Why I Say Partner Instead

Have you noticed that a lot of times when I refer to my boyfriend, I say partner? I’ve been doing that a lot more since I’ve moved to this country because it’s what everybody else does. At first, when people told me anything about their “partner” I just assumed that they were either gay or lesbian. In my head, I was thinking “Wow, there sure are a lot of gay people here.” Then they’d actually mean someone of the opposite gender. For some reason, I started doing the same thing.

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You see, I come from a place where people can absolutely fall in love with you, love everything about you, but when it comes to your romantic relationship, you say that you’re with someone of the same sex and then all of a sudden they hate you. You know, forget the fact that you’ve single-handedly saved a bus full of drowning children or dogs, they’ll still hate your guts. All the good stuff they loved about you is all now forgotten. (If you’re lucky enough, you’ll get lectured how their religion is the only “right” religion and everybody’s supposed to live the same way they do.)

Telling people I have a partner here is basically not putting an emphasis on who I’m with. It doesn’t mean that I am ashamed of who I am, because I’m not. It’s just habit. I usually don’t have to build on that unless someone asks or if I mention it. Then, it’s no big deal. The great thing about living here is that most people don’t give a damn. I like to think it’s because people here just aren’t that religious or they’ve gotten past the part where you’re supposed to hate other people based on the fact they’re in a loving, happy relationship with someone of the same sex.

I still don’t really understand why people who are against marriage equality are so against it when it’s really not something that affects them directly. (As I say, it’s a non-issue and not worth making a huge deal about.) But, of course, and yet again,  I am drifting to some other topic…

Partner has become habit. People who know me totally get it and it allows me to talk really openly in front of groups of people who get their feelings hurt by marriage equality. But, there’s only so much shielding from their feelings I’ll do too. People change. Society changes. If you’re not ready to adapt to a changing society, then you need to lock yourself up in a room and watch The Andy Griffith Show reruns or something and keep voting for people who are scared of happy people.

Um, hopefully, that explains it. It’s just habit now. It doesn’t really emphasise that my relationship is unequal or inadequate in any way because it’s not. I’d like to think that people, as a whole, will come to accept that gay people exist and they can lead happy lives together, one day. Or my preference is that they just don’t really care. That’s my favorite. 🙂 (It’s what I wanted when I came out to my family.)

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