The other day, I crossed the Canada/US border with my girlfriend. Something I’ve noticed is that the US border agents are pretty serious. I mean they have a serious job of making sure terrorists, traffickers, drug runners and other criminals don’t enter their country. And that makes sense… but I am not trafficking or a terrorist.
When we were speaking with the US border agent, we were asked the usual questions. “Where are you coming from? Where do you live? Where are you headed? Why are you headed there? How long will you be?” And… “Are you two sisters? How do you two know each other? Just what is your relationship? ” Wait. What??
Is it because I seem close with my girlfriend? I mean when you’re dating someone of course you seem close to them. You’re best friends. You laugh, cry, love and support one another. How would you not be close?
But these questions and the manner of questioning were said in a malicious and probing manner. I looked to my girlfriend and the border guard. “We’re friends.” If there’s something I’ve learned upon coming out and being true to yourself is that sometimes you have to lie and sacrifice the truth in order to remain safe. Is it ideal? No. Does it hurt? Yes. Is it upsetting? Of course. Who wouldn’t want to live a life of just being able to be honest (not just when asked) and tell everyone you meet that the love of your life is the person you’re with no matter what biological sex they are? But it seems to be a problem even in the 21st century even when world countries and states (in the US) slowly pass Same sex marriage laws.
Silent vieled bigotry in the form of questions such as “How are you two related?” Are things we face. Had we answered honestly who knows what the border agent would have done of said. Would we have been turned around and told to stay in our country and denied entry to the US? It’s possible. As a border agent who has powers of deciding who enters her country, who knows what she could have said to deny us the power of entry simply because she didn’t like the look of us.
Anti-hate laws aren’t exactly formed into the US constitution or laws like they are in Canada. And even if they were, from my experience, I’ve found homophobic or ignorant people find other excuses to use in order to spread ignorance and homophobia. Is it fair? No. It reminds me of the closet door I have come through and tried to keep open. It reminds me that sometimes it’s safer to lie because I am different than the majority. It reminds me that some people will never approve of who I love and I try not to let it reflect on me because I know in my heart that I’m not a bad person. But this is why we continue to fight for human rights and stamp out bigotry and ignorance. We do so one person at a time, educating them about ourselves to show that the only difference is that we love someone of the same sex. Our love is otherwise the same. We still want the same things that other couples want: health, happiness, love, support. Maybe one day ignorance will die off or at least be a distant, faded memory. I hope I get to see such a day.