what they don't know can't affect them
a colleague at work, who is going through a difficult divorce, recently declared that she’ll never marrying again. she’ll simply live with her next boyfriend. that’s great, i said, but what happens when the one you wouldn’t marry ends up being your partner for life? what about rights to health decisions and family-level visitation in the hospital or sharing health care benefits …?
she asked what gay people do. i explained as much as i know about legal ways to establish power of attorney, etc to try to establish same of the same rights. but there are things like raising a child together – and knowing that, in many states, if something happens to the bio mom, it could be a hefty battle to keep one’s own child.
these were intelligent people. one a lawyer. and they had NO idea. it’s not the first time i’ve had conversations like this with straight friends. they simply never put enough thought into same-sex relationships (why would they?) to grasp the fact that our rights are not the same as theirs. and yes, it does have an impact. the ones who do know are the ones who are making it their business to write us out of our rights, if they can.
there are plenty of issues i simply hold my tongue about, particularly at work. but at some point, if we don’t stop assuming and start talking, we’re sealing our own fate. if the people who are on our side don’t realize that there is even an issue, we can’t expect them to help -- to even vote our way if and when the time comes.