Saturday, January 26, 2013

What to call our spouses/partners/lovers...


On a recent trip to the small town of Hawi on the Big Island of Hawaii, my partner and I were talking to the owner of a small gallery about his partner who lived in Seattle while he ran the shop in Hawaii. Automatically, I assumed he meant his male partner, since that is the common usage of the term in North Carolina. Wrong assumption: he meant his female partner. Once again, I was caught surprised because of my ingrained assumptions about what one calls one’s same-sex significant other.
In a previous post, I wrote about what my children came to call my partner after going through a long litany of names. They finally settled on “stepdad,” though there are no formal, legal ties mandating this name, role, or function; just apron strings from heart to heart, which are stronger, anyway. Between us, in introducing each other in public settings, Dean and I usually refer to each other as “partner,” as in “this is my partner, Dean.” But even this name took some thought as LGBTQ people in same-sex relationships don’t have the simple default of “wife” or “husband” to grab from society’s repertoire of names.
Instead, we are left with choices. In a weird yet marvelous way, modern society has set before us a table, from which we can choose a wide assortment of names. And by the way: straight people get the same choices … many of you just didn’t know that, having deferred to the default option of “husband and wife.”
So what are the choices?

Click here for some choices:

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