If there is one skill in our couple’s arsenal of Awesomeness I am most proud of, it is our off beat sense of humor. Kim and I have a knack of disarming fear and trepidation from straight couples new to the “Gay side”.
Often times, they just recently found out that Kim (who they have been sharing cubicle space with all this time and didn’t burst into flames) is a lesbian. After the initial shock and denial and the process of 12 steps to acceptance (“well she did play softball, is a math geek, never talked about a boyfriend…”) they have since allocated Kim as their personal LGBT “Google” for all their questions. We have jokingly announced that we will be their personal “Lesbian Liaisons into the murky and shadowy realm of Gay & Lesbian etiquette.”
Straight Sailor with well-meaning intentions: “When I approach your partner, how should I greet her? I don’t know what to say.”
Kim: “Shake hands, keeping eye contact, and……….bear with me on this one……say ‘Hello’.”
For us, humor can often disarm the most uncomfortable of the “same-sex challenged” category, if they can see they are not the target of ridicule. We are also not apologizing one iota for who we are.
And sometimes, laughter can lighten some very dark days, when the axes of inequality seemed to have been sharpened on the grindstone of ……. (Help me now gods of the medieval metaphors, I command you!!!) ..Bigotry and Asshats. (That was the best you could give me??? Lame.)
For example: I was terribly thrilled to finally get a photo id to go on base and felt like quite a “big shot” for being able to flash some id, other than my lesbian membership card. (It’s useful for pool parties!) That insured I was allowed to be on base and to go with Kim to the commissary parking lot……..and then wait in the car because apparently there was a black market for re-selling meat and they couldn’t trust the Gays with a ration card! (Maybe it was foreign nationals…I can’t remember) I was sure it was just another case of “lost in translation” and if I could just re-assure them that “Meat Market” held a completely different meaning, they would surely let us in! At least Kim left a crack in the car windows for fresh air, like a thoughtful partner.
In other cases, I hear stories from other wives about the “blankety-blank BAH” and the “blippity-blip” PCS….and other acronyms to which don’t apply to our lives. And while I’m sure there is a lot of pain in the tuckus red tape for getting their services and benefits…the fact is; they are getting them. According to my bright pink “Married to the Military Handbook”, there are a lot more acronyms which should apply to our families that we have yet to see. Something about “blippity-bleep FSA”.
I’ve had quite a few wonderful experiences meeting straight military families and some horrific experiences with military wives. The main difference in reception was in the one on one approach. If you are a single person, going into an unknown group or forum, you are on “their turf” as they see it, and something akin to “Lord of the Flies” is bound to ensue. But, it’s the one on one connection, where they get to know you as a personality with a name and similar challenges (“Hey you hate deployments? I hate deployments too! What is your brand of liquid therapy?”)
In the end, all military spouses would serve well to quit dividing and start multiplying in supporting one another. I love our group at the American Military Partner Association because of the diversity of branches and the diversity of gay and lesbian families. Our common ground lies in our hopes and fears, challenges, and riding through the changes. Together we will see each other through the Best of Times and through the Worst of Times!