I have lived in Springfield for 12 years now. I have lived in small towns in Iowa, Phoenix, Ariz., and also St. Louis. As a 30- something gay female I have seen a lot go on in the communities alone that even I don’t agree with.
I have seen and experienced prejudice as a gay female. I have been denied jobs due to my sexuality and also told that if I was “out” at work I could be fired. I have seen others have to lie about their sexuality to keep their jobs and even call their partner their “roommate.” I have seen others — and experienced myself — the denial of health coverage through work due to my sexuality. I know of gay parents that have been investigated by family services due to bigots calling and making false reports of child abuse because they don’t think gay people should have children.
At the same time, I have also seen a lot go on in the gay community that I don’t agree with.
I can see why there is all the discussion on gay rights and marriage in the religious community and by those that see some of the same things that I do. When you have people who work for companies where they can be “out” at work, there are still going to be co-workers and others that don’t agree with it. When there are gay people that insist on calling their partner their wife or husband, it can make co-workers uneasy. I can understand that. Gay marriage is not legal in this state. Those same people may have two or three “spouses” a year.
This is a state where a couple is allowed to live in the same house, buy property together, and build a life together but they are looked down upon because they are two females having a child together. When that same couple has to basically lie to make ends meet and get help, they really aren’t doing anything that a heterosexual couple doesn’t do. But when they go around and lie in one area but demand to be recognized as a married couple, that is where I have a problem. When that couple planned on committing fraud with the birth certificate to get around the legal paperwork so they both had rights to the child, I again had a problem with that.
I can understand why a couple would want their union to be recognized by the state and government. I want that for myself. I want to be able to have the same rights with my partner that heterosexual couples have when they get married. To have to go to the lengths that gay couples do to have access to property, bank accounts, medical and legal decisions is something I want to see change. If one of us were to end up in the hospital there is nothing the other can do. In some cases we can be denied to see the other at all. If she was unable to make a medical decision for herself and I knew what she would want to have done my voice would not be heard. And our families could step in and deny the other anything. Thankfully that is not something at this time I feel either of us have to worry about with our families but a lot of other couples do. No matter what precautions we take there is always a loophole that can be jumped through.
I truly believe that if the gay community would not be so pushy on wanting to have it be called a marriage that the rest of this state would be more accepting. Marriage is another word that defines who someone is. It is another label. Just as the words husband and wife are labels. I was told by my late grandma once that only food and clothes should have labels not people. I don’t label myself and I don’t want anyone else to label me. The fact that who I am is a gay female and the only choice I made was not to live my life as a lie and be true to who I am and who I love I believe it should speak volumes. For anyone else to judge that would make them a hypocrite by any standards of any Christian belief.
I know there will always be judgment from others about what they call my lifestyle choice. I do not judge, and will not, a heterosexual couple for being with the one they love and their lifestyle. I only want the same in return.
Tammy Webb lives in Springfield.