I had a very interesting conversation with a former colleague today. Unfortunately, it made me realise that fear of homosexuality and misunderstanding around what for me is a natural state of affairs has still some way to go before it is a thing of the past.
I was aware that he wanted to talk to me as he was hanging around the reception area for the office I was visiting for no apparent reason. A few perfunctory exchanges about this weekend, last weekend and ‘what I’d been up to’ followed before I was challenged (most politely) about who this new chap in my life was?
I explained he was the most important person to me and I was extremely happy to be in a relationship with him. The look of patronising pity which crossed his face was overwhelming. Actually, it was me who probably felt most pity – that he couldn’t accept I may have found happiness with someone who just happened to be of the same gender.
The final blow was the passing comment, meant to reassure me that my best interests were at the forefront of his mind. ‘I just feel so sorry for you both knowing that you’ll never know the sort of love I share with my wife.’
To say my gob had rarely been so smacked is something of an understatement. Why the gender of his partner should define the nature and intensity of the love he feels as opposed to that I feel for mine – well I can’t quite understand the logic.
I had hoped this kind of narrow minded characterisation was a thing of the past. Clearly I was a little too hopeful in that regard.
For what it’s worth I couldn’t be happier than I am with my partner. His gender is not the issue, his humanity, compassion, love and respect are. I don’t require anyone’s pity and we’re doing just fine thank you very much. If you can’t accept that then it’s better you write me off as a lost cause – because I have no intention of changing to ease your sensitivities.