Did I Do Something Wrong?
It’s not that I don’t feel equal; it’s that I am NOT equal. Why? Because, number one: I am a woman and number two: I am a lesbian.
Maybe you are wondering how I can feel equal even though I am not.
Well, I feel equal because I make myself feel equal. I am constantly aware of my surroundings to be sure that I am in an environment where I will be accepted for who I am.
Every once in a while there is a moment of sheer and utter panic when for that brief moment I remember that I am not just as equal as…let’s say, my brother (who is a 27 year old male who works for the Canadian Armed Forces and is in a committed heterosexual relationship). During that moment of panic I think things like “why? why can’t I be taken seriously when I go to bring my car to the shop to get fixed…cause believe it or not, I do know what I am taking about” … “why can’t my upcoming wedding be treated exactly like my brother’s wedding”… “Why is it ok for you to objectify me as if I am not human like you are, sir?”
As a woman, sometimes I feel completely inadequate. We are expected to make incredible sacrifices and compromises that men are never expected to make. You want examples? Well, the most obvious is being/ getting pregnant OR having your period…ESPECIALLY when a man will say “oh it’s her time of the month, that is why she is acting that way”. Walking down the street without fear of being violated, even verbally, is a luxury most men take for granted.
I have been talked to TWICE on the street in the past month from MEN I don’t even know. I guess they were assuming it would be ok to just start a conversation with me or ask me if I needed help, to which I respond “do I look like I am struggling to clean ½ an inch of snow off my car? Screw off”. I answered like that because two days before while waiting at the gas station to fill my car tires with air, the man who was just finishing up said “wow, you are beautiful, you deserve to marry a great man”. At that point I just smiled and then began doing what I went to the gas station to do. In my head I wanted to yell…and if I wasn’t beautiful...I wouldn’t deserve it? What the hell does “Deserve” mean anyways…did I do something wrong by be born with a vagina? A Man? What if I wanted to marry a woman?
This…brings me to my number two. I am a lesbian. At least once a day I see an article from somewhere that has to do with gay marriage or about a teenager and how he/she is dealing with coming out. Also, at least once a day I have to be fully aware that a person I may speak with could have a “problem” with me being gay.
I am getting married this fall to my partner and every other day or so we struggle with how hard it is in a “straight” world for a couple of lesbian women to get married. We went to an open house last weekend at our wedding venue. We had to wear a little “Hello my name is” tag with our name and wedding date written on it. I swear I caught at least 5 different people looking at our name tags, and then us, and then our name tags as if they were trying to understand or make sense of what they were seeing. We should have worn big flashy signs as hats that said “LESBIANS”.
I doubt this (Equality) will change in my life time. But, I feel that if I am to write something like this maybe people will watch what they say, how they act and how they treat people. I know I am not equal, but I will do whatever I can to keep myself feeling like I am.
- Jen - London, Ontario