I’ve blogged previously about Donna Ross, the Oregon radio announcer who had a sex change operation. Donna was Ron when he married his wife, and after the sex change, Donna’s marriage to a woman named Christy remains legal and valid in Oregon and, I assume, all fifty states, because the marriage began as “one man, one woman”, and it doesn’t matter that it is now “one gender-reassigned woman, one woman”.
There must be something in the water here, because we’ve got our second legally-recognized lesbian marriage:
(Eugene Register-Guard) Russell and Marsha Taylor met at a party, fell in love, got married, had two children, grew a business and bought a big white house on a hill.
But then a funny thing happened on the way to living happily ever after: Russell became Rebecca.
Diagnosed with gender identity disorder, Rebecca Taylor last year flew to Thailand to see a doctor she regards as the best in the world for sexual reassignment surgeries. Taylor describes the day of the surgery, Feb. 12, 2004, as “my second birthday.”
The difference between who she is now and who she was then, she says, “is the difference between being real and playing a role.” In her view, gender identity disorder is no different than, say, having a cleft palate: “It’s a medical condition that needs to be fixed.”
Taylor, 38, defines herself as a homebody who dotes on her partner and children – and acts surprised when others are surprised that her marriage and family are intact.
“We are a great couple – far better now than when I was pretending to be who I was not,” she says of her spousal relationship. “We are soulmates. The idea of us not being together is ludicrous.”
“I love her,” says Marsha, who is bisexual. “It doesn’t matter to me what genitalia she has. It’s her soul, her spirit, her kindness. Overriding all that is our relationship and her parenting skills.”
Finally, in 2003, Taylor could pretend no longer, and sat down for a hard talk with Marsha: “I need to stop fighting this if I’m going to truly be happy in this life.”
Marsha, not entirely surprised, worried for her partner, her children, herself.
“I made two promises,” she says. “I said I’ll be as supportive as I can be, and I’ll never keep our kids away from you.”
She chuckles when asked how things have changed for the better since her partner became a woman.
“Well, she likes to go shopping now,” she says. “And we get to wear each other’s clothes.”
It’s hardly been easy, however. Marsha tears up as she recounts some of the schoolhouse teasing she says their daughter has endured. And, with the exception of Rebecca’s sister and Marsha’s niece, they are estranged from most everyone in their respective families.
Within the family they’ve created, they insist theirs is a normal world full of love and laughter. The biggest difference, they say, is that the kids now refer to Rebecca as “Dama” instead of “Dad.”
“Our kids know they have two parents who love them and are invested in their well-being and their happiness,” Marsha says. “So in the end, I think they’re going to be OK.”
“It doesn’t matter to me what genitalia she has. It’s her soul, her spirit, her kindness.” That’s it right there. It’s something that the American Taliban just can’t wrap their minds around; the concept that one’s genitals do not necessarily determine one’s sexuality. It seems strange to me when you consider that they are the ones who believe in souls. If there’s a soul, then Russell and Don had lesbian female souls trapped in male bodies, and Marsha and Christy’s lesbian female souls fell in love with Russell and Don’s lesbian female souls.
When straight women fall for straight men, is she falling in love with the man’s twig and berries, or is she falling in love with his soul? If he loses his family jewels in a freak accident, does she love him less?
If the marriages of Donna & Christy and Rebecca & Marsha are legally valid, and they don’t seem to be bringing down Western Civilization with their socially recognized lesbian marriage, then why should we not extend the same benefit to female couples who were both born female? If the man in “one man one woman” becomes a woman, why do they get to keep their “traditional marriage” intact?
My tongue-in-cheek theory is that the Religious Reich just has a mandatory one-penis-at-the-altar requirement for marriage. If that penis is surgically removed later, no big deal, so long as it was present for the big dress-’em-up say-the-vows matrimonial event.