My Wedding Had a Protestor

"We had a protestor at our wedding," my wife tells anyone who will listen. "I consider it a queer badge of honor," she always says, with a smile.

Maybe she's right, but a year ago when I spotted a man on a step ladder blurting obscenities through a megaphone at our wedding party, I felt horrified—and afraid.

Would he follow us through the streets of Lancaster? Were there more people like him around every corner? Would a fight break out? Would my wedding day be ruined?

I had no such worries on my first wedding day, thirty-five years earlier. The day where I wore my mother's Priscilla of Boston wedding gown and my father walked me down the aisle of the Wellesley College Chapel to my soon-to-be husband.

The man I would build a good life with. Have two sons with. The man whose heart I would eventually break when I came to terms with my sexuality late in life. The man who let me go with grace and compassion. The man who continues to extend both to me.

No, that wedding day in 1986 did not draw any protestors. That was my white picket fence day. A wedding that everyone celebrates without reservation. A wedding day wreaking with privilege.

Here's the thing: I didn't set out to become someone whose wedding would be protested.

I was a good girl, a rule follower, a first child, an A student ... you get the picture. Which made the decision to leave everything behind for a completely unknown future beyond terrifying.

And yet, an insistent voice within kept whispering: You must do this. 

Listening to that voice is what led me on the journey to this second wedding day. 

Truth be told, my initial inclination was to have a quiet wedding that didn't draw attention, not the brass band-led stroll through downtown Lancaster that my wife wanted.

But now I understand why it was—and is—important to be out and proud—to be visible.

Our stories matter.

They matter to the pre-teen who joined the stroll with their mom, which gave them an opening to have a conversation about their sexual identity.

They matter to the young woman raised by fundamentalist Christian parents who saw our wedding as a sign that a joyful future was possible for her.

They matter to two young men we know who are cautiously contemplating their own marriage.

Happy Pride, y'all! All of our stories matter. Yours matters too. 

Read more about my story and my memoir Graveyard of Safe Choices.

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