07/15/2013 11:11 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Understanding Love

I had just met another bloke, and, as sometimes happens, we really liked each other. We started to flirt, next we started to talk and then we started to figure out if something was happening here.

I will call him Andrew. As happens when two people are possibly falling in love, Andrew and I were blushing, our faces merciless showing our feelings. Yet we decided to take a step back and learn about each other first: What are we about? What do we find important in life? What can we offer, and what do we look for in a partner? We shared our stories, both the good and the not-so-good.

He often working night shifts and I being the insomniac freelancer, we'd call each other at the most awkward times. Our non-rhythms causing us to sleep at any given time, we said "good morning" and "good night" quite a few times a day, adding even more confusion to the maelstrom of butterflies.

Anyone who's ever fallen in love, however slowly, knows the feeling, that happy nausea.

On a Monday morning, around 8 a.m., we were on the phone again. We both still had yet to see our beds, and only half-awake, we realized this was going to be one special week.

Our romantic adventure coincided with a time when people not only in the U.S. but also abroad were anxiously waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to make its announcement on marriage equality. At the same time the House of Lords (the upper house) in the UK, where we live, resumed its debate on equal marriage.

Suddenly something that involves only one other person and you, something really small, becomes an international ordeal, something really big. Of course, while we knew we both eventually wanted to get married, this was not yet a question for us. We were not even an official item yet.

However, fundamentally, the battle for equality is about whether or not our love is decent enough, worthy enough to be considered equal and, at the very least, should be respected as is. It is about the world accepting that we fall in love just like everybody else, little choice involved. While being queer is not the sole characteristic to define us, it is an essential part of our identity, and that part of who we are is up for public debate.

Eventually, after some back and forth of "no, you hang up," we set down our phones so we could get some sleep. Dreams prevented me from sleeping, and lying awake, I checked the feeds on my phone and read some stories from across the world. As is common, homophobic ignorance and religious oppression were part of that. If you follow queer media, it is virtually impossible to avoid.

Call me old-fashioned, but at the end of the day I just wanted to hold his hand. Crawl up against each other. Be together. Slowly explore what we felt and how we could make that work. Everything else would be the next step, and for the moment this was big enough for us as it was.

This was not about special rights. It was not about giving you a hard time in forcing you to explain something to your children, nor was it about forcing you to accept something you disagree with. This was not about people trying to destroy society.

This was about two people listening to their hearts and trying to figure something out together.


Eventually things between Andrew and me didn't work out, for a host of reasons. One of them likely was that we somehow had to address those bigger questions while it was way too early for us to even think about it. We were simply caught in the debate all around us.

We would forget it as soon as we were talking to each other, but during the brief moments when we were apart, both of us were hurt and angered that we were not taken as seriously as we would be if one of us were female. We, as virtually any queer person, are hurt and angered that we were, and still are, up for debate. We didn't need to be part of any debate.

We were just trying to understand love. That is complicated enough as it is.

"Understanding love." graphic created by jaga n.a. argentum