Deb and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary last week. This means that equal marriage has been a reality in Canada for almost a decade. Honestly, I did not think we would see equal marriage a reality in my lifetime, if ever. It is amazing how quickly things can change politically.
What have been slow to change, however, are reflections of this reality in pop culture. This is now starting to change – at least in Canada. I recently watched an episode of Undercover Boss Canada wherein a female employee was featured. They referenced her female partner as her wife. While I have grown accustomed to hearing this over the past 9 years, I still perk up and pay attention when that word is used in reference to same-sex couples. At first, the word ‘wife’, really bothered me. It made me think of notions of heterosexual marriage where the woman would slave away for the betterment of her family. Now, I am increasingly becoming more comfortable with the word even in reference to my own relationship.
The other show was Dragon’s Den. They introduced two women as a couple who had been married for 6 years and no one batted an eye. Ultimately, this is how it should be. A same-sex marriage should be treated the same as any other marriage – that is a marriage of two people who love each other.
Representations in pop culture are imperative. We must see ourselves reflected in our culture if we are to feel accepted. I suspect that as equal marriage becomes more of a reality in the US, we will see more positive representations. This will go a long way towards reducing the stigma attached to being lesbian or gay. This will have huge positive effects for youth. If you are gay or lesbian, imagine being able to see someone like Ellen or hearing the song Same Love? What if you could tune into a popular show and see a married same-sex couple who was the same as the other couples, facing the same life issues as their parents. Here is the crux of what it means to be different: you don’t have any role models. As a young teenager, I completely related to music made by men singing about women. I could sing along and dream and not have to worry about my secret getting out. Now, how would I have felt if Little House on the Prairie had a same-sex couple represented – it would have been huge. I may not have felt so isolated.
As time goes by, I look forward to seeing how equal marriage is further expressed within our dominant culture.
 No commentary on my TV choices please!!!