When I Call Him My Husband

I have mentioned before that I prefer to call the man I married my spouse, as does he. We exchange email throughout the day, and always close with, “I love you, Spouse!” I refer to him on this blog by that term, too.

However, there are places and times when referring to him as my husband is an important or strategic choice of wording. Here are some examples:

1. Healthcare providers

In the past when advocating for my spouse’s healthcare needs, sometimes I have had to fax the provider a HIPAA release form, or even a copy of our Power of Attorney, to show them that I am authorized to receive information about his health situation, test results, or other medical information.

However, I learned after we married that the HIPAA barriers to advocacy — that is, provisions of U.S. Law that prohibit healthcare providers from sharing medical information with anyone without explicit consent — go away when you refer to your spouse as your husband. There is something about a reference to a husband (or wife) that releases the healthcare provider from self-imposed restrictions.

I never knew that, but I asked several of my siblings about it, and they all said that they never had a problem discussing medical information about their respective husbands or wives with providers. They never knew it was a problem.

A case in point: yesterday I was making an appointment for my spouse with a new healthcare provider, and the receptionist at first questioned why I was making the appointment and not the patient. I explained that I have to drive him to the doctor’s office, so my schedule governs selecting the appointment time so I can fit it in with my work schedule.

The receptionist then said, “we still need to have the patient make the appointment.” To which I said, “look, he’s my husband. He isn’t well and he asked me to handle this matter for him.”

The response was unexpected, “oh, okay, he’s your husband. Is an appointment at [time] on [date] okay?”

… no questions, no barriers, no drama. Just what I needed. And all because I called him my husband.

2. In public testimony

Twice in the last month, I briefly testified before our County Council and also before our Planning Board about different matters. But in each case, it involved a bit of a review about land titling issues. Each time, I referred to the title situation as “with my husband as tenants by the entirety” and each respective body politic understood that husband & husband are treated under the law the same as husband & wife.

Funny, it was they who converted the term they use in revised laws to “spouse” to use a gender-neutral term, but my testimony made more of an impact when I referred to my spouse as “my husband.”

3. With selected bikers

I ride my Harley with an organized riding club. The vast majority of the men and women who are active in the club are open-minded people who think of me as a fellow biker and contributor to the club’s success as an organization by serving as an officer.

However, there are a few diehards who still have trouble wrapping their mind around the fact that gay men can even ride a motorcycle, and some of those gay men can actually be married to a same-sex partner.

So during casual conversation, such as at a lunch stop on a ride or before a meeting starts, we’re talking about the usual stuff — our lives, things we are doing, what we may be planning for a future ride, and so forth. There are times when I strategically use the word “husband” as a part of a regular conversation to remind some of these people that same-sex marriage is part of their lives now.

Has the world ended? No. Have men married goats and engaged in more pedophilia? No. I have proved by how I live my life that nothing has changed and that the poppycock from the bible-thumping babbling buffoons is proved wrong — even if my spouse is a husband.

Life is short: love having a husband!