Kin Aesthetics // Thinking Beyond Marriage

Kin Aesthetics // Thinking Beyond Marriage

By making what felt like my first adult decision, I had hopped on an escalator and couldn’t get off. We grew to love each other, and I wasn’t miserable. Yet I increasingly wondered, is this it?

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Real Couples // A Lake Michigan Beach Engagement: Emily + Ang

Real Couples // A Lake Michigan Beach Engagement: Emily + Ang

Emily's engagement ring is gold with a small diamond and was made for my great-grandmother in the 1940s by my great-uncle in Melbourne. My great-grandmother was a rabble-rousing Anglican woman who loved me dearly and was always kind. It seemed appropriate to give it to a rabble-rousing Episcopalian woman who loves me dearly and is always kind.

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Queer + Christian // Love, Marriage and Half Year Celebrations!

Queer + Christian // Love, Marriage and Half Year Celebrations!

Being the kid at heart that I am, in addition to celebrations marking a full year of things, I also love celebrating halfs, and last month was the half anniversary of our wedding — one and a half years married ya’ll!!!  Throw confetti, release the unicorns, and let Kool & The Gang in to “Celebrate good times, come on!”

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Queer + Christian // National Coming Out Day

Queer + Christian // National Coming Out Day

Cue the rainbow colored lights, cue the glitter, cue the legend herself Ms. Diana Ross with all that fabulous hair, wearing the neon purple sparkling bodysuit, singing "I’m coming out, I want the world to know, got to let it show!" Cue all my friends and family together in one room clapping wildly and waving pride flags and holding signs that say things about Jesus being over the moon about me, as I stand on the stage making my announcement in the most dramatic way I can dream, that “I am here and indeed queer!” Tears of joy stream down my face, and I feel free and celebrated and embraced. Ms. Ross puts her arm around my waist and holds the microphone in front of my mouth. The wind swings her hair in my direction, covering my face, and she tosses it back with her hand as iconically as she always does. We sway side to side laughing, and then we sing, "Reach out and touch, somebody’s hand, make this world a better place, if you can,” and it is everything….

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Queer + Christian // How A Christian-First Identity Causes Further Oppression

Queer + Christian // How A Christian-First Identity Causes Further Oppression

When I enter church, I don’t get to take off my womanness or my blackness or my queerness and just enter as Christian. I enter as all of me, which includes the parts of my identity that our society privileges and the parts of my identity that our society oppresses. Shout out to Mother Lorde who preached to us all that, There is no thing as a single-issue struggle, because we do not live single-issue lives.

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Real Couples // A Stylish, Woodsy LGBTQ+ Wedding: Mack + Jeanne

Real Couples // A Stylish, Woodsy LGBTQ+ Wedding: Mack + Jeanne

After meeting and falling in love in D.C. while on deployment, Mack brought Jeanne back to Cincinnati to continue their love story. And so, on a warm, spring day, adoring family and friends near and far traveled to witness Mack and Jeanne wed in an intimate ceremony nestled in the woods. Light poured in through the trees, shined onto the couple, and illuminated their faces during this mystical moment. Jeanne’s mother performed a chant ritual bringing goodness, gratitude, and love into the space. The ceremony concluded with handwritten vows and a joyful exit. Back at the barn, Jeanne’s sister presented a slideshow of the story of Mack and Jeanne, filling the reception with laughter and the happiest tears. The evening ended with a gorgeous golden sunset, and a dancing celebration.

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On LGBTQ Acceptance in the African American Community

On LGBTQ Acceptance in the African American Community

As I was driving home, my head swirled with thoughts of "the Truth" and how "Christians" can sometimes be the least likely to draw people to Christ. I began to ponder why is it that the African American community (most of it) has not embraced and affirmed LGBTQ individuals? Truth be told, there are those family members that we always knew preferred the same sex, but it was never discussed. Not only was it not discussed, they just never seemed to bring anyone to the family dinners or get-togethers.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Cindy Savage of Aisle Less Traveled

Woke Wednesday // Meet Cindy Savage of Aisle Less Traveled

Liz: Would you tell us a bit about what the coming out process was like for you?

Cindy: Yeah. It was horrible from one side and totally great from the other. So: good stuff first. During that first relationship, my best friend had come to visit and totally called me out on what was going on. So she was the first person who knew. And honestly, she knew before that, I'm sure, as I know we'd had some theoretical conversations about it, in which I'd said I could easily imagine being with a woman. I wasn't really worried about acceptance among her, or really any of my friends; it was more that I'd been keeping this secret at the behest of my ex, and now a year and a half in, it felt shitty to have waited so long to tell anyone. I told her, and two or three other people in our tiny theatre department also knew, since I'd needed an occasional confidant. But I started making a concerted effort (mostly via AIM, laughs) to tell my other friends, and every single one of them was instantly supportive. Which was awesome.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Colorado Photographer Cassie Rosch

Woke Wednesday // Meet Colorado Photographer Cassie Rosch

For Woke Wednesday, we spoke with Cassie Rosch, a destination photographer based in Colorado, about her journey from small town USA to coming out as queer and traveling the world to photograph love.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Cassandra Zetta, an LGBTQ+ Wedding Photographer in Cincinnati

Woke Wednesday // Meet Cassandra Zetta, an LGBTQ+ Wedding Photographer in Cincinnati

Cassandra: June 2012 was momentous for me personally, as I got married and officially started my business in that same month. Planning a same-sex wedding prior to marriage equality, while it was mostly wonderful for us, still stirred up emotions that should never be associated with such an exciting experience. We dealt with anxiety, nervousness, and worry about how vendors would treat us. With every email sent, the question "Are you comfortable working with a same-sex couple?" was included so that there weren't any uncomfortable surprises later. A bit of our joy was stolen from us simple because of who we were. For these reasons, I realized it was imperative to effect change in the wedding industry, and I knew I could make a difference with photography. And so, I overhauled my business in the fall of 2013 to refocus on LGBTQ+ weddings and elopements. The work I am doing now fills my heart and soul in a way I never could have imagined possible. Being able to share my passion and mission, while having life experiences that allow for a true understanding of those in the community, while inviting them to love openly and honestly, is a gift that I am honored and privileged to give.

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Autostraddle Stories // Love and Mental Heath

Autostraddle Stories // Love and Mental Heath

When I was 16 I explained to my partner how emotions feel to me. Physical, like warm sun on cold skin or kissing someone for the first time and smiling the whole way through. Overwhelming, like drowning in a shallow pool and forgetting how to walk, let alone swim. Beautiful, like seeing the ocean for the first time and knowing you’ll never forget the look of the sunset against the waves. Being bipolar means falling in love with everything and, just as easily, resenting it. Falling out of love.

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Autostraddle Stories // The Value of Intersectional Community

Autostraddle Stories // The Value of Intersectional Community

When I moved to Poland about a year ago, I knew that I was saying goodbye. I knew that I was moving to a country that wasn’t all that LGBTQ-friendly and that language barriers were going to make it difficult to re-establish a close network of friends. What I didn’t realize was the giant hole this was going to leave in my heart.

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Autostraddle Stories // Coming Out and Coming Up Short

Autostraddle Stories // Coming Out and Coming Up Short

When I was 14, I stayed up late watching chick flicks, crying, and desperately hoping I could have a love that would set me free. Yes, I know, this is an unfortunately stereotypical story of a pubescent teenage girl pining for a relationship. I believed the best way to achieve happiness was through a happy monogamous relationship. Unfortunately, I had no idea (and still don’t know) what that looked like. After much trial and error, I later discovered being in a relationship and feeling free, without a healthy foundation, isn’t that simple.

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Real Couples // A Day in the Life of Lovers: Bonnie + Vince

Real Couples // A Day in the Life of Lovers: Bonnie + Vince

This session melts my heart for a few reasons. First of all, I had the opportunity to really get to know a friend from school and meet her boyfriend—something that wouldn’t have happened otherwise if we didn’t all share a passion for photography. At our initial meeting, they began to explain how different they both are but how great their relationship works. They both agreed that once I saw their apartment, everything would make sense. And it did.

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Kin Aesthetics // Queer Kinship in a Trump Dystopia

Kin Aesthetics // Queer Kinship in a Trump Dystopia

When I began identifying publicly as queer and entered the local queer community, my dream of having an instant family never quite materialized. I pushed myself to go out to house parties, bars, poetry readings, marches, workshops, all geared towards LGBTQ folks. In those spaces and in every interaction, I learned so much about the culture of queerness and the specific politics that define queerness beyond sexuality or gender.

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Real Couples // A Genderqueer Vineyard Wedding: Liz + Braz

Real Couples // A Genderqueer Vineyard Wedding: Liz + Braz

I prefer 'they' or 'Braz.'...I would say it was a queer wedding because we are queer, although I would also acknowledge that it was a pretty traditional/normative wedding as far as 'queer weddings' go...I think it's important for queer people to know that they have options. They can have the kind of traditional wedding they've seen in the movies and magazines their entire lives or they can do something totally different that's whatever the hell they want it to be. 

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Real Couples // Minneapolis Romance: Theresa + Brenda

Real Couples // Minneapolis Romance: Theresa + Brenda

Theresa and Brenda are examples of strong, modern individuals who do great work in the world: Theresa has a PhD in Child Psychology and is a university professor, and Brenda is an MD who practices medicine. This couple lives in Portland (OR) but traveled back home to Minneapolis to get married and celebrate amidst their loved ones. They are the kind of couple that is not only so happy and in love, but they are also incredibly deserving of the happiness and love they have found. They are kind and gentle, and their joy is truly contagious.

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Real Couples // A Motorcycle Engagement: Sarah + Nicole

Real Couples // A Motorcycle Engagement: Sarah + Nicole

As a wedding planner, I (Sarah) get asked a lot of etiquette questions, but my mantra is — whatever makes you happy and reflects who you are. As a couple, Nicole and I have applied this to our own wedding planning. We've decided on a destination wedding in Italy (and honestly don't care that we can't legally marry there because our best friend is officiating and the good ole USA has granted us that right) because we like to eat and Nicole says the best meal of her life was in Positano. While I don't mind bigger weddings, for my own, I want to have time to hold each guests hand, look them in the eye and thank them for being a part of our lives. 40 guests makes this totally doable. We focus on our relationship and the love that surrounds us — that's what the heart of a wedding is about! 

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