Oh, look. Another photo album has been shared.
Wedding pictures? How nice.
Your newborn child is all dressed up for Easter? Adorable.
I’m happy for you, I really am.
But those things?
That ceremony. That baby. And all the pictures.
I want those things.
I want those things so badly that it hurts.
When I look at the things I want in my future, there are two things that stand above everything else.
I want to get married to Ryan, and I want to be a father.
I want those things so badly that I feel an irrational anger well up inside me.
Because those are things that are easy and automatic for you, and you don’t even realize it. I’m not talking about the difficulty of planning a wedding or taking care of a child. I’m talking about how difficult it is to get to the point where you’re faced with that difficulty.
I know that I could have a party, and we could call it a wedding. We could even drive to Iowa, or fly to New York (or Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, DC or New Hampshire). But after the music has faded and the food has gone cold and we’ve returned home, we’ll be exactly where we were before.
Because in Kansas, it means nothing. That piece of paper that we’d have signed in the presence of some official is only worth the paper it’s printed on.
And while standing in front of my family and friends (and I do hope most of you would want to be there, because it will be a fabulous event) is important, it’s the other part that’s more important to me.
It’s about the legal protections that come from being a married couple. It’s about hospital visitation and tax returns. It’s about health insurance and Social Security benefits. It’s about Family leave and survivor benefits. It’s about not listing Ryan as ‘cohabitant’ on a form as if we’re just two roommates. And it’s about being equal. That the two of us are just as equal as my brother and his wife, and my cousin and her husband, and my parents.
It seems that last week conspired to remind me over and over again of the diffficulties that Ryan and I can face because the State of Kansas has decided that we’re not allowed to be married. There were a series of tv shows that we regularly watch that featured situtations that could easily happen to us in an emergency situation. And then there was this video, telling a true story:
Oh, and that adorable baby you keep posting pictures of? It’s precious, but only reminds me how much harder I’m going to have to work to become a father. There’s the fact that both surrogacy and adoption are expensive, and we’re not in a place where it’s feasible and there are no “happy accidents” for us. Then, we’ll have the added problems caused by the ambiguous laws in our home state regarding adoption by two men, that could leave my potential parenthood in the hands of judge who hardly knows me.
So excuse me, if I just don’t seem that excited about your good news.
I don’t begrudge your happiness, and part of me is really and truly happy for you.
It’s just that it reminds me of what’s beyond my grasp.