By Colleen Curry | The Washington Post
When my wife and I were married in 2016, we had the wedding of our dreams. We each wore wedding dresses; our fathers walked us down the aisle, one after the other; and we danced to Sam Cooke’s “We’re Having a Party” at the end of the night, in a circle surrounded by so many relatives and friends — including two nonagenarians. If not for the fact that there were two brides and zero grooms, it would have resembled any other heteronormative, middle-class American wedding in 2016.
That dream didn’t always seem possible. Before coming out in 2012, I struggled through months of therapy, preparing for the possibility of losing all connection with my Irish Catholic family. I prepared for the possibility that I would be viewed as an outsider, as someone different or perhaps even worse by friends, colleagues and strangers. I confessed nervously, first to my parents, brother and one trusted cousin, asking them to spread the word through layers of aunts and uncles and cousins. While it took some time for them to process the news — time that was truly painful — every single person in my family accepted us. They treated us normally; everyone acted like it was obvious that two girls, even two girls with long hair who wore makeup and high heels, could be in a relationship, and that was fine.
I knew then that we were lucky. I only realize now how extremely fortuitous the timing was. I came out to my family in the middle of the whirlwind sprint toward full LGBTQ rights that was sweeping the country during the Obama administration. Court cases affirming those rights dominated headlines; celebrities were coming out seemingly every day. It emboldened me to proclaim who I was and whom I was dating. The national climate allowed me to feel safe. It seemed like people were on my side. When we married in 2016, we were benefiting from the good luck of landing in the most accepting time for LGBTQ rights in history.
Now, a year and a half into our marriage, things have started to change.
A study recently released by GLAAD found that for the first time since the survey began in 2014, non-LGBTQ Americans are growing less comfortable with LGBTQ people. Fewer than half of straight adults (49 percent) said they were comfortable with LGBTQ people, a notable drop from last year (53 percent). Compared to last year’s survey, significantly more respondents said they would be uncomfortable with a family member, a child’s teacher, or their doctor who was LGBTQ. Meanwhile, 55 percent of LGBT individuals surveyed said they faced discrimination last year, a jump of 11 points over 2016.
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