Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring, Tra-Lah!

Well, Jarrah at Gender Focus today directed me to this particular gem of bigotry: A florist in New Brunswick who refused to sell flowers to a wedding planner after she learned that the flowers would be used in a same sex wedding.
Thankfully, as Jarrah put it:
The thing is, while Canadians have a right to hold their own religious beliefs, the right doesn’t extend to allow people to use their religion to discriminate against others when operating a business or providing a public service. Saying your florist won’t provide flowers for gay weddings is the same as saying your coffee shop or restaurant or funeral home or bed and breakfast won’t serve members of a certain minority group.
There we go. Bless my new home and not-so native land.
But it got me thinking, as a new Canadian and a newly out queer woman dating another queer woman, about my future wedding. Just ask my girlfriend, she will tell you, in spite of myself, that I'm a wedding junkie. I eat up wedding information for brunch. I have an entire folder devoted to wedding ideas on my computer, neatly divided between cake ideas, dresses for myself, dresses for my girlfriend, dresses for our bridesmaids, you get the idea. I can't help myself. It comes from partial extravagance in my bloodstream, partially because it's an extension for my love of making things and crafts, and partially due to my deep-seated love of theatrics.
My girlfriend and I are lucky enough to both be Canadians, so we have been given our legal right to marry when we feel ready. One of the reasons I am leaving America is because I was very aware of the dangers living here together would pose, and because I am hyper aware of our status as second class citizens. I didn't want to spend the rest of my Aprils looking to tick a box labelled "Married in Massachusetts but doesn't have marriage recognized at the federal level." But as the article above demonstrated, Canada is not free from bigotry and attitudes which make life for gay couples difficult. We will still have to contend with asshole attitudes, even within the beautifully gay friendly city of Victoria. Whenever I do my random customary "wedding hunts" for items of interest from Victoria, I keep my eyes peeled for signs of trouble, or, on a positive note, a little rainbow somewhere symbolizing a commitment to welcoming all couples.
But alas, I'm afraid that the biggest opposition of all to my wedding isn't going to come from the baker of our wedding cake, or our florist, or the dressmaker. The greatest obstacle I face in having my dream wedding to my girlfriend is my family. This was the most difficult part of coming to terms with my own queerness and my girlfriend's new identity: I realized right away that my mother, who threatened to not have a relationship with me if I dated women when I told her I was bisexual, would never accept us, or give us her blessing. I am waiting until I am 100% financially independent and have all of my belongings with me in Victoria before I choose to tell her the truth. For now, she still thinks I'm dating a man, and is eagerly discussing a possible future wedding with me when I call her. All that excitement will be blasted away by the news that there will be two brides. So deep is her intolerance, I considered having a fake heterosexual wedding between myself and my girlfriend, before hormones and surgery come into the picture, just to fool her.
But I can't bring myself to do this. It's a dishonesty to myself, to my girlfriend, and all queer couples looking to get hitched. I am learning to accept that my mother will not accept me. She and I have always had a strained relationship after my dad's death, but this will probably break it. In the end though, I'm hoping she at least doesn't hang up when I call her on her birthday.
I guess what I am trying to say with this whole mess of a post is this: Being queer means getting over the bullshit and demands of other people in order to fulfil your dreams. Don't let anyone, a florist or your parents, stop you from having those wishes come true.

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