Sometimes we don't even notice the little slights of the big world. We're so immured to the minimization of our relationships and even our genders at times that we fall into line without thinking.
Have you ever filled out a survey or "loyalty card" application for your local supermarket and been faced with the boxes that ask if you're "single or married"? If you're in a relationship, which did you choose? Did you automatically just check "single" because you can't be married and not give it another thought? Did it eat at you just a little bit that there was no box for relationships that aren't allowed legal protections but are just as important, deep, and lasting as married couples?
What about those forms that ask for your "husband" or "wife" in the name field? Do you just leave it blank? Do you write in your partner's name?
I decided long ago I would no longer allow corporations to minimize my relationship. I wouldn't fall into line when professional survey takers assumed that my relationship isn't valid based on their personal view of an "Ozzie and Harriet" world.
Image via WikipediaToday, when faced with those boxes I check "married" unless the form specifically says "legally married" in that case I write in "Partnered", refusing to be placed in their pre-assigned categories or to assist them in minimizing my relationship.
Likewise, when faced with "husband" or "wife" I do not omit Michael's name. I simply scratch out the gender biased term and write in "spouse" or "partner."
This is a quiet act of protest. Perhaps in the big scheme of things it means little, but one thing is abundantly clear. The person who reads that form knows that I am offended by this act of exclusion and they know that I will defy their efforts to keep me marginalized through ignorance.
Perhaps even more, it is my way of constantly affirming that my relationship is just as valid in my eyes as any other. It is my way of saying that I love my spouse/partner and I will not, under any circumstances, allow someone else to determine whether I acknowledge him or not.
The next time you're faced with a form at your grocer's, your doctor's office, a survey on the street, or even a subscription to a magazine let them know that we won't stand by while they decide whether our relationships are worthy of their notice and recognition.