Weddings aren’t a strictly gendered thing, as all of us reading Offbeat Bride are like aware of… but many of the words around weddings and marriage are very gendered.
Even if you’re having a completely gender-neutral wedding, it’s really hard to talk about it without using gendered verbiage. But I’ve tried to find some ways around that..
“So, who’s the guy in your relationship?” This question (or versions of it) is one of the more common questions posed to lesbian couples and the most frustrating. The reverse is true of male couples. While most people have posed this question with absolutely no malice or agenda, people in same-sex relationships (including myself) can get kind of huffy about it. That is not always helpful, so lets talk about that question.
My brother-in-law — who has never danced himself — once told me that it is only natural in dancing that the man leads and the woman follows. Having taught many partner dance classes, from Swing to French Folk, I can tell you that that is completely and utterly untrue. Of course there is nothing wrong with the “man leads, woman follows shuffle”-type first dance, but not every wedding involves one man and one woman. And even for those who do, there are many options beyond the traditional first dance…
I have been thinking about the weird privilege I’ve held as the male-presenting person in this relationship. I believe this is because people want to honor my identity and respect my maleness, yet it feels uncomfortable and untrue… because it erases the fact that those images don’t actually fit our queer relationship, and they don’t include my trans-ness.
When my fiancé Elliot and I got engaged, we didn’t have any plans to take engagement photos. But when we started our wedding research, we had a bit of a chuckle seeing the same series of photos again and again. As a joke, we started talking about doing spoofs of the photos… and then we did it for real.
My fiance loves to wear a bow tie and suit jacket, and equally loves to wear little dresses — and she’s at an absolute loss as to what to wear for our July 2014 wedding! She’s got a faux-hawk with the sides of her head shaved, and loves playing with gender expectations. Sometimes she’s soft-butch, sometimes she’s femme.