I try to keep things in perspective. I live in New Zealand – the 15th country in the world to legalise gay marriage. I can walk down the street holding my girlfriend’s hand, and most the time I won’t be harassed for it. There’s a pretty great queer scene in my city, there’re heaps of queer folks in parliament and entertainment, and my coming out experience was basically warm and fuzzy.
But then I find myself trudging up and down the mall for an anniversary card, and I get more than a little pissed off.
My anniversary is approaching, and I’ve purchased my partner a few sentimental gifts. Now all I need is a card.
First stop bookstore.
Great, huge Anniversary section.
Lots of ‘Mr and Mrs’. Sure.
Lots of cartoons depicting lazy husbands and nagging wives – straight life looks great, by the way.
Only the very expensive cards, with their sequin birds and bits of feather hanging off the front, don’t mention gender.
We can do better… second stop $2 shop.
More cartoon husband and wives.
A picture of two old ladies!
Oh they’re just friends.
Third stop… that slogany youth-centred spot!
Cards with swear words on them!
Cards with rude pictures!
I scour the entire quirky card-wall.
Nothing! We don’t even fall under quirk!
I sigh, head back to bookstore and buy the sequin thing with the bird.
Afterwards, I pose the question to Twitter: where are the brick-and-mortar shops where a person can buy their same-sex soulmate a card? The responses tell me I should look to the sex shops.
Now, here’s the rub (lol): I have nothing against sex-shops. In fact, the opposite – I adore them. I’ve known them to provide a lot of good for people, especially in the case of sex-positive, woman-run joints like D.Vice. But when sex shops are the only places that will deign to carry something as simple as a same-sex greeting card, it feels I’m being told that my sexuality is shameful. That it’s something I should hide.
It reminds me of the story in 2009, when UK supermarkets put stickers over the word lesbian when stocking the DVD for the film Lesbian Vampire Killers. Because that’s the word we should keep away from children…
Seriously though, I know this is a small issue, but it took me aback when I came upon it. Because what it represents is that non-straight partnerships are considered fringe and unworthy.
So here’s my call to arms. Mainstream shops up and down the country: you have nothing to lose and dollars to gain by stocking queer greeting cards!
Failing that, I can already see the footnote I’m going to put on my (eventual) wedding invitations: good luck finding us a card (hint: the naughty shops on K Road are your best bet)! That’ll be an interesting scavenger hunt for my elderly aunts.Support Villainesse