June 08, 2006

My Emergency Contact!

Gregory Bryce Edwards. Our address. His cell phone number. I did not include his email address. And then, the most crucial element of the questionnaire, our relationship. I typed the word slowly, feeling the weight of it with each keystroke.


Ick. I hate that word. It feels sterile and corporate. As though we closed the deal with a firm handshake instead of the sloppy kisses which led to his Long Island City bedroom and then here, nearly a year and a half later.

Partner. It’s more fun to pronounce it with a Texan drawl. Pard’ner removes some of the clinical coldness from the word. Regrettably doing so harkens back to last year’s national obsession with the gay cowboy persona. And gay cowboys are still too fresh to be kitsch. I couldn’t exactly write pard’ner on my passport renewal.

What the hell is going on? I’m a 31 year old gay man. I am born on National Coming Out Day! I have a gay website. I eat, breathe and poop gay. Friend of Dorothy? I line up the bitch's pills!

And suddenly I’m finding myself too nervous to list Bryce as my partner on my Department of State Form DS-82 for passport renewal so I can traipse to Canada, stay at a gay bed and breakfast and partake of drunken orgies with the hottest gay lumberjacks Montreal has to offer, with my partner, of course. There's also some sort of jazz festival.

Eww there’s that word again, partner.

I admit I’m spooked by the Senate’s recent gay marriage ban sideshow.. The last few days have genuinely stressed me out. It’s not that Bryce and I have any forthcoming plans for marriage. Nor am I renewing my passport so we can jet off to Namibia for a baby or two (see above Canadian orgy commitment).

In middle school I did a report on the Constitution. I was dressed as Thomas Jefferson. We were a poor family so all I found as a costume was my Aunt Sue’s wig tied into a Revolutionary pigtail.
So there little Gayest Neil was. Decked out in a Panama Jack t-shirt and Aunt Sue’s wig regaling my fellow Cedar Hill sixth graders about the greatest document of our country and how this simple piece of paper gives us more freedom than anything else on the planet. And this week, bigotry could have been written into it.

All the little boys who wore their auntie’s wigs (you know you did) may have had their dreams of a big, garish, gay wedding snuffed out right there.

Yeah, I know there are many other steps involved: House approval, State approval, etc… but still, the very potential has me on edge.

Which is ironic, because we’re living in a very gay America. I suppose I can thank the gay cowboy and Jay Manuel for that. But still, I’m fearful the rubber band is going to snap back with dreadful consequences.

In order to enjoy my Montreal vacation (and the eight bear hot tub at Big Boys Guest House), I first must have my passport renewed. Stupid Amtrak and their rules.

So at the last minute I dashed to my mail bin. I retrieved my renewal package containing my Department of State Form DS-82, and I deleted all of my sweet partner’s emergency contact info. I erased my partner. I took no chances.

I resubmitted my form with nothing. Aunt Sue’s wig is gone.


Mark said...

This made me sad.

FiL said...

Me too. Usually your posts make me all happy happy joy joy, but today this made me so sad. And rather angry. It is so wrong that a climate exists whereby people feel they cannot be as open as they want to be about who they love. So totally wrong.


Anonymous said...

Huh. I liked this post. Sad, yeah... But still... I like how you put it.

Anonymous said...

Wait - you're not getting gay married in Canada? What the hell am I going to do with this Hello Kitty toaster now?

Joe.My.God. said...

I do not like the way this post made me feel. But good for you for writing it.

GayProf said...

It’s these types of compromises that we often feel forced to make that lead me to be angry.

Anonymous said...

Great blog entry! I think you captured something about the effects of all this homophobic static hanging in the air these last few years since Bush and Co. reved their engines on this and other "hot" issues. Like others, I found it a sad entry: the feeling that you should erase your partner in certain contexts. Nevertheless, we (i.e. queerfolk) likely do this more often than we think. You have touched on the strange ways in which politics intersects with the unconscious, somehow gripping us at what seems to be the most private level of ourselves.

That said, enjoy Montreal. It is a great city: the bars along rue St. Catherine are a hoot (Le Stud is fun if you like dancing). Since your Bed and Breakfast (which seems oddly "Anglo") is in the thick of things make sure you walk down into Old Montreal, a really charming part of the city. Keep up the great blogging.

Gayest Neil said...

Bryce and I are oddly "Anglo" too...

circleinasquare said...

you're staying in
"The Ceaser's Palace Room",

Anonymous said...

With the exception of your adopted Namibian children ...

I wonder if, in the future, they will simply stamp our passports with the word HOMOSEXUAL in the same way that German passports read JUDEN in the years leading up to WWII.

This would save us the bother of wondering whether it is really a good idea to identify yourself as a gay person in government records that can later be used against you.

Tony Adams said...

Dear Gayest,
a) We had a slammingly wonderful time with you guys on Brooklyn Pride Day. You do throw a party.
b) You're gonna love Montreal. Oh the places you'll go. And, there are fourteen bath houses within walking distance of where you're staying. Our fav was the St. Mark's (now called the Bronx. I was there the night it burned. Sigh. They've renovated.) Don't pack anything more than jeans, boots and tees. Buy gray canadian wool sox with red and white stripes at the tops at Priape and go downstairs where the staff will fit you for the most intimate of leathery gizmos and apparel, and make or alter them on the spot. They are not shy.
c) I also had to renew my passport for our recent trip to Spain. Assuming that most often, C and I would be traveling together, I listed someone else, a close friend of ours, as the emergency contact. No point in having them telephone C if we are both locked up in a Barcelona jail for improper activities in the Parc Guell.

Roger Owen Green said...

I'm a straight guy, and I've never been comfortable qwith the term "patrtner" for gay couples, either, precisely for the reasons you stated. As for stupid legislation floating around, I wish I could be more optimistic, but I fear it'll be a long fight.

Country boy in the City said...

Oh whaat's the difference...

I'm tired of explaining that this one's my partner, this one's my boyfriend, this one's my best friend and this one just fills in when there's a vacancy. In the end only decided what to call them all.