Sometimes privilege just kinda smacks you right in the face. It’s embarrassing. But it’s worthy. Those moments that make you realize you have something others don’t – those are important. They help you keep fighting for others, for the community, for the greater good.
For me, this happened in the form of a photo request.
I definitely understand that as a straight woman, I experience many comforts in my day-to-day living that others do not or have not in the recent past. My husband has always been able to make medical decisions for me if I am incapacitated. We can have a kiss or hold hands in public pretty much anywhere and not even worry for a moment that anyone might give us a second look. Our parenthood has never been questioned or required further steps beyond our kid just being born. I could write for pages about things that I have taken for granted, and I’m sure there’s even more that I haven’t even thought about.
And then there’s that whole getting married thing. We joined together emotionally, spiritually AND legally seventeen years ago. We got married in my parents’ backyard in my rural hometown in Ohio. No one turned away an invitation in protest of our joining together. We didn’t have to feel out each vendor to see if they approved of our marriage and would offer us their services. Our marriage was legal and widely accepted.
This was not the story for many of my couples for so many years. So many wonderful, beautiful same-sex couples got married in Ohio even though it wasn’t legal on paper and didn’t grant them the same rights as husband and wife.
And then all of a sudden, on June 26, 2015, it WAS legal! Wahoo!!!! Oh happy day! One of my couples had not expected for their wedding day to equal a legal marriage, but it did!
And last year, more of the weddings I photographed were bride and bride than bride and groom. One of my amazing couples had waited twenty years for this, because they wanted it to be legal.
That photo request
Which brings me to that piece of paper, that photo request. As a photographer of people and moments, the details (personalized napkins, hair combs, etc.) are not all that important to me. I get as many as I can think to get, and try hard to get the ones I know are important to the couple, but that is not at all where I spend the majority of my time. I spend most of my time on the wedding day photographing people, documenting their laughs and their cries and their hugs and their silly faces. So when someone says, “Hey! They’re signing the marriage certificate!” I inwardly roll my eyes and go take a few pictures. There’s not much emotion in taking pen to paper, is there?
Oh but yes, there is. There can be SO much emotion in taking pen to paper on a document to which you’ve only recently been granted access. Just because it wasn’t a big deal for me, doesn’t mean it’s not a big deal for others. It’s a justifiably REALLY BIG DEAL to those who had no access to that piece of paper just a couple years ago.
I was wrong to ever have inwardly rolled my eyes at this request. I can see that privilege now. Just look at these beautiful faces of awe and satisfaction!
It’s one heck of an important piece of paper, and I’m so happy everyone finally has access to it and the rights that come with it; because love is love is love. And love is a most beautiful thing.
If you would like me to document your wedding day love, I’d love to chat! Send me a message right over here!