How’s Your Who?

I wrote back in November that straight people need a word. I confirmed that again at a recent meeting with a bunch of bikers.

Several of them had heard that my spouse has had a relapse of his illness. Out of concern, some people asked me…

…”how is your, um, friend?”
…”how is your, you know… (mumble mumble)”
…”I saw what you wrote on (social media). How is he?” (okay, close enough)

But no one asked either “how is your…” husband, spouse, or even partner. They still don’t want to come close to recognizing same-sex marriage.

A few who know his name asked me how he was by name. But most just avoided recognizing my marital status.

I didn’t correct them, but I answered each time, “my husband’s condition is stable, but he has a long way to go toward recovery.” Yes, I used the word “husband” because I had enough of the avoidance, so I just said it — the word husband — to make a point. After all, while I prefer the word “spouse,” that is not the usual terminology that most married couples use, so in this case, I used that word on purpose.

Most folks just listened, then wished him and me well and our conversation moved on.

Later during the meeting, I was making a short presentation. Before I began, the leader called on me to come to the front of the room, and as he was waiting for me to come forward, he said, “how is your … (mumble mumble).”

Damn… my husband is not a mumble-mumble.

So what I said when I had the attention of the group was, “thanks to those of you who have asked about my husband’s condition.” I then gave a short statement about his condition. “We both appreciate your concern. Thank you.” Then I spoke about what I was going to talk about.

There was no reaction or response from anyone in the room. Most had already read about our marriage in the organization’s newsletter.

Okay, we’re coming along. I am adjusting to using the word “husband” while everyone else (who are all straight) are adjusting to the fact that one of their male leaders has a husband.

This process takes a lot of socialization. It will work out over time.

Life is short: when you’re out, you’re out. And when you’re a married, you’re married.