That’s what my new insurance card read under my name: s-p-o-u-s-e. To some of you, you may think “big deal” but to many of us in the LGBTQXYZ. . . community, this is and can be a big deal. Besides the fact that my gal pal, sk, and I aren’t even married made the discovery a bit more strange. After I read it silently to myself a couple of times, I came to the conclusion that I liked it but I also realized that up until then I didn’t think I would ever be legally recognized as a “spouse.” Luckily, we live in Canada and according to our provincial law, if you live with another person oh, I don’t know, six days or six months the two of you are, by law, a domestic partnership. Obviously, sk’s employer does not offer many options for relationship status which could lead into a whole different story, so I won’t go there.Brunette-w-health-card

I like the word “spouse” for several reasons.  The best may be the fact that there is no question as to what my relationship status is with sk. It’s a universal word that is recognized and revered. Visually, we do not appear to be a couple for various reasons so it’s nice to have something to “prove” our relationship, even if it just stays in my wallet most of the time.  My right buttock (where my wallet usually sits) can tell the difference even if no one else can.

Years ago while living in Chicago, we got our domestic partnership paperwork done at city hall. . . along with a few not-so-nice looks from the clerks. That title did not mean anything to our employers, state or federal government. We still have that piece of paper filed away somewhere along with a photograph with a couple of hostile pigeons to document that special day. Sk and I recognized our decision to become domestic partners but no one else did. No one had to.

This one word, “spouse,” does not validate our relationship. We do not need others nor the government to tell us how we feel about one another, our hearts know. However, when you’re accustomed to not being recognized or only done so in a negative context, positive confirmation is nice in whatever form, no matter how small.




11 thoughts on “Spouse

  1. Donna and I are recognized my my employer (New York State) as domestic partners for pension, inheritance, and health insurance purposes (yay!), and have been since 1998. All we had to do was provide reams of documents showing that we lived together and intermingled our expenses. But we are not legally considered married, common-law, or partners.
    Our health insurance cards have both of our names on them, but no relationship noted!


  2. That’s great that your employer recognizes your relationship, and since 1998! That’s a victory in itself. Thank you again, JR, for reading and commenting.


  3. Ah, I get it and this is pretty cool even if you don’t need any outside force to recognise you, like you said.


  4. My girlfriend and I had to make an ER visit and when they asked if we were married we were thrilled. Seriously thrilled. We choose to not be married. There are a lot of reasons.

    But that acknowledgement was huge.

    Because “spouse” isn’t tolerance. It isn’t endurance. Its not even an endorsement. Its equality.


  5. I totally agree, RCP (Rose Colored Photo)! Hope all turned out okay after the ER visit. Thank you for reading and commenting! Cheers.


  6. Thank you for reading and commenting, Kris. Congratulations on your civil union. Cheers.


  7. That’s awesome! My wife just started a new job and I will soon have the privilege of being added to her insurance. We never had insurance together before, for it wasn’t an option. So, yes, I definitely see why this is a big deal 🙂 And she and I got married in Canada 7yrs ago (we’re from Michigan).


  8. Congratulations on the nuptials and the insurance. . . i’s the ordinary day-to-day things that are taken for granted but mean so much to those marginalized. Cheers.


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