Oh, Dewey, Where Would You Put Me?

Oh, Dewey, Where Would You Put Me?

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There aren’t many role models for male-partnered queer women to be out, or express pride. It inspired me that Ms. Gedlinske wears suits and ties, consistently acknowledging her identity instead of lying by omission, as I have. It has often felt easier to keep my story on a high shelf instead of constantly explaining myself.

I wanted to get married in jeans and a flowing white Indian blouse, like one of my heroines, Gloria Steinem. When I told my mother, she cried with the same bewilderment as she had when I came out as gay at 19. A purple pantsuit might have been a fun compromise. Instead, I listened to my mother and got married in a simple, short, unadorned white dress.

When the minister said, “An Episcopal marriage is between a man and woman,” I wanted to bash him over the head with my bouquet. I can still see the pain in the eyes of one of my queer friends at those words. Why didn’t I ask the minister to revise the script? Why was I chicken?

I’m not chicken anymore. I try to rewrite scripts all the time. I rallied a group of my students — all women of color, some also queer — to help me dismantle everything offensive about the Dewey Decimal system. We re-shelved a lot of the library. When I asked one student where queer books should go, her words brought tears to my eyes: “I want queer books to be everywhere. Because love is everywhere.”

My school library now contains 20,000 volumes. Like my relationship with Stefan, it’s ever-changing, always being recataloged. Becoming parents has been our most beautiful reclassification of all. Our daughters, now 8 and 2, have truly shown us the limitlessness of love.

These days our marriage is as capacious as a library, holding everything under the sun. It holds inside jokes, lying side-by-side, laughing in the dark. It holds pregnancy losses, my father-in-law’s Parkinson’s and dementia. It holds hospice. It holds our toddler’s giddy peals of laughter. It even holds my queerness, a rainbow sparkle dusted over the overflowing shelves of our life together.

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