7.19.12 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshotThe months of May and June were a whirlwind of activity for me and for the entire Watermark Media staff. Not only did we continue to produce high-quality issues of Watermark every two weeks and maintain an active website, we also produced two specialty publications (an in-depth Gay Days schedule and the official St. Pete Pride Program). In addition, we were present at booths, parades, parties and events throughout almost every weekend.

Each year we know we have two intense months of preparation, fun, and major work. It’s something we dread, yet look forward to each spring. But the hard work always pays off in the end and I am proud of what we accomplish each summer.

Amidst all of that very gay activity, I had the opportunity to do some not-so-gay things namely spend a few days with my vacationing family. My parents, sister and brother-in-law and their two daughters spent two weeks exploring the theme parks of Central Florida. It was an opportunity for me to see the nieces I hadn’t laid eyes on in two years and visit with my parents.

Back in May I wrote in this space detailing my apprehension about seeing the girls, who are now old enough to ask specific questions of their uncle. The questions I dreaded most were: Why aren’t you married? Do you have a girlfriend?

See, the girls have no idea that I’m gay nor do they have a clue that I’ve been in a relationship with a man for longer than either one of them has been alive. I just knew the 12-year-old would ask me some direct questions, or that the 8-year-old would ask about the ring on my finger.

They don’t know their uncle is gay because, quite simply, my sister doesn’t want them to know. Their uncle living 1,500-plus miles away makes their cluelessness easier to maintain. That’s the right of her and her husband as parents, I suppose.

When I met the family at the Magic Kingdom, I was prepared to answer any questions my nieces had of me directly and honestly. I formulated a response that not only answered their questions but also directed them back to their mother for details on why they were never informed of their other uncle.

Amazingly and honestly, to my somewhat disappointment the subject of my personal relationships never came up. The girls were more interested in checking out the attractions within the park (at least the non-educational ones), asking questions about growing up with their mother and sharing stories surrounding their respective activities ranging from church plays and school friends to softball and soccer games.

It made me realize that kids don’t really care about what we do or who we have relationships with as adults. The personal life of their uncle or anyone else for that matter is totally removed from their world. They care about what they’re doing, who they see and what awaits them next on their path.

It’s a smart way to live, and adults could learn from that perspective.

As more and more cities and counties throughout our state approve domestic partnership ordinances to give at least some rights to unmarried couples, it’s become clearer that the personal relationships of adults are just that personal. Very few area residents protested the idea of granting partners basic rights. Those who are opposed to same-sex marriage have seen that granting those rights to same-sex couples has absolutely no impact on their daily lives. The institution of marriage remains safe.

Domestic partnership registries are not marriage and they will never be a substitute for same-sex marriage. However, they are a step toward marriage equality, whether they are packaged and sold as that or not.

Someday, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, I’ll have an opportunity to share more of myself with my nieces. One day it will no longer be about their inquisitive minds, asking questions of their uncle. It will simply being people sharing stories about their lives.

Through continuing progress, my hope is that they will be as affected by my sexual orientation as I am by theirs.

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