StraightsTalk

The Legal Lesbian

Confusion seems to be the word of the year… or, make that the decade. The political scene is confusing to say the least. We have a democratic candidate who has never been a democrat, and a republican candidate vociferously bashing the republican party.

The cultural scene is confusing also. Every day people come out as gay or bi or trans. Or, in some cases, they refuse to identify with any gender. They identify as whatever they feel like at any given time. Our language hasn’t even had time to catch up yet. Using gendered pronouns (“he,” “she”) is frowned upon. Using “it” is decidedly insulting, and “they” is decidedly confusing. There’s that word again: “confusing.” Once upon a time “Ms” was a radical title and now it is considered passé at best and politically incorrect at worst. A new , non-gendered, title has come along: “Mx,” pronounced “mix”) but so far it hasn’t exactly caught on.

In spite of all this confusion, I was, until lately, still pretty sure of my own identity and preferences. I’m a straight woman who is attracted to males, exclusively. And I have no issue being, or being called “female.”

When my spouse transitioned to being a woman, it had no effect on my own preferences. As I explained at the time, I could not just change those preferences and become a lesbian. If I could have, perhaps our lives would have been easier. Yes, I still love my spouse, but no, I am not attracted any longer, and try as I might, this does not change. For some people attraction is “fluid,” but for me, it is quite “static.”

As part of transitioning, my spouse had a legal name change, to a woman’s name. I knew this was happening but I didn’t care much. It’s her choice. As her friend, I was happy for her to finally be able to be the person she knew she always was.

Then one day a small package arrived addressed to both of us. I opened it and discovered that my spouse had ordered new checks. And there on the check were both our names. Mine was the same, of course, but my spouse’s new, female, name stared back at me. For the first time I saw our names linked and realized that I was now effectively, married to a woman!

Was I now legally a “lesbian?”

Well, of course not. Nothing had changed. Not really. I don’t write out paper checks much anymore. But the first time I needed to, I hesitated. I considered who was receiving the check. I considered what they would think. I considered if I cared. And I did. I didn’t want to be considered a lesbian any more than a gay person wants to be thought of as straight, or a trans woman wants to be thought of as male.
And yet, as long as my spouse and I remain legally married, the checks must remain as they are.

And so I propose a new category to add to the rainbow: ”Legal Lesbian.”

Wear it proud!

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