Oh, Dewey, Where Would You Put Me?

Oh, Dewey, Where Would You Put Me?

Oh, Dewey, Where Would You Put Me?

Oh, Dewey, Where Would You Put Me?

There aren’t many role models for male-partnered queer women to be out, or express pride. It inspired me that Ms. Gedlinske wears suits and ties, consistently acknowledging her identity instead of lying by omission, as I have. It has often felt easier to keep my story on a high shelf instead of constantly explaining myself.

I wanted to get married in jeans and a flowing white Indian blouse, like one of my heroines, Gloria Steinem. When I told my mother, she cried with the same bewilderment as she had when I came out as gay at 19. A purple pantsuit might have been a fun compromise. Instead, I listened to my mother and got married in a simple, short, unadorned white dress.

When the minister said, “An Episcopal marriage is between a man and woman,” I wanted to bash him over the head with my bouquet. I can still see the pain in the eyes of one of my queer friends at those words. Why didn’t I ask the minister to revise the script? Why was I chicken?

I’m not chicken anymore. I try to rewrite scripts all the time. I rallied a group of my students — all women of color, some also queer — to help me dismantle everything offensive about the Dewey Decimal system. We re-shelved a lot of the library. When I asked one student where queer books should go, her words brought tears to my eyes: “I want queer books to be everywhere. Because love is everywhere.”

My school library now contains 20,000 volumes. Like my relationship with Stefan, it’s ever-changing, always being recataloged. Becoming parents has been our most beautiful reclassification of all. Our daughters, now 8 and 2, have truly shown us the limitlessness of love.

These days our marriage is as capacious as a library, holding everything under the sun. It holds inside jokes, lying side-by-side, laughing in the dark. It holds pregnancy losses, my father-in-law’s Parkinson’s and dementia. It holds hospice. It holds our toddler’s giddy peals of laughter. It even holds my queerness, a rainbow sparkle dusted over the overflowing shelves of our life together.


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