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author: DJH, CT
This website is a great addition to the gay community but more importantly is a great site for everyone. It is a wonderful opportunity for free expression about what being gay is all about and hopefully an opportunity to help educate and inform, and at the same time provide a forum for sharing experiences and identify those organizations and businesses that are inclusive and supportive of all people.
We are a gay couple and have been together for 12 years, having established a home and family and circle of friends that have allowed us to grow and feel safe and secure with who we are and how we live. It has not always been easy but has been an evolutionary process and one that has helped us to grow personally and allowed us to help those around us grow in their understanding and acceptance as well. And even though we are lucky enough to have all of that in our lives, it is never far from our minds that we are not always accepted or even welcome in many places simply because of who we are, which is something that we cannot, and choose not to deny.
We recently purchased a second home in a gated community in Florida. The excitement of the search and the possibilities for the future became clouded when we discovered that, before the purchase could be finalized, we were subject to an interview process with the board of the homeowner?s association. The closing on the property was contingent on their final approval of us and our purchase. Ordinarily, this would seem to be a mere technicality we are upstanding members of the community, have solid careers, excellent credit, a stable home life and family and friends, and yet we were struck with a sense of anxiety over the entire process and potential outcome.
Would the interview process, rather than being a formality, become an opportunity for discrimination by the board members as a result of our sexual orientation? How should we act? Should we deny the fact that we were a couple and in doing so deny ourselves and act as if we were "friends" investing in property? Were we going to be judged by how we were labeled as a gay couple, or would we be judged for who we are as people? Is discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal in the state? If so, would we seek legal recourse? If we were denied the approval necessary to complete the sale, what would be our next steps?
How unfortunate that we, as solid citizens with so much to offer, had to think this way, and plan a contingency in the event that we might be judged based on people's preconceived notions and biases over a label.
There is a happy ending on this particular example did exist. We had the required meeting, and the board members were delightful. We closed on our purchase and met our new neighbors and were welcomed by all that we came across. This is the kind of result that everyone should be able to expect. We feel lucky and blessed that it occurred, but have full knowledge that it could have gone differently.
It is still unfortunate that we are very often not perceived as a unit or couple, but as two "guys". How often we are still treated differently when out in public two friends or buddies rather than as a couple. And if we are a considered a couple, we are still, at times stared at, treated differently, etc. It is a daily struggle to remain true to who we are and be part of the mainstream but it is something that all gay people face at one time or another.
So, to sum it up, we as a society have come a long way towards acceptance and tolerance for gays in the mainstream, but we still have very far to go. Every day events for gay couples and families are still always subject to that nagging fear of non acceptance and discrimination. We have every faith and belief that as a society we will continue to evolve, and grow toward acceptance toward embracing everyone for who they are and what they bring to the human experience. This web site is something that should go a long way in encouraging and enabling that evolution and we applaud and will support those that created and support it.