when we first got married i had to psych myself up every time to say “my wife” to a new person. it was awkward because with “girlfriend” a lot of people would just assume i meant “friend,” and of course “fiancée” is gender-neutral when spoken, so we’d always had plausible deniability. but the meaning of “wife” is pretty unavoidable. still, i made myself do it on principle, and slowly but surely it became natural.
now i love saying “my wife,” to everyone all the time. i love saying it to the old woman distributing the strawberries at the farm share, asking if she knows where i can still get rhubarb because every summer i make my wife a pie. i love saying it to the gay employee helping me at crate and barrel, telling him i’m buying these glasses because my wife and i both had them growing up, and seeing his eyes light up. i love saying it to friends of friends and to new acquaintances and to potential coworkers and to the women at the laundromat. i love being aggressively out, and i love having such an easy way to be aggressively out. i love being the first woman with a wife someone has ever met, making our existence part of their reality. i love being visible for other lgbt people who might feel a little less alone knowing i’m there, which helps me push past the fear when it comes. most of all, i love not hiding. i love saying “my wife” and i love my wife.