My oldest daughter is getting married in June and as we’ve looked for clothes or flowers or venus or photography, more often than not the advertising looks like the typically cisgendered wedding. It has me thinking about all the things around “wedding” culture that scream “be gender normative! Don’t step outside of who society thinks you should be, especially on this very important day that should look and feel like society’s definition of status quo heterosexual/cis-gender roles!”. 

I argue with myself, “But we’ve come such a long way! People can marry whomever they wish. I see businesses all the time that embrace the LGBTQIA+ community and who encourage employees to wear their chosen gender pronouns on name tags. When I attend various zoom meetings, names in windows are often followed by chosen pronouns. There are good people embracing diversity!”

It’s true, there are good people who embrace diversity. There are many communities where people accept folks of all sexual orientations and gender identity but have we really come so far as a whole? 

You may have heard about Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado that refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.

Or the Colorado woman who wants to post on her website that she doesn’t design websites for weddings of the LGBTQIA+ community because of her religious beliefs. ​​

I’m wondering how many other businesses vilify and refuse (or want to refuse) service to couples for their sexual orientation or gender identity and have just not made it into the news?

Where does this leave me? First, I am eternally grateful for those good folks who are willing to reach beyond unacceptable societal expectations to provide great service for anyone regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Second, I accept that my job as an Ally, whether planning a wedding or navigating my everyday life,  is to show up without taking on the role of savior, speak truth to hate, pay attention to what is happening and what people are saying, and not let myself get stuck in my own anger or hate when I have not been able to change a situation. That last part seems to be the hardest for me, and maybe the most important, as I navigate this role as Ally.

Thanks for being here,

Ellin (she/her)

March 01, 2022 — Rebecca Porterfield

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