Let’s talk about terms

I am in a doctoral program as most of you know. This program is dedicated to multicultural issues and maintaining a very PC atmosphere so as to make everyone comfortable. I want to say that I think this is an incredibly important goal that my program attempts. I just want that out there.

Now, with that said, I want to discuss the term “partner” as it refers to a significant other.

I don’t like it… anymore. I had absolutely no issues referring to Chet as my partner. And then, I said ‘I do’, and now he is my husband.

2000 Dollar Wedding spoke to the idea of heterosexual marriage guilt when planning a wedding. She presents this argument:

“If heterosexuals all refer to their significant others as “partners” rather than “hubands” and “wives,”–the argument goes–then gay people don’t have to automatically out themselves every time they want to refer to the significant person in their lives.”

Basically, if someone says partner, then you typically assume they are gay. If you normalize the term, then it won’t be an automatic assumption. I completely understand that argument. I do. But, as a friend said, why is it outing themselves? I think society has a problem when they are still referring to it as “out[ing] themselves.” Until society reconciles these problems, the law can’t. (That is a whole other discussion)

I think that’s a very interesting take on this whole thing. As Chet has said, “I was okay with you calling me your partner until I became your husband…maybe I just like hearing you use it.” And I think that has a very valid point. There is just something inherently beautiful in calling Chet my husband, and he calling me his wife. It’s just… better.

To both of us, partner brings up images of a business. We are each others partners, but we are also something more to each other as well. We’re husband and wife.

I understand that everyone views this differently. But to me, to use the term partner, I feel like its cheating this beautiful tradition. And it’s something that I would love to hear a gay couple’s thoughts on. Do you feel more comfortable with other couples using the term partner? Do you care?

I want to leave you with this video from Ellen and Portia on Oprah.

If the clip doesn’t work, you can head over to Huffington Post and watch it there.

Portia made an argument (a beautiful, wonderful, totally makes sense kind of argument) for gay marriage, but I think also for using the term of wife and husband rather then partner. And, it’s one that would never have meant as much to me as it did once I crossed this age old threshold into marriage.

“She’s my wife, I get to say that she’s my wife and that’s just the way it is,” said Portia.

“Anybody who’s married knows there is a difference,” said Ellen. “It feels like you’re home. There’s an anchor, there’s a safety. I’m going to be with her until the day I die and I know that.”

Leave a Reply