Late last night I saw the gorgeous images on instagram of a young friend and her wife on their wedding day in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
They look stunning – gloriously un-traditional, utterly in love, happy. They look for each other. They are for each other – towards, sharing, co-creating. For.
Today that young friend said “we’re pretty happy 😊 and so grateful for people like you and Shelley who fought and paved the way to make this a possibility for us xxxxx”
Which made me cry.
So many people before us, so many who had to lie, to hide, the deny their truth, to unmake their love for each other. So many who were not allowed to be for each other, so many who had to content themselves with living their life less full.
It’s not really about marriage as such – other than as a symbol of centuries of inequality under the law (which is not nothing!) – it IS about public declaration of love being welcome and witnessed by our beloveds, about our personal truths affecting political change. About the courage and dedication of those who died in sorrow, suffering, penury and all too often alone – having to forfeit or pretend or not live their whole selves – because their sexuality did not accord with that of a self-declared ‘majority’. In truth we have no idea how many LGBTQ+ people there really are, none of our societies is yet generous enough for everyone who is not heterosexual to feel comfortable being out, none of our societies is yet generous enough to allow our children to decide their sexuality for themselves – imposing heterosexuality on them as the standard and forcing us to come out as other when we are able. This means we have no idea how many people really are heterosexual or simply have not been able, due to the constraints of our societies, to imagine themselves as anything but straight.
My friend’s gratitude moved me because there is so much yet to do. Genuine care for our elderly LGBTQ+ so they feel able to be their full selves with family and carers and medical staff. Full welcoming of our bi and trans and non-binary siblings. True ‘sex education’ for our children that does not start with heterosexuality as the norm and everything else as outside that place. So much to do where our hard-won ‘rights’ (ie the norms that heterosexual people take for granted, from holding hands on the train to kissing in the street to marrying who they wish) are being recalled. So much to do where faiths and laws legislate against us. So much still to do.
When our young friends acknowledge what we have achieved in our lifetimes, we remember those who came before – with gratitude and joy.
Congratulations Alexandra and Kalya. Your day made my day.
Pic above – mine & Shelley’s CP shoes (before we were allowed to get married), image by our dear friend Sue Ridge.