Thank you, everyone, for attending our anniversary and union celebration in whatever form you are capable of attending.
Today we are not using officiants–we already had one glorious ceremony, three years ago, and did not feel it necessary to stress out that much a second time. Instead, I want to tell you a story.
The life of an almost-twenty-eight-year-old can be compressed into a single novel or volumes upon volumes, depending upon who is telling the story. I imagine you who know me are now settling in for a very long diatribe–don’t worry, I’ll be as brief as I can be.
When I was growing up, I was raised in a dichotomous environment where in public we had very conservative views, because of the group of people in church and school my parents had chosen to be my associates. On the occasional weekend we would run off to a science fiction and fantasy convention and I would find myself surrounded by more liberally minded people who didn’t really care what went on in your life as long as you were having a good time living it.
I did not know what the word gay meant in the colloquial sense until I was thirteen, and had no good explanation for my desire to wear pants and climb trees and grow up to be a scientist, a writer and a millionaire (I’ve sortof made it to two of the three, by the way). In my world, women had sacrificed every strength they owned because religion told them to do it. And when I protested, my colleagues and teachers began telling other people “Oh, that’s just Kronda.”
I felt isolated because I did not know women who would rise above that oppression. So as soon as I got the chance, I started wearing pants and boys’ clothes and dressing for comfort and wearing ties. I often said my only claim to femininity was my long hair, and I clung to that as a lifeline.
I met Jamie when I was fifteen and she was thirteen–we met at a convention and my lasting impression of her was at two o’clock in the morning when she was singing “I’mmmmm gay!!!!” in the hallway of the convention hotel. I was impressed by someone so comfortable in their own skin that she could tell the world who she was and not fear the consequences. I wanted to be like her when I grew up.
The next time I saw her, she’d chopped her hair, was dressing more like a boy and had a new girlfriend. I’m not sure which feature I was most upset about, but I settled for squawking at her about her hair. I’m sure she was confused about that.
A couple of years and a lot of failed boyfriends later, we found ourselves colliding at yet another convention–Opus, if anyone is curious. Through a wild series of coincidental encounters I’d met a group of gamers who introduced me to a group of sword fighters, so I was performing at the show with swords. I felt strong because I could fight, and I was in my first year of college meeting women who were going through the same learning experiences I was facing. Somehow college had made me braver, and when Jamie found me that first night and wrapped me up in a big hug I realized I had loved her for some time and just hadn’t been brave enough to realize it. So when she threatened to kiss me that weekend when I dropped her off at home, I held her to her threat.
And then she didn’t call me for three days.
But she did propose to me about two weeks into it.
It’s been a wild adventure, and I have had to realize that the women who refuse to shed their favorite things, refuse to deny themselves beauty in exchange for power, are just as strong as the mother of six or the women who works by herself on a team with male engineers. And through that wild adventure, we have met all my family under the guise of being “best friends on a road trip,” gotten lost going the wrong direction on one-way streets, finished school, started school, forgotten to bring the tea to our first wedding ceremony, explored the Bahamas where it is illegal for us to love each other, traveled Japan at speeds rivaling the bullet trains, climbed Mount Fuji and the Stairway to Heaven, gotten lost on a mountain searching for a hot spring, written stories, illustrated books, photographed dozens of beautiful weddings, and brought the most perfect little girl into the world.
I would do it all again, and we will carry on climbing every mountain together. And just because I love my wife, once in a while we’ll stop at a hot spring on the way. We have been together for eight years and been married for three. This beautiful, wonderful woman who puts up with me is my strength when I have none, and she is my hero. Whether God or the Government recognize our relationship, no one can ignore our love, or the love and support of our families. Here’s to another eighty years together.