When Joe and I first got together, within our first year, we combined our finances and decided that societal support or not, we were going to be a couple. The bank at the time refused, at first, to allow us to open a joint personal bank account. Two men were allowed a joint business account but not a joint personal account. We battled the bank, and surprisingly for the time, won. Even though the battle ended up in our being reviled as customers by those who worked at the bank, tellers didn't want to serve us, we still had our joint account and we didn't really care what others thought. This was forty three years ago and it was a much different time.
The second thing we did, after securing our bank account, was to make out wills and powers of attorney. We were university students, we had nothing, but we were leaving nothing to chance. I didn't want to end up, actually I feared ending up, in the graveyard in the town I grew up in. I wanted Joe to be the person making those decisions and so I made sure that he had the power to do so. This simply made sense to us. We lived in a time of 'unwelcome' and where people openly and publicly used anti-gay slurs and where we were very cautious about who we told. But we figured a joint bank account along with a will and a power of attorney and we were good to go. We, both of us, are thankful that we never had to test our planning.
My heart broke watching this video, I felt for Tom and Shane. While I can understand the love, I can't imagine the loss. To have to face such prejudice while dealing with grief is inexcusable.
I think, perhaps, that the human ability to politicise love is one of the worst traits of our species. The power to decry another's love, the power to deny another's love, the power to vilify another's love is a frightening power.
To have the power to determine who God will love and from whom God will take his love.
To have the power to determine who may proclaim their love and to make silent those who wish to name their love.
To have the power to create policy, to create law, to create moral codes that sanctify one's own loving while criminalising another's heart.
To have these powers is simply dangerous.
We in the disability movement know this.
We know that there are those who would deny the rights of people with intellectual disabilities to love and to marry.
We know that there are those who would deny the rights of people with physical disabilities to parent and to raise children.
We know that there are those who have once, and would love to again, turn laws into scalpels that maim and sterilise.
We, in the disability community, know.
We need to see that loving, politicised is a dangerous thing. We need to see that the most revolutionary commandment made was that we love one another. We need to see that love in the mouth of one is hatred in the ears of another.
We need, all of us, to make sure that we protect ourselves. But we need, too, all of us to join in the fight for the right for each human being to take ownership of loving, to have unimpeded access to the territories of the heart.
It's a revolutionary idea.
Which is why love is easier said than done.