Earlier today while Daniel was mowing the lawn and I was washing dishes I recalled a close friend’s parent asking them “who was the girl” in my relationship. The question surfaces up one of the things I think is most awesome about same-sex relationships: there are no “expected” gender roles so we get to do whatever works for us expectation-free.
Daniel and I split up some of the classic gender roles in a variety of ways, usually playing to our strengths (he loves the outdoors and nature) and personalities (I’m an OCD clean-freak).
- He usually cooks and I do the dishes. When I bake he does dishes.
- We both wash and fold laundry.
- He mows the lawn. He gardens.
- He deals with the compost. I take the trash and recycling out.
- I vacuum the house. He cleans the toilets.
- We both do the grocery shopping.
- He takes care of the pets (and by pets I mean house plants).
- I wash the car. He takes pictures of me washing the car.
- He handles the house plumbing. I take care of the electrical work.
- We both work; I make more than he does (tech vs government sectors).
- Daniel does more of the emotional labor in the relationship (this is something I acknowledge and am working on).
- I pester him about calling his mother and reminding him of friends’ birthdays.
- I throw pottery. He blows glass. We both sew.
- He does woodworking. I write code.
- I lift weights and run. He rides a bike and played rugby.
- I’m vain about my hair (and never notice when he gets his cut).
- We both have some body-image issues.
Of course, most of the time when someone asks that question they’re really talking about sex. And to that I just have to laugh because it does nothing but highlight just how limited some people’s ideas of sex actually are. If you have to ask the question, you’re probably doing sex wrong.1
1 And frankly, that’s none of their damn business anyway. What’s wrong with these people?
Last week Daniel and I attended Critical Northwest, the annual Seattle-region Burning Man. This was our second time to go, the first was in 2015, and one of the things that we felt was lacking in 2015 was a sense of gay community.
This year we put a concerted effort into building and fostering queer community before the event. In the spirit of radical inclusion we decided to focus on a larger queer1 community rather than just a gay community. We created a Facebook sub-group for Critical Northwest Queers to create ideas, we contacted theme camps and encouraged them to host queer-centric events, and we collated and displayed all queer events as part of the Queer Agenda with Camp Waystation during the week.
And overall I think our efforts were successful! I heard from numerous people how they felt that the event this year was explicitly, not just implicitly, queer-friendly and welcoming. The spirit of queer-inclusion seemed to bleed over into other camps flying various Pride flags which was fantastic.
But a queer community does not necessarily imply a gay community. Over the course of the week out of ~1200 participants Daniel and I only found 10 other male-identified people that seemed a part of the gay community — that seemed like our people — and very few of those attended the queer events. So while it felt really great knowing that others were finding their community this year, it was frustrating to feel that we still weren’t finding ours after putting a concerted effort into it.
There are a plethora of possibilities as to why so few gay men went to Critical. Perhaps there were well more than 10 other gay men out there that we never met. Perhaps gay men who were there didn’t identify as queer or weren’t looking for a community. Perhaps gay men are less likely to attend a regional burn (I don’t know what percentage of Burning Man participants are gay men). Perhaps this was an off year. Perhaps my expectations and hopes were just too high.
Regardless of the reason we don’t feel like we found our community at Critical.
1 Yes, I used the word queer although I still cringe internally every time. LGBTQ+ is utterly unpronounceable.