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June 23, 2016: Wedding Bell News

June 24, 2016

Mara and I went to my nephew’s wedding last Saturday. It was a beautiful outdoor wedding at a secluded ranch. I was a bit nervous as we were getting ready, not knowing how some members of my family — who hadn’t had any contact with Mara since we came out to them four years ago — would react to seeing her as a woman. But when we got there, I realized that some of them were nervous too.

I also wondered about where we were going to sit at the ceremony. Was there assigned seating at the reception? Would certain family members balk at having Mara in the family photo? What about dancing together? And what will happen when Mara needs to pee?

There were a few awkward moments for Mara. This person, who loves walking into a crowd of people and schmoozing with anyone whether she knows them or not, suddenly was apprehensive around my mom and siblings. (I guess I don’t blame her, after all of the things they’ve said about her and basically shunned her.)

When we went to sit down for the ceremony, Mara told me to go ahead and sit with my family in the first two rows; and she would hang back and with my cousin and her boyfriend. I wanted to sit with my spouse, so we both sat a few rows back. And it was no problem for me, and no one in my family said a word about it.

It was open seating at the reception, so we sat with our nieces, nephews, and other extended family members who accept Mara (who was still a bit apprehensive — enough to down two glasses of wine before dinner, which is unlike her). Throughout the evening, I got up and spent some time with my mom and siblings.

When it came time for the family photos, Mara once again told me to go ahead without her. No. I said I would stay back. That’s when one of my nieces said she told the rest of the clan that Mara is part of the family and should be in the photo. Period. We didn’t hear a peep out of anyone who wasn’t comfortable with having a transgender person in the family photo; and no one hung back. So we all smiled for the camera.

Dancing wasn’t a problem. There was a lot of line dancing; otherwise, most people danced in groups, not necessarily with a partner, most of the time.

Finally, the bathroom issue was a non-issue, thanks to a bank of individual porta-potties.

I was amazed that it went as well as it did. No drama. No distraction from the reason why we were there. I feel stronger every time I take a stand for Mara and for our marriage. But what really touched me was that my nieces and nephews — and their kids — took a stand. Not to “pick sides.” (In fact, I would hope that there are no “sides.” They all respect their parents’/grandparents’ viewpoints, even if they disagree with them.) But rather to simply follow their consciences and do what they feel is right.

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