by Analissa Hurtado.
Every couple has their battles to overcome, but for some it is more complicated. For many years society has considered the ideal couple as a man and women. Couples of the same sex have had struggles with society. Growing up in a catholic based house hold, we were taught that relationships were between a man and a woman, and that God looks down upon people who do not comply.
For my aunt Janette and her fiancé Melissa, there have been certain boundaries and obstacles that have shaped and changed their lives. Whether it is withholding the truth about their relationship, changing behavior for the sake of the public, hurdles that come with having a same sex marriage burdened their lives every day. I personally believe that a relationship whether between a man or woman, man or man, or woman and woman, is acceptable as long as there is mutual respect and love.
Growing up, I went to church on Sundays with my whole family, and was always taught that God loves us all equally. My parents raised me to be an open minded person and not to judge others. So when seeing same sex couples, I never viewed them in a negative way. I saw two people that had strong feelings for each other and to me, that makes up a relationship.
When I saw family members frown upon couples of the same sex, I started to have this anger build inside me because I could not wrap my head around why it was wrong. I thought we should all be respectful to each other and I did not see these couples getting the same respect my parents would get. There have been plenty of times where I have heard people say that a relationship between couples of the same sex is wrong, or will be denied by God, or they will be sent to hell.
I have even been told that my relationship with God is not “real” or “strong” because I believe that we should all be equal. I feel that it is very hypocritical for someone of “faith” to make statements like those because we are taught that God wants us to love one another like he loves us. We are taught that only God can judge us, and the last time I checked the Bible never said it is okay to judge someone for being born a different way. I do not see churches allowing same sex marriages anytime soon, but I believe states should allow it because it goes against our civil rights not allowing human beings to get married. This issue is very similar to when couples of different color could not be married. The biggest conflict is with religion, and I believe religion and state should be separated.
I started my interview with my aunt’s fiance Melissa. Melissa is a twenty nine year old Diagnostic Medical Sonographer specializing in General Sonography. I still remember the day I met Melissa as if it was yesterday. I went to go watch my aunts Sunday softball team play, and Melissa was the new player on the team and she was wearing a Dodgers blue Andre Ethier shirt and I remember telling her I thought it was cute that she was wearing my “boyfriend’s” shirt. She laughed and let me know that he was her boyfriend also. Melissa and I clicked because she is outspoken and so am I. Melissa is very outragious and confident in her skin so I felt she would be more comfortable interviewing first, and it would give my aunt time to get familiar with the questions I was going to ask. For myself I thought this interview would be very easy and I would get through it quickly, but while I was sitting in their very beige, but elegant living room I got this nervous feeling because I was not sure where to start or what was appropriate to ask. With a quivering voice I vaguely asked “So, do you just like girls, or do you like guys also?”
In my head I thought to myself what a stupid first question because I already knew she had a boyfriend before, but at least it was somewhere to start. I always thought after dating a guy, she realized that she was interested in girls, but I learned that she is still physically, and emotionally attracted to both females and males. She doesn’t go out looking specifically for one particular sex, it just depended on the person. Melissa did not start dating girls until after high school. Although she does not favor one sex from the other she still finds it easier to connect to females rather than males, but it is easier to date males because it is more accepted.
The first question was difficult for her to answer was her coming out story. It seemed more difficult for her because the confidence she once had in her eyes was slipping away while she reminisced to the pass. She also started to pause more in between words. She said her family always had some suspicion and made comments, but she had always denied it until one night she was cornered into telling the truth. Melissa recalls talking on the phone with a friend,and her mom must have over heard something and that’s how she found out. Her mom then entered her room to confront the situation. Melissa said when she confirmed her mom’s suspicions her mom began to cry and said it was okay.
I then asked Melissa why she thought her mom began to cry she then said “I think she was disappointed, and hurt that I had never spoken to her about it.” I then asked her what she felt was her biggest struggle being in a same sex relationship, and what she thought of those struggles. She said being accepted by others is the biggest struggle, and she has mixed feelings because she can understand where people are coming from and why they feel a certain way, but at the same time they do not know what she is dealing with to be with someone she loves. She said “It is more annoying than anything.”
We then got in the topic of religion and how that affects her life style and what she wants in the future. She mentions that she is a little religious but going to church is an uncomfortable feeling when you know people are looking and judging you, but going to church should be a sacred feeling for everyone. She does her best to put those feelings aside and focus on what is important. v Melissa has the same idea for her future as many of us do which is to get married and raise a family, although she does know it might be more difficult than others.
My aunt Janette is a thirty year old senior buyer in supply chain management with a masters in business. She has always been my motivation because of her independence, intelligence, and grace. My aunt Janette is the youngest of four children and has always been seen as the perfect child. She always complied with all of the rules, she maintained a high GPA in school, and earned herself a full athletics scholarship to Michigan state university.
Now the question is what could possibly be her flaw? In the eyes of some her flaw is that the love of her life is the same gender as her. I am one of the very few people in our family that can accept that my aunt and Melissa are in a loving relationship, and not just two “friends” living together. My aunt has always kept her personal life every secretive, and for me it is very mysterious so when thinking of the interview I was going to have with her I saw my curiosity peeking out rather than focusing on the paper I had to write. My aunt explained that she had always had a connection with males, but was drawn more to females because of their ability to understand more emotionally. When it came to dating in high school she never wanted anything serious because by her sophomore year she already knew she would be going away for college once she graduated.
I then asked her if she felt her family knew of her interest in females and she replied saying, “I always felt like my mom knew, and she wanted to try and control the situation because she wanted me to live the life she wanted. She would tell me how disappointed and hurt she would be…she wanted me to feel guilty.” When it came to dating females it was especially harder because her mom parked her car across school events to see who she that was with. After she was done with college she came to the realization if she wanted to be involved in a relationship, and maintain her “good girl” image, she would have to move out.
She mentioned “although my family knows I have been in a relationship with Melissa for all these years I have never told them. I am ashamed to tell them, because I do not want to disappoint them.” Hearing those words quivering from my aunt struck a sadness in me. My whole life I have seen my aunt work so hard to exceed the expectations of her family and do her best to maintain their happiness. But the main joy in her own life she feels she has to keep her a secret.
Although her way of life is frowned upon by most religions that does not change her faith. “I believe in the Catholic and Christian church, I do not agree with everything they believe in, but they also won’t believe in everything I do.” She also mentioned that she will never stop believing in God or attending church just because of others point of views.
My aunts and Melissa’s relationship started four years ago through mutual friends. Although it is clear to see that they both bring much happiness to each other, their relationship has been very difficult. Melissa’s family is aware of the relationship and is very supportive, but my aunt has never openly addressed our family about her relationship. Melissa mentioned that the biggest struggle with their relationship is that my Aunt Janette’s family is not accepting of their type of relationship. She also said lots of patience is necessary because you are dealing with people viewing you as just a friend when your relationship is so much more. I could see it was difficult for my aunt to hear Melissa express how she felt about the family not knowing or being very accepting of their relationship because she feels at fault for not confronting her family.
To lighten up the mood Melissa jokingly said “it is easier being around my family because Janette and I can actually sit next to each other.” I turned to Melissa and just laughed because I truly admire that she will try to find some humor through any situation. When I felt the tension simmer down I asked my aunt to tell me about her relationship. She calmly said “our relationship is hard because we have an adult relationship and we are ready to settle down, but I still find the need to hide it from my mom.”
They both came to the realization that the only thing holding their relationship from prospering was the lack of communication within the family. Both my Aunt and Melissa told me they are ready to sit the family down and let them know that they are ready to take the next step in their relationship. As Melissa and my aunt tell me the story about their beautiful engagement on the beach and express their plans for children, I see a light of excitement in their eyes, no different than the excitement that I get when I imagine my future with the person I will one day love.
When reflecting on the interview my point of view does not change but becomes stronger. I want every couple to be able to have the relationship of their choice. I want them to be able to have the choice to get married and not feel ashamed of who they are. I want my aunt and Melissa to be able to go into church and have that sacred feeling of honoring God, and being supported by fellow members of the church. I believe society is afraid of situations out of the ordinary. We need to realize although a same sex couple is not the “typical relationship,” they still have emotions, love, desire, and respect for each other just like a socially acceptable relationship.