Real Families // Overcoming Adversity Together: Taylor + Shealynn + Cassidy

As a bisexual woman, I never really had to “come out” to anyone. I’ve mostly dated men and haven’t experienced outright homophobia like the majority of the LGBTQ+ community has. Working with Taylor and Shealynn gave me a glimpse into what could happen to me if I end up spending my life with another woman. Their hardships were something I knew happened, but had never been spoken to directly about before. I always liked to think the best of people, and hearing of their discrimination in my own hometown was incredibly heartbreaking. Hearing that local photographers that I know and spend time with refused them service based on their sexuality absolutely nauseated me. 

However, Taylor and Shealynn were all smiles. They were so incredibly happy to find someone that would celebrate in their love with them, and it just radiated from them both. You could feel their love just by looking at them. The way they love each other and their daughter just warmed my whole being. Cassidy is the cutest and most wonderful child, and to her there is nothing different about her family. She has two amazing people who love each other and her more than anything else in the world, and that’s all she needs. I can only hope that one day I am lucky enough to have a love like theirs. 

Taylor says, "My wife and I have a loving relationship, and we raise a beautiful little girl together. Our family is based on laughter, communication, and a lot of love. We’re blessed to have many people in our life who support and encourage us. However, that doesn’t take away the fact that there are quite a few people who discriminate against us and are not so nice about us being married or raising a child together. We got married at the courthouse, and most of it was a fantastic experience except for the man who officiated our marriage. He made it clear that he thought a marriage between two women was absurd. He did not allow us to say vows, kiss, put our rings on each other, not to mention he officiated for us right in front of the front doors of the court house. As hurtful and maddening as that was, my wife and I decided to not let it bother us. We decided that the important thing was that we were married and could celebrate our love for the rest of our lives. Our daughter, Cassidy is a beautiful, clever, hilarious child. We are in the long process of trying to get legal custody of her. We are so happy to have the privilege of loving each other and getting to provide a safe, stable home for a very deserving little girl." 

Photos and words by Erika Ryan

 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography
 Fort Smith Arkansas LGBTQ couple with adopted child Erika Ryan Photography

 Erika Ryan Photography

Meet Erika Ryan: I am a 23-year-old Southern California native, currently residing in Fort Smith, Arkansas. I specialize in wedding photography and portraiture. I travel as much as possible to shoot weddings and expand my own view of the world. I love Harry Potter, cats, and 80s rock. If you play Journey at your wedding, I will dance with you and your guests! I started my photography journey in 2015, and have been incredibly lucky to pursue what I love and meet amazing people all over the country. I am a huge advocate for love, equality and the betterment of humanity and our planet.