The latest in a series about what it’s like to be out and about in this small town in a rural county in the Midwest.
Since I last posted about our extinct home study agency, we got the final word: we need to get a brand new home study. The director of the former agency failed to transfer our complete file to the new agency. (And I intend to publish her name and the name of the former agency after I pursue her for a refund in small claims court.)
After 18 months of trying to adopt a second child, our files with the two out-of-state adoption agencies are on hold until the new home study is complete. It feels like we’re losing precious time.
It’s frustrating to start all over again with the checklist of documents, doctor’s visits, and background checks necessary to complete the home study. What makes it hard isn’t just the lost time and the waste of time, but when I do these things I have to go out in the world and encounter various local bureaucracies that are either ignorant or hostile to gay people, let alone to gay dudes trying to adopt a baby.
Yesterday I went back to our bank to get the cashiers’ checks necessary to pay the county sheriff for fingerprinting and national background checks.
As I walked into the bank and everyone glanced up at me, I had a serious case of déjà vu. The last time I went to this bank for this very purpose, it was briefly assumed, despite our joint account with both of our obviously male names on it, that “my wife” and I wanted to purchase concealed gun permits. You know, because men have wives and everyone has a gun in these parts.
This time things were different.
After explaining that I needed two checks, in each of our names, payable to the sheriff’s office, the young female teller glanced at her screen.
“Is Travis your son?”
“No, Travis is my partner.”
“Oh, are these business checks?” She looked up at me, completely sincere in her assumption that we were business partners with a joint personal checking account.
“He’s my domestic partner.” I almost added, “As in, we’re gay,” because I sincerely assumed she still might not get it. But her face had turned red and she looked very flustered.
“Oh, okay.” She went about processing the checks. Then she said, “Do you have a note from Travis indicating we can make a check in his name?”
“No, I don’t. We have a joint checking account, and we’re always able to make decisions about it with or without each other. And last time I had these checks processed, I didn’t need a note from him.”
“Well, it’s usually something we’d need to have. I’ll let you do it today, but next time you’ll need to have a note, okay?”
No, it wasn’t okay. But I just wanted to get the hell out of there.
Increasingly, there are days I don’t feel so conspicuous here, if only because so many people now know us by sight. There are days when I feel proud of myself for being so out in a place where hardly anyone else is. And there are days when I can find humor in the ignorance. But yesterday, I was just totally sick of it.