Gay Marriage Bill: This has been a wonderful day. I only wish the 14-year-old me could have seen it

When the Queen signed the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill into law today she’ll have had no idea what it will really mean for gay people. I do.

Share
Related Topics

Somewhere between the deranged yelps that gay marriage will herald incest, polygamy and the destruction of all that is good and pure, and the dogged fighting of Peter Tatchell, Stonewall, and everyone campaigning for the last piece of the equality pie, one of the profound effects of equal marriage has gone unuttered. And so, when the Queen signed the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill into law today she’ll have had no idea what it will really mean for gay people.

To explain, I need to describe another day: December 16, 1991. I was 14, spotty, leaving a classroom after registration, lagging behind with my best friend Jane. Clumsily, I lunged at the truth: “I’m gay.” She was the first person I came out to, a trembling act that allowed me oxygen, a breath, the option of at least sharing how sad and scared I felt.

Cold terror was entirely rational for a gay kid in the nineties. Only two weeks earlier Freddie Mercury had died of an Aids-related illness. One of thousands. Derek Jarman. Keith Haring. Rock Hudson. Rudolph Nureyev. Even the ethereal were doomed. What hope would I have? But it wasn’t just HIV/Aids, it was the law - the very mechanism designed to protect and defend loomed down unjustly, ensuring my vision of the future was Chekhov-bleak.

What did it feel like to be a gay teenager back then? The following thoughts ran in a depressive loop: I will not be able to have sex legally until I am 21. My teachers are not allowed to talk to me about being gay. Any business can refuse my custom. Future employers are free to fire me. Violence and hatred will stalk me, a prison for no wrongdoing. Aids could well bring a gasping, early death. I will never have children. I will never enjoy the family life I was raised within. I will never marry.

Imagine inflicting those thoughts on a child.

No one can go back and comfort me - or anyone from my generation. But at no time since then have I wished more desperately that I could return brandishing a newspaper to bring the Good News: Look! In 22 year’s time the law will be completely on your side! Protection and equality! Teachers can talk to their pupils. Drugs give people with HIV near-normal life expectancy. You can have children. And the change that would have meant the most, because we all lean towards love’s light like saplings: you can get married.

This is what the Queen, the Lords and the Commons did this week. They ensured that icy dread of what a gay adulthood could deliver won’t ever sit so heavily for our youngsters. The dismal days my generation endured will now mean nothing to children today, just as this day means everything to me.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Personal Finance Editor: Cutting out the middle man could spell disaster for employees and consumers alike

Simon Read
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch  

Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes tell you what to think. Don't let them

Memphis Barker
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week