A week into legal marriage and come to find she’s already over finding my lightly wrinkled shirts cute. In forced response, I have learned the domestic art of “fluffing”, which, apparently involves taking the clothes out the dryer immediately and laying them flat on the bed so as to prevent wrinkles from sabotaging fabric. Fluffing, is my new “yes dear” and I must admit although I find it utterly annoying, I secretly love making her happy in this simple way. I’ll even take this opportunity to let go of my selfish pride to say I do like being in a wrinkle free shirt. I’m taken far more seriously in the public arena.
As many an LGBTQ couple, Mary Ann and I exchanged rings and words far before we ever had a legal/religious ceremony. We didn’t need the legal marriage or the religious ceremony for that fluffing moment to happen. The length and intimacy of our relationship naturally lent itself to such a point. The fluffing would have happened either way. However, having a legal/religious ceremony allowed us to celebrate in such a way that we as Christians felt was missing on the beautiful evening of our actual wedding date. It allowed us to share and celebrate our love with our church community and not closet it amongst ourselves. It recognized us as humans with dignity in the eyes of God and the state of Maryland. For better or worse, it also seemed to give others who love us and were in support of our marriage a framework for being able to participate and celebrate with us. Those closest to us and many whom we don’t even know joined the conversation regarding LGBTQ marriage. My happiness with the conversations being had, also lead to disappointment that our marriage was not taken seriously until such a time. After all, what Mary Ann and I did was the modern day equivalent of jumping the broom. An act that signified a covenant of marriage between African-American slaves during North American chattel slavery. It is a common practice in the LGBTQ community to make such a covenant. Primarily because the majority of us don’t have those legal or religious rights (or have the privilege to access them) and secondly because it honors and dignifies the difference and fluidity in queer relationships that don’t fit the normative model of marriage.
Fluffing as I am beginning to understand is an art. It is a means of stretching myself to help me understand my partner, which has led me to a better understanding of myself. I’m not always super happy about it, but I must admit our relationship is better for it. My hope is that the church will do some fluffing of its own when it comes to queer folks. My prayer is tied to the celebratory moment when we acknowledge all different kinds of LGBTQ and/or queer relationships, celebrate them, sanctify them and no longer normalize one kind of relationship and stigmatize another. Really what I’m asking is for the church to say “Yes Dear”.
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