Hi, there. I’m JD Fox.
And my husband of nearly twenty years, as of today, is Gary Alton Fox.
I am moved by this in multiple ways, including simply being touched and honored that he has taken my name. But I also can’t help but think of it in terms of queer history and its significance.
Non-queers have both the luxury and burden of a privileged status that already has rules of convention in place for not only what a marriage looks like but what happens to the names. This is not to say they are good norms — they are quite sexist in fact — but just that they exist.
They can be followed or not followed, but they are there nonetheless.
Gary and I got married at a time – 1996, the year of DOMA — when we weren’t recognized legally as such. We even battled with our religious organization over using the term marriage in our wedding ceremony; of using the term wedding.
The kind of battle where people take sides and our side was the minority; only a fraction of people showed up to our wedding, compared to a full house and unilateral support for non-queer unions.
But we got married, considered ourselves married, and winged it, having to create what it meant to us from scratch with little social support and no real point of reference other than our love for one another.
When we legally married in 2013, we kept our names. After all, we’d already been married in our hearts and faith for 17 years. So that year’s Justice of the Peace visit and subsequent paperwork was just a bureaucratic formality, right? Just a way of getting those 1000+ benefits…
Yet it didn’t feel like just a formality. Far from it. The kind of far that I’m not sure a non-queer person can truly appreciate. The kind of far that has little to do with matters of benefit and more to do with matters of heart.
We deliberately chose to be with each other all those years ago and reaffirmed that decision in 2013, winging it as well. We talked about names and hyphenated names without a convention to either go with or go against.
At the time, we each decided to keep our name.
But that was then and this is now, and Gary, by his winged choice, is now a Fox; we are Mr. and Mr. Fox.
Has a nice ring to it, don’t it?