Dr. Darcy defends the value of gay marriage

Ask A Mental Health Professional

Dear Dr. Darcy:

I’m writing less to seek advice than to seek a voice regarding the issue of gay marriage and our community’s relentless pursuit of this patriarchal right. At the micro-level, I find it unnecessary; at the macro-level, I feel it a poor use of lesbian resources. I wonder if the recent surge in number of lesbian femmes (thank you, L Word) has prompted a need for us to mime hetero relationships. After all, femmes have historically remained GUG (gay until [college] graduation), opting out of our lifestyle in lieu of the entitlements that accompany straight life. Do you think that poster women such as yourself unnecessarily promote a hetero agenda, and if so, would you rethink writing your monthly column for the greater lesbian good?

I respect that you don’t have a need to exercise the human right to marry your life partner. Similarly, I don’t have a need to exercise my right to undergo an abortion, though I’d fight tooth and nail to preserve that right for others who might find themselves in need of that procedure.

I don’t think that the issue of gay marriage is any more femme-serving than it is butch or boi (or insert your preferred identity here) serving. I don’t think it mimes hetero relationships any more than fighting for the right to vote indicated a female’s desire to be male. I am hardly qualified to lecture on the subject of Constitutional Law (so I won’t), but I feel that your argument could have been used throughout history to justify acquiescing equality for many modern-day human rights. Whether we choose to engage in marriage once we win the right is a personal choice—but it needs to be a choice. We are not second-class citizens who can be pacified with domestic partnership, because it is a different term with different rights. Marriage is a human right and denying that right based on sexual orientation is akin to discriminating on the basis of race or gender, something we’ve determined is unconstitutional.

I hadn’t thought of myself as promoting any particular agenda(s), though I suppose that a certain amount of leverage and responsibility comes with being a columnist. In that vein, I think it behooves me to answer no. No, I don’t think that being a femme inherently promotes any agenda (beyond, presumably, liking shoes), and I would never dignify or validate any stereotypes thereof by rethinking my column.

Take care,

Email questions to dr.darcysmith@gmail.com or call 212-604-0144

Dr. Darcy Smith received her Masters degree from Columbia University and her Ph.D. from New York University. She has been a practicing social worker for over 10 years and is in private practice in both New York City and New Jersey.

*This column is not a consultation with a mental health professional and should in no way be construed as such or as a substitute for such consultation. Anyone with issues or concerns should seek the advice of her own therapist or counselor.

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