It is a simple process to diminish a persons worth, place them in the category of 2nd class citizen and devalue their human capacity to love. Really, it is as simple as structuring laws around ideology of religions or “morals” or outdated notions that fetter the love of two adults.
Walking up to the counter to pick up my prescription I knew that it would be a little pricey. I don’t have medical insurance, even though my partner of 8 years works in Law Enforcement and has excellent benefits, I cannot be added because we are not “legally married.”
That’s what they say, “you have to be legally married” as if this were an option that is available to us but we have been too stupid or lazy to take the time to wed one another.
I give the pharmacist my name and he happily asks for my insurance card. Seems like a simple question but this question is deeper than having no insurance or having insurance.
Though I have worked since I was 15 years old, paid into the system like everyone else and had insurance up until a year and a half ago I chose (a real choice) to return to school. Any other woman, who “chose” to marry a man with insurance could make this decision without being worried about her medical future. I, on the other hand, am not privy to these options.
When I explain that I have no insurance the pharmacist says, “I don’t want to tell you the price.” I ask if it is pretty bad and he again replies, “I really don’t want to tell you.” He turns the computer screen in my direction and I notice the price $350.45. I chuckle and say, “I expected it to be around $300.00.” He just stares at me and then points to the bottom of the screen. $658.45! “I can’t pay that” was my feeble reply. Shock doesn’t really convey my disbelief because really, I’m angry. I’m absolutely washed over with anger, rage that can only bring about tears.
I call my doctor wanting a cheaper alternative, but I know that my call is in vain. I understand that my call will only be met with, “not sure what to tell ya” or “sorry, there is no generic.”
Yet I can see, in my minds eye, that prescription card in my partners’ wallet, sitting there, providing a warm blanket of comfort. A woobie of security that will not be extended to me, or be able to wrap it’s loving care of health around my shoulders. This card is missing my name. This card that identifies her only as single is a lie. She is not single!
She pays all of the bills, supporting our three kids and us. She is not single; she is happily partnered for eight wonderful years. In this time we have made our commit for one another known to our family, friends, co-workers, fellow students, our community-at-large and quite frankly the whole world if it would let us.
In this time we have made memories as a family, each and everyday. We eat at the dinner table every night. We share our “best” and “worst” moments of the day while we eat home cooked meals. We have all laughed together, often. We have yelled at one another less often. We have experienced loss of friends together and the birth of friend’s children. We have taken road trips across half the nation, all five us packed into a small car, just to dangle our feet in foamy ocean waters, lay in the sun and take too many pictures of the same sand dollar.
We have spent all our holidays with our families, taking turns to go to California to visit hers, and the other years with my family in Utah. My kids are given Christmas cards and gifts from her family and my family extends the same love of her son.
We are a family. A family stretched across this nation through family lineage. Our ancestors worked just as hard, as diligently and maintained their loyalty to this nation. Yet this nation isn’t loyal to me. This nation continues to degrade my life by simple things like insurance cards.
All of this simply because I didn’t fall in love with a man. Simply because I “chose” to share my life with my best friend, confidante, cheer leading squad and the absolute purest love I’ve ever experienced. That’s not good enough. I “chose” to disrupt a societal system of dominant thinking. I “chose” to live a life that is second class FOR love, but still, that’s not enough. Even handing over 658.45 (which I didn’t do, simply because who has that kind of money) would it wrap me up the warm blanket of acceptance? Would that money guarantee me that I’d never have to feel the sting of second-class citizenship?
Of course not!
The only way that I will be allowed to feel like a full citizen of the United States is when laws change. When people, regardless of sexual orientation, recognize that my love is no less than theirs. That my commitment to my family, friends, children and lover are no different.