Pride Month 2017 looks like it’s going out on a good note. With 393 for, 226 against, and four in abstention, Germany’s Parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage!
Growing up, I never thought much about marriage. I don’t recall having any crushes on anyone in elementary or middle school (though I’ve got pretty huge gaps in my memory the further back in time I think about). In high school, I dated one girl. She stands out in ways that my other memories do not for three reasons: we were supposed to go to junior prom together (I think that was the event) and that fell apart, her name was a variation on mon cherie, and my parents did not care for her much. During the relatively short time we dated, I think we kissed a few times, and nothing more. I never imagined myself with her, or any other woman. In fact, I wasn’t terribly interested in dating her. Or any woman. I was playing the do-it-for-survival hetero show. But that’s the show we gay people often put on so that we doing get harassed, discriminated against, evicted, abused, beaten, disowned, or killed by fragile heterosexuals who feel the need to violently reinforce gender boundaries.
This would have been back in 1992-1993, and I was juuuuuuuust starting to explore chat rooms on America Online (gods! That annoying dial-up sound!), and learn what I was. I knew no gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, intersex, or pansexual people. Hell, I didn’t have the language to describe who I was. I knew I was looking at guys around my age (and slightly older, such as some of the senior class boys at my school). I knew I felt certain physiological stirrings when I stared at one of them for too long. Of course staring happened rarely bc even though I didn’t yet know I was gay, I knew even then that it’s “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” (may that homophobic, heterosexist phrase die a fiery death). I couldn’t face the almost certain humiliation and torment from my peers that would result if I was seen staring at a guy. And if it got back to my parents? I’d already been caught trying to shoplift a PlayGIRL (a companion adult magazine to Playboy, that features men) by my mother and that was a horrifying experience for me. So I didn’t want anyone to even suspect that I was different. So I didn’t even think about having a boyfriend, didn’t have any clue what sex was (hetero or homo), and certainly had no thoughts on marriage other than the standard “this is what you do when you grow up”. But in my head, there was no image of the person I thought I’d marry. No ideal. No placeholder. Nothing. It was a formless, shapeless void.
Of course, even after I came out of the closet to the world (which took a few years), I still never thought about marrying anyone. By this time (my early 20s), though still a pretty green gay, I knew enough to know that gay people were the spawn of Satan*, we were responsible for AIDS**, we were immoral monsters***, and our existence (an affront to god) threatened the fabric of society****. I also knew that gay people didn’t get married. We weren’t allowed to. I could never dream of something that was forbidden to me. Too young to yet articulate my thoughts on marriage rights, I pretty much accepted that my lot in life was to never be partnered to someone.
Then came the historic ruling in Massachusetts, when same-sex marriage first became legal in the United States. I vaguely recall hearing about this at the time (I paid virtually no attention to the news back then), but still, that was some other state. I lived in Florida, and down here I thought, “we’ll see legalized weed before legal same-sex marriage” (I’d have lost that bet). So imagine my surprise when the US Supreme Court took up the issue of marriage equality in 2015. Imagine my further surprise when I awoke on June 26, 2015 to learn that same-sex marriage (and I’m getting goosebumps just typing this) was legal in all 50 states in the US. I was elated. I remember wondering where and when further pro-marriage equality rulings might occur. Today, Taiwan added their name to the list of countries that voted in favor of broadening the legal definition of marriage. Their highest court has ruled that Taiwan’s Civil Code (which define marriage as between a man and a woman) is unconstitutional: