Marriage Equality: A Perspective from an Intersex, Lesbian, Unitarian Universalist from Mississippi
Growing up, the emphasis I learned from my surroundings was that family was important. Family was women getting married and having a family. Family was if you brought children from a previous marriage into a new one that they were treated no different. In all of these things, there was love.
However, there were stirrings in the back of my mind that made me feel different in a way that I kept people at a distance and was probably a bully myself.
To make a long story short: when I was twenty-one years old I found out that I had a genetic condition known as Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, which means that I have XY chromosomes, but I was born and raised physically female. I describe myself as Intersex. A year after finding out that I was intersex, I “came out” as lesbian.
Being intersex has a shame and secrecy attached to it that makes people feel sub-human. I thought being married and having a family was the norm. But then I found out that not only would I never bear children, but without this condition, I would have fathered children, not birthed them. Imagine my shock and confusion for quite some time!
Being intersex female means that my relationship with a woman is seen as a lesbian relationship (homosexual); however, genetically, we’re opposite sex (me XY and she XX). If I were to be with a man, socially we’d be a heterosexual couple, and genetically a homosexual couple.
There is talk about “traditional marriage.” There is talk about going against God’s Word. I grew up with the belief and understanding that marriage was for two people who love each other. Marriage was a bond of love, honor, and friendship..So why a big stink about two people of the same gender being married? If a religious clergy feels they cannot perform a marriage ceremony, then that’s okay! There are faiths and churches that do allow same-sex unions. (Shout out to Unitarian Universalists!) My wife and I married in 2010 in Ellisville, Mississippi, at Our Home Universalist Unitarian Church.
Marriage means many things to many people. As a lesbian, I must look at the legal side of marriage also because those are the benefits I am denied. I am denied the right to be counted as a family on mine or my wife’s medical insurance. We are denied possible tax breaks. We will not be counted for any government benefits after death. Unmarried couples have no legal rights to their partner (gay or straight). There are some instances where the couples can have Power of Attorney, Medical Wills, and other legal documents to protect each other’s rights. When I married my own wife, we had to fill out, notarize, and sign (with witnesses) forms that are about 10 pages long giving each other rights in cases of medical intervention and death. Whereas, those married couples under the law only need one piece of paper – a marriage license.
While it is okay to not be “for” marriage equality, my marriage shouldn’t be banned simply because some religion or political party or individuals don’t agree with it. They are entitled to that belief, but no one is entitled to deny me equal protection under the law.
This post was written by Amy Hinton. You can find her at amyhinton.wordpress.com.