Can lesbians have wives? Can lesbians be wives? Isn’t the term “wife” smack of ownership, oppression and heteronormativity? Considering how non-traditional lesbian unions are, the term wife may give some people pause. Six months after marrying her longterm partner in a church ceremony, Kate Davis was still struggling with this word. In a piece for Tue Night, she explains the struggle:
“Wife is such a loaded word for lesbians. When I married my girlfriend, it took at least six months before I could call her wife. I’d skate around the issue; she was my partner, my spouse, my lover. All of those words seemed more appropriate than wife. Wife comes with ownership — baggage neither of us could carry.
… The word “wife” reeks of subjugation and roles we couldn’t play. We are partners in almost every sense of the word. We are eldest daughters; no one is going to tell us what to do, think or be. The concept was contrary to who are.”
And so Davis and her wife decided that for them, the word “wife” did not have to be tied to old ideas.