My partner shares my lukewarm feelings about the institution of marriage. We had several chats before reaching consent to get engaged for pragmatic legal reasons. Neither of us factored in our medical history, it doesn’t feel relevant in our day to day life. I legally changed my sex and name on my birth certificate well over a decade ago, and I’m done medical transition.
Typically, I’m okay with my hands. I like that my fur goes onto the top part of my hand and the back of first knuckles. I’ve found a watch style that works for my wrists. But most rings make me self-conscious of my slim fingers. Thus, shopping for a wedding band has been slightly tinged with managing the potential for dysphoria. I don’t plan on wearing the ring daily, but still, I care to buy one I will enjoy wearing on those special occasions. Hence I am putting time, consideration and effort into selecting one, though it is extending the number of rings I’m trying on, ergo time spent managing this dysphoria. I’m down to two, and will be relieved when my selection is finalised.
As part of giving our notice of marriage, we had to be interviewed separately. Cis friends of ours have recently gone through the process and gave us a summary according to the questions they felt were noteworthy. We love these friends but they definitely had their cisnormative lens on. Thus I found myself, after providing government issued ID and proof of address, asked if I had ever gone by any other name. How I loath that question, even if I understand the need for it. Later, during his interview, my partner found himself asked if he knew whether I had ever gone by any other name. There were a handful of other questions that made us similarly shudder.
[Photo of wedding bands inside an empty wineglass by Denny Müller on Unsplash.]
In a parallel fashion, the whole process has been tinged with the continuous wrongful assumption I might be getting married to gain citizenship through my partner. I have dual citizenship, it is in fact him who will gain one of mine through this process. Yet because of my accent, everyone looks right at me when variously remind us immigration officers will be in the building during our ceremony, or inquiring if we require additional paperwork to account for immigration. Meanwhile, we are filling out the necessary paperwork so he can apply for citizenship when we land back in my country of origin after our wedding. I cannot wait to leave.
We are opting to write our own vows. We have to run them by City Hall beforehand to ensure there will be no mention of religion. That will be easy, neither of us are believers in any spirituality. We are feeling empowered to leave out mentions of health, and other Judeo-Christian centric language that doesn’t resonate with our lived experience or values. But we have to include one line about fidelity, which runs counter to my polyamory. Sigh.
Crafting the list of guests brings up concerns about informing certain relatives who don’t know and won’t support when they find out, as well as who to sit with whom given those with an ongoing track record of disclosing zombienames. We are exercising the option to not invite select people, and we are keeping it to quite a small gathering. But some of these people we have complex histories with we nonetheless want present for our day, and so the delicate brainstorm continues…