This week I’ve had a few reminders of the rules that exist for gay girls like me in American society. But because I’m an optimist, I’d like to look the bright side of things I can’t do in public.1. Hold hands. Sometimes palms can be sweaty, or hands dry or warts present. Should my partner ever have any of these problems, it’ll be easier not to want to claim her as my piece of property while walking around the Gertrude Stein exhibit at the San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum, celebrating Gertie’s existence as one of the foremost lesbian figures in literary history.
2. Kiss. If I get bored at a baseball game (as I’m prone to do after I’ve decided one team is clearly winning and I spent $30 on a hot dog and a beer), I can entertain myself in other ways than giving my wife a peck. She is real cute in a white T and Cubs cap, but I’ll have to restrain myself and instead fixate on the drunk fans around me until they pass out, get in a fight or I finally get to leave — whichever happens first. Although if I did kiss her and a security guard told me to quit playing “grab ass,” I’d be escorted out, thus leaving the scene quicker.
3. Wear a T-shirt promoting marriage equality. Despite the fact that Dolly Parton is hugely into the gays (and the gays are hugely into her), I just can’t go around wearing any T-shirt I please at Dollywood. If I want to own a shirt that says “Marriage is so gay,” I can only wear it around my own home, where I’ll promote equality to my pug, really challenging her to consider supporting her moms’ relationship. But at an amusement park? Only really classy clothing items like fannypacks or matching T-shirts as to not become separated from my vacation bible camp leaders are allowed.
4. Get married in a state where it is legal. Sure I can get married in Vermont, but only at certain places that agree with the state legislature. The Wildflower Inn owners did not vote for my rights, so I should not have the right to get legally hitched there. Although they did say they would welcome me to eat there or pay to stay in one of their rooms, so I can totally be a paying customer, just not celebrate my love there. Sounds fair!
5. Exist in Ghana. Guess my relocation plans have been called off. I wonder if Uganda has lightened up at all?
The things I can do, though, are sue, get people fired (or at least reprimanded) and draw attention to the ridiculous homophobic actions that exist all around the world. (Seriously? San Francisco?)
Trish Bendix is the managing editor of AfterEllen.com.