SuddenlyGay

Just another WordPress.com site

At Least We Can Vote

Six voting machines for this election!

Image by momboleum via Flickr

We ended up voting in the late afternoon when Lee got home from work yesterday. We walked into the small Baptist Church and got in line behind about fifteen or twenty people. We filled out our form and waited, looking over the amendments that were on the ballot.

I arrived at the table to turn in my form and show my ID first. All went well and I was given the little yellow card for the voting machine. I joined the line waiting for a machine. At this point, one of the women at the table announced that they would wait for a few minutes and let all of us in line with yellow cards get to machines. There was little room for a line where I was now standing.

When I was the last one waiting for a machine, the woman called Lee to the table. As I headed to the voting machine, I heard Lee say, “What do you mean I can’t vote here?”

From the voting machine, I could still hear bits of the conversation. Lee was asking how he could possibly have to vote at another precinct when we were partners at the same address. Then, “No, we are not roommates. We did not move in at different times. No, we registered in the county at the same place, the same day, the same time. ..Allison is my partner, not my roommate. We have the same last name. She is my partner, like spouse.”

As I turned in my yellow card and put my “I voted today” sticker on my shirt, I heard Lee say, “I’m not angry and I’m not blaming anyone. I just want to understand how we could be assigned to different precincts and I want to know how we can fix this situation. ”

I sat across the room as Lee sat in a chair and waited. The women volunteers sitting at the table were avoiding looking at Lee and I could feel the hostility from across the room. I smiled as people exited the room after voting. All turned away and avoided eye contact. The man who had been called over and whom Lee had been talking to, paced around with a cellphone to his ear. After about twenty more minutes, I heard Lee expressing thanks and taking a slip of paper from the man’s hand. Lee left with directions to another church where he could vote. They told him I should have voted there as well.

On the ride over, Lee told me how instantly every one of the polling volunteers had become hostile as soon as he told them I was his partner. He told me how the man refused to even say the word, continuing to call me roommate.

I tried to see the humor in it all and the irony. I had wanted folks to see us as a same-sex couple (transman and wife was beyond my wildest hopes, of course). I didn’t want anyone to mistake us for other than who and what we are. In that regard, the day was a huge success. However, we both know there is no way a heterosexual married couple living in the same home, moving in there together, registering together would have been assigned to different polling stations.

The hard part though, is the open hostility directed at Lee when I was described to those working the polls as the partner. The “Hi, How are you?” and  initial friendly exchange came to an abrupt and rude end and was never recovered. In fact, had Lee been as openly hostile as they were, I’m sure the scene would have become ugly. Lee kept his cool and remained not only civil, but kind and friendly.

At the next church, there was a longer line, but once Lee arrived at the point of filling out the little card, he was ushered to the front of the line. The volunteer there even addressed him as “Sir,” though obviously confused when she saw Lee’s work name tag which has his legal name of Lisa on it. They’d called ahead and warned them we were coming I suppose.

At least we can vote, though I’m sure there are many who believe we should not have that right either.

I couldn’t help wondering how many in both those churches were gay, lesbian, trans, and hiding. It’s no wonder they still hide.

Advertisements

November 3, 2010 - Posted by | The Gay Me | , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. even though the situation itself is just outrages, I have to say – it is funny how accomodating they got once you arrived at the second church. God forbid it is contageous! No wonder you were in and out so fast…it is in the air, you touch, you breath and the whole village gets infected…Oh, boy, and you would think that we live in 2010.
    All my respect to Lee! To keep your cool in a situation like that takes courage and a lot, I mean, a lot of patience.

    Comment by Dace | November 9, 2010 | Reply

    • I had forgotten this before, but when a church is used, or rented as a polling station, that facility is offered the paid positions, not volunteer positions, available. So all those people I assumed were volunteers were more likely Baptist church members paid to be there for the day. I’m certainly not saying all Baptists feel the way they obviously did, but those people surely didn’t want us there, at either church. It somehow helps explain it in my mind.Thanks for your comment and respect for Lee. It made his day as paused long enough to read your comment before dashing out the door for work.

      Comment by New Allie | November 9, 2010 | Reply

  2. Here I am again, always waiting to comment on something where I am not sure of how my thoughts will be accepted. I guess a week is not too long. I have a great deal in common with you Allie – I spent the first 2/3 of my life moving from one bad hetrosexual relationship to another. I had 3 failed marriages – the first 2 I was a drunk who accepted being battered because a part of me thought I deserved it – the last ended because my husband chose drugs and other women over our family.

    Then one day, after years of not even dating, I “suddenly” fell in love with a woman. Talk about confusion….for a very long time I denied my feelings….thinking I was not really understanding them….I could not be attracted to another woman in “that” way!! Gay and Lesbian people had always been in my life….I had no negative feelings about them that I was aware of. I had friends I truly loved and accepted and they loved me. I was so shocked at my own reaction to what I was feeling that I could not process my own thoughts. True, I was a fallen Catholic, who always worried in the back of my mind that I would some day have to answer for my “sins”, but this strange obsession was over the top. After much soul searching and worry, I realized that I thought of same sex relationships in much the same way as I viewed abortion! I am totally in favor of our right to choose, but I cannot see it as a choice that I personally could make. What on earth did that mean??

    Finally, I sought counsil with my beloved spiritual advisor….”Of course you should date her” she advised, “Why not?” I had no answer for that. For the record, I suppose I should note that my spiritual advisor is an ordained minister, recovering alcoholic, hetrosexual mother of 5, and the wisest woman I have ever met. Strangely enough, this relationship turned out to be an exact mirror of all my hetro relationships. Bad. Abuse, cheating and eventually drugs. After I recovered from that, I had one more intense realationship with a much younger woman, which ended the exact same way!! Upon reflection, I realize that the common denominator in all these failed relationships, with men or women, is me!

    I have now spent the past 5 years in no relationship. I have not met anyone I was interested in, and I think that I am not the marrying kind. I always say – “I am great at weddings, lousey at marriages.” (I must say, I have had some great weddings!)

    So, what do I believe today?
    **When people ask me if I am gay, my answer is: “As soon as I know, I will let you know.” For me, I just am who I am, and feel no need to “declare”. I truly am not sure where I fall in the great “category” of people who love.
    **All people should have the same rights in our country — I vote that way, I have marched (and will march again)for equal rights, I will continue to support movements for equal rights for the GLBT community whenever the opportunity presents itself.
    **I have attended many Commitment Ceremonies and weddings over the years. My experience has been that the Commitment Ceremonies were somehow more moving, spiritual, and touching than any of the weddings (except maybe my daughter’s 🙂 Gay marriage – ok, if that is important to you, you should have it. I definetly believe it should NOT be illegal…love and commitment between any two people should be honored and respected, and most of all legal! (Since more thatn 50% of all marriages end in divorce …maybe commitments would be forever.) More important to me is that all same sex couples have ALL of the RIGHTS afforded to hetro couples regarding health benefits, taxes, property owership, power of attorney, etc.
    **Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is a disgrace to the brave men and women who fight for our right to be free and equal!!
    **I firmly support the right for YOU to choose your life choices…I pray for the day that no boy or girl, man or woman, has to hide who they are. I do not think GLBT is a “choice”!! I believe that God created us ALL – exactly as we ARE!! I remain stunned that “christians” can say God is everything, but He/She apparently made a mistake on some of us!!!
    **I pray fevently for the day when young gays do not suffered the horror of bullying or abuse or discrimination of any kind.

    This is who I am….today. I will report any future changes if they occur…but I don’t see any on the horizon.

    Comment by Donna | November 10, 2010 | Reply

    • Donna,
      It just looks like so far you have subconsciously chosen people who prove that you are not worthy to be loved and to be in a good relationship. The common denominator is not you – it is how you feel about yourself.

      If you sit down and think about it and think about what all these people have in common, you will see similar personalities, similar attitudes and the same way how they treat other people. You are attracted to people who can verify what you think is true. You would not know what to do with someone who would respect you, love you, who is honest, who is committed and who would be just a nice person to people around.

      And also, these people can spot you wherever you are. You need to learn how to love yourself and how to figure out that you are special and you deserve things you long for. Once you love yourself, you will learn to let other people love you.

      Comment by Dace | November 11, 2010 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: