Participants: Karleen; Allies; Family; Friends; Immigration; Love; Outness; Recognition; Support
Tara: Let’s talk a little bit about your support system. Um, you um, have been together for a very long time. What, who is your support system and in what ways has that support system, uh helped with uh, negotiating the schools?
Karleen: So like, friends and family?
Karleen: [sighs] Um… well you know what was really interesting? Uh, cause I guess I say you don’t think of that in explicit ways, or I don’t.
Karleen: But, you know when I had to think of it in explicit ways was when uh, I applied uh, to uh, get my uh, landed immigrant status in Canada, and the Canadian government requires you to put together this file, and um, to prove your relationship is legitimate.
Karleen: And it’s such an odd undertaking because you know, you talk about who you’re going to be out to or not, well this is your being out to the Canadian government and sending a file this thick (shows with hands) to Alberta to um, document every person, every friend, every family member that could, you know and when you met them and who they are, that could uh, vouch for your love being authentic. So, it was really weird, and um, but it was, it was wonderful too you know. Not that I would want to do this, or have to send this to the government, um because you never know, right? When things can go more conservative and you don’t know when they’re going to open up those files – anyway, let’s not talk about that. But, all there were, I had to come up with all of these letters. And it was just, they were really beautiful. And every person, you know from my supervisor at York, to my mother-in-law, to friends, to family had their own way of saying why they saw our love was legitimate. So we had this file you know, and they’re beautiful letters and you feel like “Yes, you know this counts.”
Karleen: So and it’s, it’s kind of interesting, and that file, and that time, and that recognition. I guess you know, other people get married, you know we didn’t wanna get married so we have the file...
Karleen: ...That kind of celebrates us being together. Uh, more, Hillary’s family is very, uh like geographically close.
Karleen: So her mother, they’re all Toronto people. So, her mother is here every uh, every other week and we eat a lot, and drink scotch, and um, joke around and, so that’s, she’s great. And her brother, I remember something that was really supportive that her brother said right when I first came, when it wasn’t [laughs] so clear how the family as going to take all of this, because she had been married to a man that whole time. Um, he said, “Oh you know, you really make my sister happy, and she goes out, and she smiles and she’s, you know I see this whole other side of my sister.” So, even knowing that was really, that was really supportive. I also have a brother that’s very close emotionally, though not you know, geographically, they’re all in California, because I’m from California, um, that’s you know took a while to come around, but then ended up being my best ally and my closest family member.