If I'm to believe Lifetime television (and I never doubt it,) we are in the midst of wedding season in America. Every episode of "Say Yes to the Dress," "Bridezillas," or "Platinum Weddings" shows a parade of more brides than I've ever seen in real life, and I normally enjoy watching the freak show of resigned grooms, passive aggressive mothers, and envious bridesmaids with my partner. We cringe at the slutty high fashion allowed in modern wedding dresses, and feel smug and morally superior as women spend enough money to feed a third world village for a year on a dress they will wear once. Those are the good days, when, as Elvis Costello put it, we "used to be disgusted, but now (we) try to be amused."
On bad days, we wonder if there is a gay equivalent of the Weather Underground or Black Panthers. We wonder how much longer we need to feel like second class citizens before ... what? We leave and go to Ireland, where my dual citizenship might get my partner an EU passport? Move to Canada? Massachusetts? Post an angry status update on Facebook?
It's mostly the last choice for us. When we're upset and frustrated, we do our best to fight for the reinstatement of the right to marry which was taken away by Prop 8 here in California. We also try to not let it ruin our lives, the notion of the rights of a minority being taken away by the votes of a majority. We avoid the temptation to call his Mormon relatives or my Catholic relatives and scream at them for their silence in the face of our former religions' war against us. Often we turn to sugar. At times we allow ourselves to laugh or cry at the injustice of it all, and the supposed threat our boring, five year long domestic life poses to Society at Large. When friended on Facebook by people from our past, we look to see whether or not those people from grammar school or the youth group at church are still practicing. Neither one of us has the stomach or temperament to be the token gay friend of a Tea Bagger. To us, our religions of origin are the ones who drew the line in the sand, and we see the divisions very clearly between Us and Them these days.
But of all the choices we've made in the face of the assault on our right to marry, one choice has been more difficult than others. We have chosen not to attend the weddings of our own friends and family, until such time as marriage is a right available to all.
This 4th of July weekend, a dear cousin of mine is seeing her firstborn son married in Chicago. My sisters will be in town, one of whom has the 4th as her birthday, and we thought Maureen's son's wedding was a great chance to get together and have fun. But as the time got closer and closer for my partner Stephen and me to make plane and hotel reservations, I realized that I was having a very complex set of reactions to the whole idea of the trip.Luckily, I am not close to Maureen's son, so I don't have to make this decision clouded by emotion. I don't have an attachment to the groom, haven't seen him since he was a very young man, and my absence or presence would not affect him or his new bride in any way. Basically, my sisters and I were going to use the wedding as an excuse to get together and party. But my presence with my partner at a Catholic wedding seemed too volatile a situation to engage. Like a particularly intense episode of "Say Yes to the Dress," it could go either way, and I didn't want to be the cousin who decided that this particular wedding ceremony was the place for me to start my career as a gay marriage rights' Angela Davis. I'm not sure if they still do the "if anyone here present has any reason why this marriage should not take place.." bit at weddings, but I don't know that I'm on a high enough dose of Cymbalta to miss the chance for some political theater. I am an out of work actor, after all.
Although this choice is a relatively easy one, given the lack of intense emotional involvement with the bride and groom, I must gird my loins for future decisions. What if it is one of my six nieces and nephews who decides to marry? Or what of my dear friends here in L.A., who are newly engaged? Will I have the nerve to turn down an invitation from them? I don't know. But wouldn't it be nice if the people who have the rights made a stand for those of us without them? I have family members and old friends who allow their boys to be Boy Scouts, and I wonder if they even thought twice about a group which discriminates against gay people being the right place for their kids. There's something called heterosexual privilege, and I only wish more people I knew who had it would question it from time to time.
I'm fairly certain I won't start any sort of underground group of radical LGBT guerrillas who bomb wedding chapels or rip up slutty wedding gowns. I think I can move forward with my own life, enjoying what I have and doing my best to fight to get what I don't have.
But I don't feel like going to your party. Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today, I'm afraid.