Friday, November 12, 2010

5 Things Not To Say To Gay Couples Getting Married - Via So You're EnGayged

Came across this article on the website So You're EnGayged; a site I visit daily.

This article is so awesome!  It reflects what I have experienced in responses I've received when telling family that we got engaged.

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Natalie Prizel wrote this post a year ago but we thought it was a great time to repost as the engagement season is coming up!
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Especially when it comes to same-sex weddings. Even those who want to be supportive often come down with severe foot-in-mouth disease. Invited to your niece’s lesbian wedding shindig? Here are a few common things to avoid saying to save you from being labeled a latent homophobe (or just to avoid an awkward silence):

1. You’re getting married? Is that legal?

The legal niceties of same-sex marriage are often not so nice. When someone tells you they’re about the publicly declare their love and commitment to another person, the don’t want you or the State to piss on their parade. If you’re trying to educate yourself on the legal status of same-sex marriage, check out HRC’s website. If you are burning to know right at that moment, at least preface your question with a hearty “Congratulations”.

2. You’re wearing a suit. Does that mean you’re more like the guy?

Rule of thumb: when you assume you make an “a-s-s” out of “u” and “me”. Gender expression and identity varies widely in the LGBT community. If a woman chooses to wear a suit to her wedding, it may be because she identifies as butch or trans* or she hates dresses or she’s having a fat-thigh day/month/year. When you get to know a couple well, you may or may not come to some kind of understanding of how gender works in their relationship. Then again, the mysteries of gender play out in a myriad of ways in all relationships, LGBT and heterosexual.
*Note: if you are unsure of someone’s gender identity (i.e. whether a person identifies as male, female, transgender, genderqueer, or something else), I think it is most often better to ask “How do you identify in terms of gender?” or “What pronouns would you prefer I use?” than making an assumption. Some people will be surprised and maybe upset you asked, but a genuinely well-intentioned question, with the goal of treating a person the way he or she wants to be treated is never wrong.

3. Do the Jews/Christians/Muslims/Wiccans allow that?

My mother always taught me never to discuss religion or politics. Well, not really, but if my mother were just a little bit more proper she might have. Religion can be a beautiful thing in the lives of LGBT people, but it can also be a painful one. If you ask, “Are you having a religious ceremony of any kind?”, most people will explain the ways in which religion and sexuality are being incorporated/reconciled in their wedding. If they don’t, wait till the wedding to find out. And if you’re not invited, I guess you’ll never know.

4. That’s nice that you’re having a celebration, but it’s not a real wedding.

This is just mean. What makes a wedding real? A marriage license? A minister? A $75,000 floral budget? How about love, committment, and community.

5. Isn’t marriage just a heterosexist and patriarchal institution? Why would you buy into it?

This question most often comes from within the LGBT community. LGBT people like straight people choose to marry for a variety of reasons: religious, personal, social, societal, etc. Also, LGBT people, like straight people, choose NOT to marry for a similar variety of reasons. You might not embrace marriage in your personal life or as a worthwhile goal of LGBT activism. But when someone important to you tells you they are going to celebrate their love for another, again, the correct response is “Congratulations”. Everyone should have the right and capability to choose.

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