The “My Partner/Rainbow Flag” Bait and Switch

My mother says all dermatologists are weird, and she should know, as she’s probably been through at least 10 of them. I’m only on about my third, but she’s pretty weird. Well, brusque. Very brusque. And yesterday, she referenced her partner. She wears a wedding ring and has previously referenced her children. I soon will wear a wedding ring, I have children, and I reference them often. I am a big fat 3 dollah queer. Is she?

I pondered this as I submitted to her rough handling of my body parts as she checked my skin for moles and other blemishes that need an eye kept on them. She pulled out the cup of my bra and hauled up my hefty bosom to check under there. She hoisted my legs up, one by one, and checked around the elastic of my undies. She was so focused that my attempts at small talk fell on deaf ears. When I realized this, I smiled into the examination table (being currently face down), because I secretly like this feeling of being some version of an inanimate object. It can happen at the dentist, too, when they get so into the crown or whatever it is that they use your chest as a tray to hold their instruments – I like feeling like a table. Ahem. Back to yesterday:

She said “My partner,” and I couldn’t figure out who she meant. She does have a business partner there at the practice who is female and who may or may not be her wife. Maybe she has a wife at home and they have kids together. I actually almost asked, but was too busy getting off on being an inanimate object to formulate the question. But it does bring me to the subject of groovy, supportive straight people. You know, the ones who think they’re with you in solidarity but who really are just being pains in the ass?

There’s a woman up at the elementary school who drives a car with a rainbow sticker on it, but she never comes to the gay-parent potluck. Is she stand-offish, or is she straight? I recently asked someone about her, (I can’t remember who) and this person said that she’s straight but groovy. “Maybe her sister is gay and she’s showing her support!” the person opined. Ok, I do not feel supported by a straight person driving a car with a rainbow sticker on it. I feel tricked, especially because if she were queer, she would probably be a femme.

I don’t think it’s helpful for straight people to say “my partner” when they mean their husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend of the opposite sex. It’s just confusing. I know they are trying to get with us queers somehow, but can’t they find their own word if they don’t want to use husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend? We worked hard for partner, and it’s hardly perfect. Now it doesn’t even mean what we wanted it to because straight people are using it to be friends with us. Perhaps this ship has sailed and this is the eighty-millionth rant about this particular subject, but it still chaps me and I still have to live with it.

Please, straight people, if you want to support us, drive a car with any number of other lovely bumper stickers on it — “Straight but not narrow” come to mind — but leave the rainbow alone. Please just say husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend when you’re talking about your mate. When you say “my partner” I get this false sense of hope that maybe I’ve run into another queer and that is not nice when it’s not true. It makes me grumpy and sad when it turns out you’re just another groovy “supportive” straight type, and I’m really much less inclined to be friends with you than I might have been, so your ploy actually backfired.

In fact, the bait and switch makes me so grumpy, that I’m going to repost one of my very first blog entries that I put somewhere else before I had this blog. Stay tuned and watch your damn p’s and q’s!!!

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Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 2:20 AM  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. ‘partner’ was very common for straights & queers alike in england which had me very confused for a while. i sort of like it now, though, as a category for the unmarried but more than boy/girl/boi/grrlfriend. but rainbow flags for the straights? now that does seem fishy. maybe she’s bi? or her husband transitioned a long time ago? or she did? or hope springs eternal in my heart?

  2. Bless you for hope springing eternal in your heart, because we sure need that!

    Probably not to the extent of accidentally purchasing a rainbow sticker for your car, but people can make mistakes. Once a straight friend of mine went to yoga class and just couldn’t figure out why this very butchy lesbian kept being so solicitous and friendly to her, and then when she got home she realized she was wearing her DUKES OF DYKEDOM AND PRINCESSES OF PORN tank top that she’d got when the two of us went to see them. OOOPS!!!


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