|Photo Description: Two Unicorns wearing top hats and their horns are rainbow coloured.|
This wasn't an easy decision for us. Anyone who has spoken to me about it knows that I had particularly strong feelings about it. Joe, when asked, shared the same opinion but he was much less emphatic in his explanation. We are, after all, very different people.
In a nutshell, we both stated, that we had longed to get married early on in our relationship. We have been pretty open as a couple, at home, at work, in the community for a very, very, long time. We were a couple back when some members of the gay community weren't very accepting of couplehood. When I wanted to take a 'Happy 10th Anniversary, Joe' ad out in the national gay newspaper, "The Body Politic," it was reluctantly accepted after a long discussion of the collective who ran the paper.
We were told that we were 'aping heterosexual convention.' We were told that gay men needed to re-write and re-define out relationships ourselves without relying on the heterosexual norm. Whatever. They printed the ad.
The reaction to the idea of marriage for gay (using the word of the time) people within the heterosexual community was - well - there wasn't one because it hadn't ever been conceived or considered. It was simply a non-option.
A very, very, brave Catholic priest, who could have lost everything, performed a commitment ceremony for us, in our house, with a few friends over. We were very, very young. It was held on what is now 'Gay Pride Weekend.' But there wasn't any 'Gay Pride Weekend' back then, not as we understand it now. We went to work the day before the ceremony, went away for the weekend to Montreal, came back after the long weekend. It was nice. It meant so much to us. But it felt like something shameful that was hidden away from the prying eyes of others. It didn't feel like a wedding because it wasn't one. It was a commitment ceremony. Don't let anyone ever tell you they are the same things.
So after all those years of having wanted to publicly proclaim our relationship. we found that we had. Everyone knew. Everyone in Joe's world. Everyone in mine. I mentioned Joe often in my lectures, even in places where gay people aren't typically open. I wrote about Joe in my books, my blog and my newspaper column that I had for a number of years. We both felt a responsibility to be 'out' for others who weren't. I could see the looks on faces of those in the LGBTQ+ community, attending a lecture, when, in a causal way, I indicated that Joe and I were together. Shock, joy, hope - Joe and I have had some wonderful conversations with people in my audience who heard the lecture but what mattered most was that an openly, gay man was at the podium.
When marriage came around, we found that we neither wanted it or needed it. But then, something happened this weekend, that changed all that. A light switch went off in my head, and, I asked Joe if we should maybe reconsider and get married. After a bit of a talk, we both agreed, now is the time.
I'm not going to write about the moment in a Timothy's coffee shop where something happened to make me rethink our stand. I don't want to write that here, because I want to say it at the wedding itself. I will write it after that.
Joe and I are getting married.