Talking Cultural Diversity

a discussion board for cultural and diversity issues by Thomas Kochman and Jean Mavrelis

No Questions Asked

By Sue Hoye - 05.16.2011

I’m on the wedding circuit these days, or maybe I should say I’m on the commitment ceremony circuit. For whatever reason, many of my LGBT friends have decide to publicly declare their unions this spring, despite the fact that most of the states they live in do not recognize same-sex marriage.

For the latest ceremony in late April I drove 12 hours south of DC to Atlanta, a city I lived in for 10 years and still consider one of my homes. I took my two sons, 12 and 8, on the long drive. We had hours and hours to fill and we managed just fine. We talked about their love of the Chicago Bulls and their adoration of the #1 Derrick Rose.

They peppered me with so many basketball facts I could call a game myself now. But the NBA wasn’t the only topic. We talked about school, the Waffle House (they love a place with waffle in the name), why they can sell fireworks in South Carolina (they love the idea of blowing things up), and a million other random subjects. The one thing we never discussed was the commitment ceremony they were about to attend. I can’t say why, it just never came up.

It is important to know here that while I’ve been attending these events, this was a first for my offspring. There we were sitting in a beautiful backyard in Atlanta on a warm spring afternoon, flowers surrounding us, old friends greeting me and marveling at how much the children had grown. We sat down, the music started, the flower girls entered and then it hit me. I hadn’t told the boys that two women were getting married. What would their reaction be? Could I quietly prepare them now in this confined space, surrounded by people? The answer was no, and I had to wait to see what would happen.

What happened was this… NOTHING. They seemed not to notice, or if they did they didn’t care or see it worthy of comment. They only saw two people standing in front of them declaring their love and commitment. There were no questions asked then or later, or comments made. They were perfect little gentlemen during the ceremony and danced and laughed with everyone at the reception.

I wish I could say that it was my excellent parenting and open mindedness that made that the case, but I would be over reaching. Because let’s face it, plenty of my loving and open minded contemporaries pelted me with honest and curious questions like: Did they both wear dresses? Was one more like a bride and the other more like a groom? Were most of the guests LGBT? What was it like?

None of these are bad questions, or mean-spirited. My generation of 40-somethings is simply still developing a picture of what all this looks like. And I’m sure on some level my children are too, but for them it just is.

And isn’t that nice for them? Won’t it be great if they can support their friends or one another should they come-out some time in the future, without as much fear of public rejection as has previously been the case? Personally, I couldn’t be happier for them.

One Response so far

That is wonderful to hear that the boys were transparent to the fact that they were at a wedding and that the gender of the couple was not what was important. This is what I love about children and how they are so excepting of others without questioning why. We should all try to do this in our daily lives and when does that gift go away? When do we become so jaded to the fact that we will only honor someone else’s love only if it is by our own standards? I am also in a situation of making a decision about my wedding in which one of my bridesmaids is lesbian and she does not normally dress like a girl. She mainly shops in the men’s department and wears jeans and t-shirts more often then anything else. She has a very short boy haircut and feels very comfortable in her self image like this. I feel strongly about having her wear nice slacks and a matching shirt in the wedding so as not to make her stand out, but also not to make her wear a dress which would be completley awkward for her. Now my family is too the utmost extreme conservatives and will be mortified and offended by this situation. How do I honor my bridesmaid’s choices and not completely offend my family. The wedding is in June and I will need to make a decision soon, it just saddens me to think that I might have to override my friends choices in order to reserve the comments and snickers towards her at the wedding. This is actually one of the hardest choices that I have had to make for the wedding I feel that it is absolutely ridiculous that people still judge each other on sexual preferences.

Leave a comment