A few weeks ago I asked for people to send in any questions that you had about me so that I could answer them and we could get to know one another better. The following question is one that’s come up over and over again in the past few weeks. So I figured, rather than just letting the answer live for 24 hours on an Instagram story, I’d also talk about it here.
More or less, the question is, “I noticed that ever since you came out as queer, you started referring to Ryan as your ‘partner’ instead of your ‘husband’. What’s the story?”
This also is a subject that has come up a few times since an interview that I did for the Hutchinson News (which I’ve never been able to find online so I can’t link it for you) came out where Ryan is referred to as my partner.
For starters, I don’t think it’s something that I started doing since I came out? Maybe I started doing it more after that? I’m not sure. I’ve been calling Ryan my partner since we started dating because being 32 years old and saying “boyfriend” felt really weird in my own mouth. Also when we were engaged, I couldn’t bring myself to say the word “fiancé” because it’s just so… fancy. When we were first married, I did like the way that “husband” sounded for a while but I just keep going back to partner because it just feels the most right to me.
Personally, in the past year or so, I’ve been trying to remove unnecessarily gendered words from my speech patterns. For example, I’ve been trying really hard to say, “hello friends” instead of “hey guys”. It sounds like a really easy swap to make but it can actually be quite challenging!
I have a few friends who identify as genderqueer, non-binary, or agender and a few of them go by “they/ them” pronouns. I want to respect those friends by using words that make them feel included and in doing that, I want to also train myself to see gender in my language and make changes where/ if I can. It’s just something I want to be pro-active about in my own life. As someone who has experienced the feeling of seeing that certain spaces were not created for my comfort, I want to do what I can to make my spaces into something that’s inclusive and welcoming for as many people as possible.
I’ve also started (trying to remember) to add captions to my Instagram stories and image descriptions to images that I post online when they’re related to my blog. It’s just some small habits that can make interactions with me more pleasant and welcoming for more and more people.
But really, when it comes down to it, I simply call Ryan my partner because I like the word. I think it describes our relationship really well. We live in partnership with one another. We’re teammates. I’ve asked Ryan how he feels when I call him my partner and he says that he doesn’t care one way or another. He calls me his wife–that feels good to him and it doesn’t bother me at all.
I added a new category on my blog called Q&A, so any time I get a question that might make a good blog topic, I’ll tag it as such. With that in mind, feel free to reach out with your questions either via comment, Instagram, Facebook, or email (libby (at) xoxolib.com).
What about you? What do you call your person? If you’ve ever been engaged, did “fiancé” feel as weird to you as it did to me??