Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Glimpses of Gay, part 6

Since June is widely considered Pride month, I was thinking about how I might celebrate on my blog.  My coming out story is easily accessible here on my blog using the 'coming out' tag.  But I came up with the concept I'm calling Glimpses of Gay.  This is where I will share occasions that occurred before I came out where I had a glimpse of gay life or an interaction with someone I understood to be gay.  Here's part 6:

I think it was 1992, only about a year before I left the JWs to be an out gay man, and I was working in the customer service department for the local phone company.  I received a call from a man (we'll call him John because I don't remember his actual name) who requested we change the name on the phone bill.  John said the service/bill was in the name of Roger (not his real name either) but that Roger had passed away.  He said he lived with Roger and wanted to keep the same phone number and service as is, but change the name on the account.

Not because I'm nosey but because it was a requirement of the job, I asked John if he and Roger were roommates or related in some way.  There was an elongated pause and then John said something like "Well, we weren't related legally."  There was another long pause and then he said "We were a couple."

Keep in mind that in 1992 people were just starting to hear the term "partner" used to describe a gay person's spouse, and recognized domestic partnerships and marriage equality were still a distant fantasy.  Same sex couples had little-to-no legal connection or rights.

"I'm very sorry for your loss" I said sincerely.  Then I explained the phone company's policy and what I would do for him.  I bent the rules a bit to allow him to assume the account despite John an Roger not being related, since it wasn't his fault they were unable to be legally married.  He was very appreciative and thanked me for my kindness and sensitivity.

Coincidentally I saw that the address was very close to where I lived, so I wrote down the address on a Post-it note and slid it into my pocket.  After work I stopped and purchased a sympathy card, wrote a short note inside, and delivered it to John's house.  I didn't ring the doorbell or attempt to meet him in person, but wanted to show my support for his relationship and my sympathy over his loss.

1 comment:

anne marie in philly said...

"recognized domestic partnerships and marriage equality were still a distant fantasy" - and look how far we have come! and how far we have yet to go.