Wednesday, May 21, 2008

friendliness is next to..

this morning i was talking with a casual friend, who needed to change when we were going to meet. it also could have impacted min, and so he said, 'is your friend going to be ok with that?'

since we were talking on the phone, and his end was having a love affair with static, it wasn't until a few seconds later that i realized he said friend...not min. not partner, girlfriend, sweet baboo...friend.

i've known this guy for a couple of months. i have talked about min, and referred to her as my partner, several times. he knows that we live together, have been together for quite some time. he and i haven't discussed the nature of the universe, what makes us laugh, and by no means are we BFF, but we've shared a fair bit of our worlds and have pretended to race cars.

so it is no mistake for him to call her my friend. he is doing it intentionally. from the aforementioned conversations, i know that he has a conservative religious background (and perhaps foreground), which as many of you know, is the perfect breeding ground for homophobia.

which means, in our politically correct times, that if you think being gay is tantamount to terrorism (albeit some sort of subversive sexual terrorism), but still have gay couples in your life, you will refer to them as being friends. maybe even "special little friends".

as you might guess, this is not the first time this has happened. i've gotten very, very used to it, from medical workers to coworkers to family members. but apparently, today is the first time it really pissed me off. maybe it's because i just moved from california in time to miss out on marriage equality. maybe it's because yesterday, when another friend discovered that my 12 year anniversary with min was just around the corner (25th), she practically squealed and hugged me. or maybe it's because i've gotten used to mildly liking this guy, but now i know he's bigoted, either by choice or ignorance.

or maybe i'm just PMSing. you know, girls do that, and that certainly is a good cop-out for anyone wanting to dismiss this rant. i know it's a rant, but so what? i pay my taxes. i work 5 days a week. i make sure my pets get their medicine. i vote. i read. i exercise. i work at my relationships. i help my parents. i deserve the same respect as anyone else. that means, unless you are:

- a complete stranger
- my extremely-old-and-last-surviving-grandparent

you should use the terms i designate, because that's what respectful communication is all about. if you happen to call The Woman You Live With your wife, then that's what i'll call her, too. if you call her your partner, mate, significant other, girlfriend -- that's what i'll call her. if you call her your sweet baboo, i will laugh, but if you're serious, then i will probably call her 'the baboo' and you will laugh. and i would expect you to do the same for me. anything else is being an asshole.

i mean, think about it. i say partner, you say figment of my imagination. you're denying my reality. you're taking my word and asking me to pretend it means something else. you're trying to make me in your image, and i'm sorry, but only god gets to do that. and don't tell me you're god's megaphone. god speaks to everyone, and i can hear just fine.*

*as n approaches infinity, some corrections may be applied


cvc said...

great post. hope you set him straight (and i don't mean that facetiously).

heather said...

thanks cecile. i didn't then, but will next time. i'm working the whole delayed reaction thing. :-p

Capricorn Cringe said...

He's probably being a tool, but ... I might make the same mistake. If I didn't know the term you preferred, I would probably say "friend" to cover all the bases without being offensive. On the other hand, I try to pay attention to the terms people use, so that I don't say something stupid.

Or did I just say something stupid? Happy anniversary, by the way :)

heather said...

cc - i'd used the term 'partner' with him already, a few times. he could have just made a mistake -- time will tell.

thanks for the happy anniversary wishes! having a good weekend, perhaps i'll post bout it soon.