I used to live a much…

I used to live a much more socially-stigmatized life. Writing erotica twenty years ago was enough to get people really upset; you couldn't find books that explicit in regular bookstores. Dating girls, holding hands with them in the street, brought glares or hostile comments. Being poly once led to a woman I barely knew yelling at me in the street, because she was somehow afraid it meant I would try to steal her husband (whom I had never met).

I'm stubborn enough that I was able to stick to following my heart, making the choices that felt right to me, but I spend a solid decade doing readings of my work and then answering questions from readers which always, always started with asking how I could stand to upset my parents, how could I dare to be so scandalous, how could I endure the social stigma?

When I ended up settling down with a man, moving in together, hosting dinner parties like a nice heterosexual couple, I could feel the social approval begin, coming at me like waves. When I started writing about families and Sri Lanka, and not nearly as much about sex, people became less hostile. Writing about gardening and cooking and knitting upset no one. Life got easier.

When I had babies, people were even happier. And getting married this year was just the icing on that cake. More than a *thousand* people, many of whom I didn't actually know, 'liked' my marriage announcement and photos. It was lovely, being surrounded in warmth and well wishes, and I am not immune to all that approval and affection. And yet.

I'm happy for gay couples across America, that they're going to get that societal approval now. I'm really happy that they're going to get total strangers wishing them well, that at least some of them will have relatives delighted to attend their weddings. I hope they enjoy *all* the warm fuzzies. I hope they can bask in the warmth of society's affection -- especially since the narrowness of the vote and the (sometimes violent) reaction on many conservative sites shows that that warmth is far from universal. Life is hard, love is rarer than it should be, and a treasure when it's found; take joy when you can.

But there are still single people who may never be partnered, by their own choice or not. There are divorced people who may be sad about bright hopes that went away. There are poly people, and families made of close friends, and those who live in extended families up and down generations. There are those who rely on the kindness of strangers, because they have no one else.

They deserve support and celebration and acceptance and inclusion -- not to mention a whole host of legal protections and aid not currently available to them.

There are still an awful lot of people left out in the cold.

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