Robin’s excellent guest blog yesterday created an interesting coincidence, time-wise. Today I have a short story out under the other name, very much about gender identity and the rules surrounding it. There’s a lot of personal story tied up in this as well as the gender politics, so I think it makes sense to begin at the beginning.
I fell in love with an American. I’m English. Now, if you happen to have a ton of money, then I get the impression moving to a different country is not so very difficult. Border control agencies are very happy to welcome your wealth into their nation. For ordinary people who fall in love, all you can do is move to marry. If you can’t afford to be running back and forth between countries to date each other, this means either you don’t do it, or you take the plunge. I took the plunge, and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. But, the rules about who can move where make life very difficult if you and your soul mate did not arrange to be born into the same area of legal jurisdiction.
Most countries can cope with the idea of international heterosexual couples. I didn’t get very far into the process of paperwork with Tom before it dawned on me that a gay couple would have a very hard time of it. The UK has something akin to gay marriage, but plenty of countries don’t recognise it at all. What happens if the person you fall in love with is not of the opposite sex, and neither of you were forward sighted enough to be born in a country that accepts gay marriage? What then?
People should be free to love each other. The only rules we have should be the ones we agree between ourselves, aside from laws that people all hold in common, whether they happen to be sharing a bed or not. I also feel very strongly that there should be no laws about general human conduct that do not reach into the bedroom. It ought to be even handed.
Relationship is central to druidry. We understand ourselves as being in relationship with all things. There are justifications for protective laws around relationship – avoiding power imbalances and vulnerable people being taken advantage of against their will. However, when it comes to consenting adults, there should be no legal barriers to love. Nor should we prioritise one kind of relationship over another. It bugs me that there’s also this huge emphasis on marriage as sexual relationship, and that being the only kind of partnership recognised under law. Why can’t people enter true civil partnerships, as people who wish to live together and take responsibility for each other, but are not identifying as a sexual couple? Why not make that available to anyone who wants, or needs it, as a strong foundation for dedicated relationships of all shapes, that gives easy legal cover to the parties involved?
Relationship is so much more than sexual coupling. We have such narrow definitions about how people are supposed to love each other and interact with each other. They aren’t rules, just habits of thinking, and if we discarded them and started over, with relationship as the core concept, not sex, I think we could do amazing things. I’d bet people would still have sex with each other too.
If anyone is curious about the fiction title, It’s part one of a three part series, the first being He comes and goes – http://www.loveyoudivine.com/index.php?main_page=document_product_info&cPath=26&products_id=879