Monday, October 25, 2010

A Toast from the CEO

The LTR is at a business retreat at a beautiful resort in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania and I'm along for the ride as significant others are welcome. The fact that the world has evolved enough so that the LTR could bring his same sex partner to a business function is remarkable in and of itself. But, it gets better.

At the opening reception the LTR and I were talking with a clutch of his colleagues that included his CEO. Someone asked us how long we'd been together. When we answered 23 years, the CEO proclaimed it remarkable and made a toast to us. This boggles my mind: my partner's employer, openly celebrating our same sex relationship at a business function.

It wasn't like that 23 years ago. Then, we, like most gay professionals, carefully hid everything about our relationship. We scrubbed our casual talk of pronouns like "we" lest we invite scrutiny into who "we" was. When we moved in together we carefully constructed the fiction of being "roommates." When family would visit one bedroom was set up as a decoy to show we weren't more than the fiction of platonic roomies. We would carefully clean the house of any pictures or mementos that might have suggested something more intimate was going on. Like many other gay couples going through the same thing, we called this "straightening up" the house (and I know some gay couples still go through the same thing). Such paranoia was born out of the fear that we could be fired or disowned if the truth came out. Hiding our relationship required a great deal of emotional energy and thought. If it sounds like we lived in fear, it's true. We did.

Now, nearly a quarter of a century later, we're no longer hiding. We're attending a company function as a couple and the CEO is raising his glass to our relationship.

And that's a whole lot better than the way it used to be.


Gilahi said...

Wow. Thanks for a positive story about gay relationships. It seems that we read so much negative, it's nice to hear that it's not always negative.

Ari said...

Loved it. I am happy for you guys.The CEO is a sweetheart because still not all of the CEOs are like him.
We got to remember these advancements when we want to nag next time. ;-)