I am a 26-year-old ambulatory female, currently defined as able-bodied. My lover is a queer woman who is 14 years older than me and lives with a visible physical disability. I'm thinking about desire, the fact that what we do on couches, in hallways, offices, in bed, bathrooms and on the streets feels good. I'm thinking about loving her through and through, how she moves me, shakes me, takes me home somehow. I'm thinking about longing, fear, pleasure and the moaning she brings me to.
I think our love is evident, that we're obvious and out everywhere we go. I think that when we kiss, hold hands and are affectionate in public, it's clear we must be lovers. I think we're two hot dykes taking up space in loving, positive ways.
There was that time at Zellers, though, when somebody in aisle 2 asked if we were mother and daughter. And that other time when the guy at Harbourfront thought we were sisters.
And there are people like my uncle. I know he thinks my queer identity has everything to do with being sexually abused as a child.
He equates disability with asexuality. He jokes that when his wife turns 40, he'll trade her in for two 20-year-olds.
Sometimes, I realize, the nature of our relationship isn't so obvious. We're strange to some people; we don't fit into the picture of the world that somebody's trying to paint. They're using browns and greys to paint a dirty city, and we come hurrying across the canvas dripping hot, red rain.
We look like blood to them, something broken. We aren't understood as the beautiful, strong women we are. They don't know we're really poppies, with petals falling from our lips.
Together, I/she/we get one or all of the following kinds of looks in every imaginable combination: a) homophobic glares from straight men who can't imagine sex that doesn't involve a fully organic penis, b) ablist gawks from queer people who can't imagine that hot sex is possible with a person who has a disability, c) ageist stares from folks who can't wrap their heads around the fact that I have 14 years less experience on this planet than my lover - and that we can and do relate well.
Sometimes I don't know how to distinguish a homophobic glare from an ablist gawk from an ageist stare - which makes it difficult to decide whether to start defending our queer identity, validating her capabilities and experiences or call her mommy and ask for a public spanking.
It's true that the physical world we live in is designed to reflect and protect the interests of a certain kind of body. Everything from restaurants and bars and women- and trans-positive bathhouses to the inside of our friends' houses, subway stations and theatres allows exclusive entrance rights to ambulatory, able-bodied people.
My interests include her and lots of other people with disabilities. I want the world to reflect that. I want those interests protected. I want public space to be accessible to more people than those with white, thinnish, more-than-5-feet-tall ambulatory bodies like mine - and I want it to feel comfortable. No small task.
I'm thinking about loving her; desire; the grasp of her reacher around my nipple; my lips on her skin. I'm thinking about loving with my heart light perpetually on, therefore never allowing anyone to be in the dark about whom I love. I'm thinking about longing, fear, pleasure and the moaning she brings me to. I'm thinking about how desire doesn't end when it comes face to face with homophobia or ablism - it shifts, and expands, rages through.