Right now I'm booking a lot of wedding gigs, and I'm really enjoying that kind of work. It is fun, creative and I get to tell a love story. It really is a great gig, and I sincerely feel artistically fulfilled by this kind of work.
It is also an industry with heavy heteronormative leanings. For a multitude of reasons, none more prominent than the legality of same-sex couples to marry; and for same-sex couples in a state/country where it was legal, how many of them have a supportive family helping plan and fund their big day in any comparable sense that many if not most opposite-sex couples have?
So far, all of my wedding gigs have been opposite-sex couples, and lately I find myself defaulting to language like, "Bride and Groom", more often than I wish. Which is perfectly acceptable when talking about a specific wedding experience, but then it becomes extremely problematic when talking in a more general sense.
For example, I was recently at a meeting with the organization, "Youth-Outlook" , which is an LGBTQ support group for young children. One of the people I met was a gay woman named Nancy. She shared a bit of her story with me, about how she was a homeless teenager who didn't think she deserved love or happiness until this organization opened its doors and showed her the love and acceptance she deserved.
During this meeting, I referenced my wedding filmmaking experiences in a way that defaulted to the terminology, "Bride and Groom". It didn't feel problematic or offensive at the moment, and the two people I was speaking with didn't visibly or verbally react to my verbiage. What I do know for certain is how unnecessary and dangerous it was to accidentally perpetuate a culture of exclusion. Intentional or not, that antiquated default is not respecting the value of someone gay, queer, trans* or, "Non-YA-BUSINESS!".
I have a responsibility to set an example in this industry that weddings are for all couples, of all variants of gender and sexuality. My language should reflect this, and the only assumption I shall ever make from this point forward, is that everyone has a unique love story, and I'm available to help them tell it.
Looking forward to working with all couples who are about to wed, and saved room in their budget for a beautiful video.