Submitted by Myron Quon.
Edited by Loren Javier.
My name is Myron Dean Quon, a 40 years-old Chinese American living in Durham, North Carolina and Washington DC. I lived in Chicago for the past five years and worked full-time on legal advocacy on behalf of the Asian American community of Chicago. I now am the executive director of a direct legal services agency serving low income Asian Americans of the DC metropolitan region. My partner, John Joseph, is a tenure-track professor at Duke University’s business school. We have been together for five Chinese New Year’s celebrations (we can’t agree on October or December as our “been together” start date!).
John and I first met when I flew out to Chicago from Los Angeles to consider joining a full-time MBA program. We actually had dinner at the same table that night (although I didn’t remember until a photo has since popped up). We met again six months later when I started the MBA program and my future husband then was a teaching assistant for one of my business school professors. I asked him to the MBA first-quarter prom, but because of busy schedules, it was more than a month before we finally went on our first date.
Because we live in jurisdictions that refuse to fully recognize marriage between two men, I feel disempowered and like a second-class citizen. This feeling harkens back to when my Chinese immigrant parents owned and operated a mom-and-pop grocery store and faced discrimination daily from customers, competitors, suppliers, and random folks who just plain disliked Asian people with strong accents.
When John and I were in Orange County for one of his conferences this August, we decided to elope and get married, given the possibility that we might not have another chance for many more years and not likely in DC nor Durham.
We both were surprised and overwhelmed with the emotions of this small and private wedding ceremony. We had a knowledgeable and super-friendly Vietnamese American Orange County clerk perform the marriage ceremony and the South County office was brimming with happiness as about a dozen couples also lined up after us for marriages.
While neither Durham nor DC acknowledges our marriage right now, it is nice to know that, given what’s happened in Massachusetts, California and, most recently, Connecticut, perhaps, one day, we will live in a place that fully recognizes the love and commitment John and I share for one another. That one day, instead of feeling disempowered and like a second class citizen, I will feel empowered and be treated as an equal. To both John and me, that is a goal and a hope worth working toward.