Give Him Back
OK, today is our anniversary. We've been together for 38 years as of today. I like to joke that I was a June bride, but in fact, of course, that's not true. 38 years ago the idea of two men marrying would have sent people spinning. But this post isn't going to be about homophobia, though we've got plenty of stories about that involves that little word. What's been interesting is what happened to our relationship ever since I became disabled.
Between us, nothing's changed. I do feel badly that Joe has to lift my chair in and out of the car. That my disability has caused him more work in his day. But he's not a complainer, doesn't make me feel bad about it, never much mentions it at all. So we've just gone on as normal. Two guys getting older together. But, to the world, we have changed.
As I travel and lecture internationally, people have to deal with us as a couple. Joe does all the bookings, I do all the lecturing. When our hosts book hotel rooms, we ask, without flinching for one room with a king bed. In some cases you can almost hear people blanching all the way down the phone line. But we don't care. Diversity is diversity, believe in it or leave. No time for that kind of nonsense.
But now, it's changed. I didn't realize it until I was doing a session in British Columbia and one of the folks there noticed that I was pushing myself over to the washroom. A woman, part of the team hosting the event, rushed over to me and asked me if I wanted her to get my staff. My staff! I looked at her startled and said, "Pardon me?"
She pointed over at Joe who was working the book table and said, "Do you want your staff to help you?" I just told her that I was fine and she rushed off. I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to sit there and explain that Joe wasn't my staff. That we had a (sexual) relationship and have had one for years. It seemed to be none of her business and yet something I needed to say anyways.
Then I realized that this has been happening ever since I've been in the chair. Suddenly I don't have a boyfriend anymore, suddenly we are back in the conceptual closet. We aren't challenging stereotypes now we're succumming to them. I'm a helpless cripple and he's a paid companion. Yuck, we've been pushed back into a closet that we've never really been in.
So now I have to work at being 'out' in a variety of ways.
But this morning, the morning of our anniversary, I intend on getting my staff to give me intimate care. It's a role play we've never done. Could be fun.
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