Monday, May 24, 2010

No Correction Needed

Recently I had a two day stay on the surgical unit of Providence Hospital. It was for a medical issue that still has no official diagnosis but is most likely a result of another ongoing condition.

Because I was high as a kite due to pain meds being administered from (literally) gut wrenching pain I hadn't at first noticed with much detail that I had experienced homophobia from my surgeon. It barely registered between the pain and sleep. In fact this incident didn't register to the administrator when I made an official complaint to the hospital either. Is it the world's biggest deal? Hell no. But it does confirm we still have a way to go towards understanding and full equality in the U.S.

Doctor: Do you have anyone who knows your here like family?

Me: Yes my wife brought me here.

Doc: You mean your partner?

Me: No I mean my wife.

Doc: Uhh. Oh.

There was absolutely no need to correct me. I know who my beloved is and there is no need to correct me on what I call her. Even if we were not legally registered with the state (which we are, I know because I did our joint taxes) no one else gets to define us for us, including any federal laws or surgeons. Was the Loving family not supposed to call themselves married? No. They knew what they were and fought for it. Just because federal law at this time prohibits legally acknowledging what my spouse and I are does not for one moment negate our bond or our relationship.

Mycal and I are no less married than anyone else. The only difference is that bigots can't accept that two people who happen to have the same kind of genitals, can be married. That's not our issue, but it's been put upon us and that moment in the hospital reflects the current state on inequality for LGBTQ people.

As soon as college spring finals are over I will write to the Oregon Surgeons association, the attorney general and anyone else who should know about these kind of incidents. Making our voices heard is how we stop this kind of crap.

Update: Here is a link to file a complaint with the Oregon Attorney General.

1 comment:

darkGreeny said...

I'm sorry to hear you were hospitalized and in pain, and hope that the underlying issues can be diagnosed and resolved.

The words we use are powerful.

Sometimes I am shy about using the word "wife," my shyness an unfortunate pre-emption for the discomfort I anticipate in other people.

Other times I am reluctant to use "wife," opting instead for "fiancee" because I want to highlight that we are not married, but that we would like to be.

Increasingly, though, I call my RDP my wife because she *feels* like my wife. Someone recently told me, "The more you use that word, matter-of-factly, the more people will hear it. And when that is normalized, things will continue to change."

I agree with her. And I give kudos to you for using the word that best describes the most intimate relationship in your life.

Our words matter!