Despite our closeness, I have been assumed everything in relation to my partner, but a girlfriend. Once we were even asked, “Are you two…sisters?” As my boifriend is a blue-eyed towhead with translucent skin, and I use the same shade of MAC studio fix as Lupita Nyong’o, I resisted the urge to launch into a faux story about us being twins with different fathers due to an unfortunate LSD fueled mix-up at the community bathhouse.
Generally speaking, when we aren’t assumed strangers (the assumption we are strangers holding hands as we walk is a topic for another article), we most frequently get pegged as friends. This no longer shocks me, but the more time that goes by, the more the title irritates me.
It’s as if people are erasing all the work we do to be together. I wish I could explain our division of labor! As the official white person, my boifriend talks to all police and/or security guards on our behalf. As the official cis person, I provide bathroom escort services. As the official trans person, he provides a barrier between myself and cat callers. As the official femme person, I carry all of our things in my purse. When I realized Catholic parishes are extremely triggering for him, I found us a new place to worship. When he realized the dentist is extremely triggering for me, he came with me to my next visit. We argue directions because clearly, I’m always right and he’s always wrong. We cry about our moms, as well as the fact we were too broke to buy tickets to the “On the Run” tour. We fight to get seats next to one another on flights. We go to name change court dates and hearings. We do many things in bed, including but not limited to sleep!
When people refuse to acknowledge we are romantically involved, it’s like a reminder of how people hardly understand what a beautiful cluster-fudge it is being in an interracial queer relationship. We navigate so many forms of oppression, and we still manage to keep the cat fed and the refrigerator stocked. We keep surviving and we keep loving one another.
While I’m not sure any one word can explain the above. But for now, I’ll have to rest assured that I know what I am to my boifriend, and the title of “friend” will never quite cover it.