Growing up gay changes a person’s take on many major
milestones in life. Once I realized that
I am a lesbian, for example, my teenage self didn’t dream of the same big white
wedding that my six year old self imagined.
Instead, given the times, I accepted that I would probably NEVER get
So the typical young girl’s dream of 1) meet prince
charming, 2) have fairytale wedding, 3) buy perfect house and 4) have perfect
children suddenly had a few major cracks in the pavement.
I thought my first girlfriend was it for me. We met at age 16, and were together for over
5 years. We talked about futures and
careers and kids, and I really thought the buck stopped there. It wasn’t perfect, but it was comfortable—safe,
even. I was just barely 22 when we broke
up and I found myself floundering out in the real world.
That breakup was pivotal to my life now. It forced me to grow. To expand my horizons. To try new things and meet new people and
leave the comfort of that bubble I had been shrouded in for some very formative
years. I was late to the party, but I
was still determined to have a good time.
And so, there was Starbucks Girl—20 years older than me with
a teenage son who thought his mother brought me home for him.
And there was the receptionist in my chiropractor’s office—that
one caught me off guard like you wouldn’t believe.
There were dates here and there with people who made little
impression. I was stood up once by a
woman whom I found completely unattractive and who had a borderline obsessive
interest in UFOs and conspiracy theories, but who my friends insisted I accept
a date with for the sake of “practice.”
I did a stint as a fag hag.
I smoked pot for the first time.
I introduced my friends to the world of camping and bought a blender
that plugged into the cigarette lighter of my car. I drank fruit-flavored “wine,” wore bandanas
in my hair, and used my mother’s golden retriever as an accessory.
Somewhere amid the chaos of my newfound reckless abandon
came Catch—not a prince on a white horse, but a knight in a white Silverado. And somewhere between the first kiss and the
first camping trip and the first “I love you,” the game changed.
I found myself longing for fairytales with Catch. I dreamed
of an engagement ring, and more than that, I dreamed of a chance for us to
REALLY be married. A chance to take her last name. I longed for that stepping
stone that leads to all the other milestones in life.
My dream came true when we stood in a strip mall in Van Nuys
in 2008 and were legally married. For real. Marriage license and all.
It’s hard to explain to someone on the outside what that
little piece of paper means to me.
Certainly, I could have pledged “til death do us part” whether the State
recognized it or not, but this was so different. For the first time in years, my relationship
with another woman felt normal. Like we could carry on with all of our hopes
and dreams just like everyone else on the planet and be perfectly normal. I had no idea that a single white piece of
printer paper could have such a profound impact on my life. We weren’t registered domestic partners. We weren’t joined in a civil union. We were MARRIED. Wife and wife. Mrs. and Mrs. Something I honestly never believed would
really happen for me. The social
security office filed my name change without batting an eye.
Now, here we are, ready to embark on the next big adventure
in our marriage–just as the President of the United States comes out in support
of us. Just as the Supreme Court is reviewing DOMA
and Prop 8. Watching society evolve is so painfully slow that it feels like
these changes have snuck up from behind me—but they’re here, and they’re real,
and I actually dare to hope that someday, my children’s children won’t have to
think twice before mentioning their two grandmas.