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Our Wedding Was So Gay15 min read

by | Jan 9, 2019 | Queer 101

   Our wedding was intentionally super gay. And not just a little gay, or simply gay because two men were getting wed, but rather an attempt at planning every facet of our big day with the goal of honoring queer stories, past leaders, and current rockstars affecting change in the LGBTQ+ community. We set out to have the gayest wedding ever, and to be honest, we nailed it. (Gallery at the bottom)

   Let’s get the cute stuff out of the way: Nick and I met on OkCupid, fell in love over board games and Harry Potter trivia, got engaged at a fake Passover party, and probably still speak at least a few times a day in other languages at each other (not necessarily well though). We talk about social justice; we talk about obscure vocal phenomenons (he’s a linguist, I’m a singer); we are proof a Ravenclaw and a Gryffindor can make it work; we will always fight for equity and inclusion. So when we sat down to plan the wedding, we knew it needed to be fun, and heartfelt, and inclusive, and queer as hell.

“…wedding traditions are inherently related to heteronormative culture…

    Nick was the first person to remind me that wedding traditions are inherently related to heteronormative culture: dad walks daughter down the aisle to “give her away,” little flower girls and boy ring bearers, groomsmen and bridesmaids. As we looked harder at the structure weddings have, we attempted to pull out anything that wasn’t really something we resonated with. Ultimately that boiled down to the structure: a wedding and a reception. At that point we asked ourselves what we wanted to add to make it our own.

   For those who have read my post about The Stonewall Riots of 1969, you’ll know that Sheridan Square, the area just outside of The Stonewall Inn, is historical ground for the queer civil rights movement. Activism against LGBTQ+ oppression exploded in that park and set in motion events that have led to decriminalizing being openly homosexual and guaranteeing marriage rights for everyone, even the two of us. It felt like the perfect place to tie the knot, and send a message, “we’re here, we’re queer, and we’re getting married.”

  We also felt the need to establish that family is both given and chosen. Our friend officiated the ceremony, our parents and siblings were in attendance, everyone in that park at that time was our family (even the dozens of strangers that stopped to watch, and lesbian radio show hosts from London who asked us for an interview!). Rather than having our officiant talk about us, or our relationship, we wrote something else for her to say. Here is a snippet:

“As a result of the Stonewall Riots, in New York City, and around the world, the last weekend in June is celebrated with the Pride March. The route of the March has changed over the years, but has almost always passed by this very park. The first four years of the Pride March, from 1970 to 1974, being homosexual was a classifiable mental disorder. In 1977 the first ever openly gay politician was elected, Harvey Milk, and the following year, just after the 8th Pride March, he was assassinated. In 1980, the 10th Pride March, the first person died from what was then called “gay cancer.” By the year 2002, the 32nd Pride March, over 500,000 people in the US, the majority of which were gay men, had died from AIDS. And 45 times the Pride March passed by this park before queer men and women across America could legally marry, a right granted by a Supreme Court ruling in 2015. It is the perseverance of fighting for civil rights, respect, and dignity for all people that have not only led to this moment being possible, but have also led Nicholas and Nathaniel to start their journey in marriage here in this historical place.“ 

“… a rainbow balloon arch, a ceiling filled with twinkling lights, powder blue margaritas and, of course, social justice stations!”

   With a ceremony like that, we had to really ramp it up for the reception. One of the first LGBT historical landmarks in America, Julius’ Bar, was the perfect space. It is one of the longest running establishments in America to serve openly LGBTQ+ clientele. It is filled with photos and articles on its rich history and the famous faces that have passed through over the years. The owner was ecstatic to host the reception and admitted that the mom in her took over. Our goal was a rainbow-filled room with good food and happy people, and we got it: a rainbow balloon arch, a ceiling filled with twinkling lights, powder blue margaritas and, of course, social justice stations! Yes, you read that right, social justice stations.

   We worked with two nonprofits, Black and Pink and Lucie’s Place, who do incredible work for the queer community to create activities that would positively impact LGBTQ+ lives:

   Black and Pink provides many services to incarcerated LGBTQ+ people, and through their work we were able to have guests sign birthday cards for their clients. The intersection of being queer and being incarcerated can have a profoundly negative impact on family connection, and we all deserve to get a card on our birthday from someone who cares. Here is a sample of some of the wonderful things our guests wrote:

“Happy happy birthday! I hope it’s excellent and filled with joy, beautiful small moments and the kindness of others.”
“You’re strong. You matter. Grow, Love, Shine, and Share. Happiest of birthdays!”
“There are moments in life that feel like they will never end. On this special day I hope you have the chance to live in a happy moment. May the future bring you happiness in whatever form you want and need.”

   Lucie’s Place is a shelter for queer youth located in Little Rock, Arkansas. They provide homeless LGBTQ+ youth medical services, transportation, access to therapists, clothing, education and for 8 youths a night, a safe place to sleep. In a conversation with Lucie, the founder and Executive Director, she told me exactly what they need: “Little Rock isn’t a town you can navigate without transportation. Our clients can’t afford cars, and it isn’t safe to be openly trans-identified on the streets. Our greatest need is monthly bus passes to keep our youth off the streets. If you sent me money, I would just drive to the bus station and buy passes.” So we created a QR code that linked directly to the Little Rock transportation website where passes can be bought and mailed directly to Lucie’s Place. We haven’t gotten confirmation of how many were sent, but luckily, you could do it too right now. Click here to get started!     

   To finish the big day we partied at the start of it all, Stonewall. We got to dance, kiss, smile, and celebrate our love in public, without fear, with overwhelming support, in the very rooms of queer history. We had parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, long-loved friends and even strangers showering us with the support. After taking the time to make our wedding our own, we were left with a day inextricably tied to queer history and completely our own. And so I say again, in all honesty, our wedding was super gay. Check out the photos below!

Photo Credit (and amazing boudoir photographer!): Laura Boyd
Makeup: Zuleika at Saint Rose
Tuxes: Robbie & Co
Cupcakes: Brooklyn Cupcake

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Nathaniel is a social worker, mentor for parents of LGBTQ+ youth, and facilitator/empathy mentor. He started out in NYC as a singer/dancer/actor from the heartland (O-H-I-O) getting his BFA in Musical Theater from Pace University. After years of performance, Nathaniel...
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    Our wedding was intentionally super gay. And not just a little gay, or simply gay because two men were getting wed, but rather an attempt at planning every facet of our big day with the goal of honoring queer stories, past leaders, and current rockstars affecting change in the LGBTQ+ community. We set out to have the gayest wedding ever, and to be honest, we nailed it. (Gallery at the bottom)

   Let’s get the cute stuff out of the way: Nick and I met on OkCupid, fell in love over board games and Harry Potter trivia, got engaged at a fake Passover party, and probably still speak at least a few times a day in other languages at each other (not necessarily well though). We talk about social justice; we talk about obscure vocal phenomenons (he’s a linguist, I’m a singer); we are proof a Ravenclaw and a Gryffindor can make it work; we will always fight for equity and inclusion. So when we sat down to plan the wedding, we knew it needed to be fun, and heartfelt, and inclusive, and queer as hell.

“…wedding traditions are inherently related to heteronormative culture…

    Nick was the first person to remind me that wedding traditions are inherently related to heteronormative culture: dad walks daughter down the aisle to “give her away,” little flower girls and boy ring bearers, groomsmen and bridesmaids. As we looked harder at the structure weddings have, we attempted to pull out anything that wasn’t really something we resonated with. Ultimately that boiled down to the structure: a wedding and a reception. At that point we asked ourselves what we wanted to add to make it our own.

   For those who have read my post about The Stonewall Riots of 1969, you’ll know that Sheridan Square, the area just outside of The Stonewall Inn, is historical ground for the queer civil rights movement. Activism against LGBTQ+ oppression exploded in that park and set in motion events that have led to decriminalizing being openly homosexual and guaranteeing marriage rights for everyone, even the two of us. It felt like the perfect place to tie the knot, and send a message, “we’re here, we’re queer, and we’re getting married.”

   We also felt the need to establish that family is both given and chosen. Our friend officiated the ceremony, our parents and siblings were in attendance, everyone in that park at that time was our family (even the dozens of strangers that stopped to watch, and lesbian radio show hosts from London who asked us for an interview!). Rather than having our officiant talk about us, or our relationship, we wrote something else for her to say. Here is a snippet:

“As a result of the Stonewall Riots, in New York City, and around the world, the last weekend in June is celebrated with the Pride March. The route of the March has changed over the years, but has almost always passed by this very park. The first four years of the Pride March, from 1970 to 1974, being homosexual was a classifiable mental disorder. In 1977 the first ever openly gay politician was elected, Harvey Milk, and the following year, just after the 8th Pride March, he was assassinated. In 1980, the 10th Pride March, the first person died from what was then called “gay cancer.” By the year 2002, the 32nd Pride March, over 500,000 people in the US, the majority of which were gay men, had died from AIDS. And 45 times the Pride March passed by this park before queer men and women across America could legally marry, a right granted by a Supreme Court ruling in 2015. It is the perseverance of fighting for civil rights, respect, and dignity for all people that have not only led to this moment being possible, but have also led Nicholas and Nathaniel to start their journey in marriage here in this historical place.“ 

“… a rainbow balloon arch, a ceiling filled with twinkling lights, powder blue margaritas and, of course, social justice stations!”

    With a ceremony like that, we had to really ramp it up for the reception. One of the first LGBT historical landmarks in America, Julius’ Bar, was the perfect space. It is one of the longest running establishments in America to serve openly LGBTQ+ clientele. It is filled with photos and articles on its rich history and the famous faces that have passed through over the years. The owner was ecstatic to host the reception and admitted that the mom in her took over. Our goal was a rainbow-filled room with good food and happy people, and we got it: a rainbow balloon arch, a ceiling filled with twinkling lights, powder blue margaritas and, of course, social justice stations! Yes, you read that right, social justice stations.

   We worked with two nonprofits, Black and Pink and Lucie’s Place, who do incredible work for the queer community to create activities that would positively impact LGBTQ+ lives:

   Black and Pink provides many services to incarcerated LGBTQ+ people, and through their work we were able to have guests sign birthday cards for their clients. The intersection of being queer and being incarcerated can have a profoundly negative impact on family connection, and we all deserve to get a card on our birthday from someone who cares. Here is a sample of some of the wonderful things our guests wrote:

“Happy happy birthday! I hope it’s excellent and filled with joy, beautiful small moments and the kindness of others.”
“You’re strong. You matter. Grow, Love, Shine, and Share. Happiest of birthdays!”
“There are moments in life that feel like they will never end. On this special day I hope you have the chance to live in a happy moment. May the future bring you happiness in whatever form you want and need.”

   Lucie’s Place is a shelter for queer youth located in Little Rock, Arkansas. They provide homeless LGBTQ+ youth medical services, transportation, access to therapists, clothing, education and for 8 youths a night, a safe place to sleep. In a conversation with Lucie, the founder and Executive Director, she told me exactly what they need: “Little Rock isn’t a town you can navigate without transportation. Our clients can’t afford cars, and it isn’t safe to be openly trans-identified on the streets. Our greatest need is monthly bus passes to keep our youth off the streets. If you sent me money, I would just drive to the bus station and buy passes.” So we created a QR code that linked directly to the Little Rock transportation website where passes can be bought and mailed directly to Lucie’s Place. We haven’t gotten confirmation of how many were sent, but luckily, you could do it too right now. Click here to get started!     

   To finish the big day we partied at the start of it all, Stonewall. We got to dance, kiss, smile, and celebrate our love in public, without fear, with overwhelming support, in the very rooms of queer history. We had parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, long-loved friends and even strangers showering us with the support. After taking the time to make our wedding our own, we were left with a day inextricably tied to queer history and completely our own. And so I say again, in all honesty, our wedding was super gay. Check out the photos below!

Photo Credit (and amazing boudoir photographer!): Laura Boyd
Makeup: Zuleika at Saint Rose
Tuxes: Robbie & Co
Cupcakes: Brooklyn Cupcake

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Nathaniel Gray

Nathaniel Gray

Founder, Writer, and LGBTQ+ Empathy Mentor

Nathaniel is a social worker, mentor for parents of LGBTQ+ youth, and facilitator/empathy mentor. He started out in NYC as a singer/dancer/actor from the heartland (O-H-I-O) getting his BFA in Musical Theater from Pace University. After years of performance, Nathaniel turned to working with youth, as an educator and administrator at Fusion Academy. Since then he has completed his Master’s in Social Work at Fordham University and started The Proud Path, as well as worked with the Ali Forney Center and the Hetrick-Martin Institute, agencies addressing LGBTQ+ youth homelessness. His mission is to learn everything he can about the coming out process to assist others through it, and develop empathy within those who never have to.
Nathaniel Gray

Nathaniel Gray

Founder, Writer, and LGBTQ+ Empathy Mentor

Nathaniel is a social worker, mentor for parents of LGBTQ+ youth, and facilitator/empathy mentor. He started out in NYC as a singer/dancer/actor from the heartland (O-H-I-O) getting his BFA in Musical Theater from Pace University. After years of performance, Nathaniel turned to working with youth, as an educator and administrator at Fusion Academy. Since then he has completed his Master’s in Social Work at Fordham University and started The Proud Path, as well as worked with the Ali Forney Center and the Hetrick-Martin Institute, agencies addressing LGBTQ+ youth homelessness. His mission is to learn everything he can about the coming out process to assist others through it, and develop empathy within those who never have to.
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