouded that in so much tulle and crying flower-girls that it’s not really egalitarian and the profit motive is all hidden in shame and diamond illusions.
WE GOT MARRIED A FEW YEARS AGO!!!
And it actually was really romantic! Stress-free, with a respected judge who gets it and a couple of our best friends: two women who’ve also been together for more than a decade and are also our wise and patient elders. Just the five of us, doing what was important for just the two of us, with only support and love around us.
It’s also pretty fucking cool and powerful to be at a wedding with only women present.
And with that, I magically stopped getting anxiety attacks about having lost my nonexistent wedding ring. Clearly I have bought into SOME “romantic” bride-magazine symbolism, for that relief to have happened (but without an actual ring on my finger or hers).
We kept it a secret for a long time, not telling even our supportive family members and friends, hoping the time and resources and progress would allow us to tell them with invitations to a party or other ceremony of some kind where they could celebrate with us and not feel left out or excluded. Hoping we could even have TWO ceremonies – a family-friendly one, and a debauched, decadent, porn-site wedding we could share and commemorate with you on our sites!
Eventually we started telling people. Because we want them to know. Because they love us and were worried wondering why (they thought) we HADN’T gotten married yet. Because some thought/think all the gay marriage horrors and hoopla are relevant and think whether we do or don’t depends on all of that and were asking tiring questions. Because most of us have been trained to think gender prescribes sexuality, so now that they see Delia as the woman she is, they assume SHE WILL NEED A MAN, and TRIXIE WILL NEED A MAN, because now THERE IS NO MAN (none of which are true or problematic in the ways they think).
We wanted to tell people because regardless of how we two people feel about our romance and marriage — whether we are or aren’t (in our hearts and minds and on paper), marriage really is a lot about how other people perceive us. Like gender, for better or worse, the present reality is that marriage (and the words “man” and “woman”) still have HUGE meaning to the majority of people in our communities, our country, our governments and even the world. And we want people to recognize as closely as they possibly can what we mean to each other. We are not just pals, we are not “just” / business partners or “girlfriends” (though it’s lamentable that the words “friends” and “girlfriends” don’t carry more weight and meaning and room for a range of possible commitments and ways of relating to each other).
I still love the word partner — always have, and it will continue to mean more to me *personally* than “spouse” — but I also want people we know and meet in the world to recognize what Delia and I have — what we mean to each other and how we relate to the world — is at least as big and real and ROMANTIC and legal and COMMITTED and purposeful as whatever they think of as marriage. Being “really” married and telling people so helps. And every time I tell people Delia is my wife it helps challenge and even break down some old, limiting paradigms. Plus, I like having a wife! And I still kind of subscribe to a lot of old BS myself so it makes me feel like a fucking KING being able to brag that SHE MARRIED ME!! She’s ****MINE****, mwahahahahaha!!! It’s a fucked-up thing for a feminist to feel, but it’s true. I feel successful and powerful because a rare and beautiful woman loves me and cooks for me and we belong to each other on paper. WHO WOULDN’T?
Another huge reason we started telling people we’re married (and want YOU to know that we’re married) is that we took our open relationship from mostly-theory to practice and, as you know, have been having sex and romantic friendships with other people in addition to each other. Since most people a) don’t think relationships between women are as important as relationships where women are bound to men, and b) don’t think relationships are real if they aren’t monogamous, letting people know we are married removes or at least challenges some of those diminishing assumptions.
Yes, we may fuck and/or date and/or love other people, but we are only married to each other. That is as important for us to know as it is for other people. It’s also a boundary that I really need to be able to retreat behind emotionally.
Delia is my home.
Last month I wandered into our backyard and got a surprise: these fragrant white roses we didn’t know were there, climbing high above a fence into sunshine and dripping down in a shady corner. I was so excited to show them to Delia — to share their beauty and to triumph together (they would never have made that showing without her work taming the blackberry jungle in the yard and her work giving us money to pay for help doing that). This is not really our house and cabin and yard (we actually rent it from her ex-wife who owns it), but the “discovery” of these roses are one of those quiet, intense, beautiful reminders of what marriage and happiness and love and peace and safety and home and Delia mean to me:
She is the one I want to plant things with.
She is the one I want to be with every week, season and year to witness the trees and plants growing and changing over the years.
She is the one I want to find new things with.
She is the one I want to work with in a garden.
I can’t imagine a home without her.
I can’t imagine the joy of a frog or an owl hooting in the middle of the night or being surprised that I love some magically-appearing roses this much or the smell of damp wormy soil without wanting to immediately share those joys with her.
She is the one I want to hear saying, “COME LOOK AT THIS, HONEY!” and be the one I say it to for the rest of my life. Even if it’s some music video on youtube I totally don’t want to watch and vice versa. Know what I mean?
That’s not all of the stuff, but it’s a glimmer. We’ve been meaning to announce this for a long time . . . it’s kind of like a post-dated soft-launch or something. Need to reword a lot of stuff on our site tours still, but now you know! And just as I posted this she came out to the cabin and said “you should see the moon out here . . . it’s pretty cool.” 😀