Wedding Regrets

Recently I started working as a photographer’s assistant to learn how to do wedding photography. It was late in summer when I started, so the wedding season was almost finished. Nonetheless, I went to and photographed five weddings in the span of about two months. For someone who hasn’t been to a lot of weddings, it was a bit overwhelming.

I thought it would be weird to go to strangers’ weddings. And it was, a bit. But it was also lovely. A wedding is still a beautiful event meant to celebrate a couple’s love, whether the bride is your best friend or someone you met for the first time as they hustled into their wedding dress.

A lot of care, and planning, and love went into the weddings I attended. Two of them were Disney themed. One had a general geek theme. All were painstakingly decorated with handmade decorations and beautiful flowers.

I love weddings. They are fun for me, as a guest and also as a photographer. So going to five weddings after my own just over a year ago brought back some wonderful memories, but also stirred up some regrets. Continue reading “Wedding Regrets”

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Finding Church

I’ve been a member of my church for about five years. I started going shortly after I first moved into the neighborhood. I’ve wanted a church to call home for a very long time, but as a youth did not want one that prescribed a belief system I could not get behind. Mostly, I’m talking about Christianity.

When I was in high school, those were still the days before the cross-Canada legalization of same-sex marriage. I was starting to explore organized religion after my studies in individual spiritual systems left me feeling unfulfilled, and an unidentified nagging pushed me onward. I decided to attend a local United Church and loved it. The friendliness, the singing, the shaking hands. It wasn’t overly preachy. I couldn’t wait to dive all the way in.

I had many chats with the church’s youth pastor and eventually the subject of confirmation classes came up. I only had to clear up one thing.

“How important is the belief in the divinity of Jesus?” I asked.

“It’s the core of our belief system,” he told me, slightly bewildered.

I thanked him for his time and never went back. I would find Church elsewhere. Continue reading “Finding Church”

I respectfully disagree with both Simon Pegg & George Takei over Gay Sulu

So I just saw Star Trek Beyond. You know, the one with gay Sulu.

Not to spoil it; it’s super subtle. While on temporary leave on a star base, Sulu is able to meet up with whom we are led to assume is his partner and his daughter. His partner is a man. The only other shot we get is his partner appearing next to him at a party later on.

And so, everyone has been freaking out that Sulu is gay.

George Takei has stated that he is disappointed that the character he played on The Original Series has been changed so fundamentally. He agrees that it’s about time for an LGBT hero to show up in the Trek universe on screen, but feels that a new character should have been developed instead of changing one that Gene Roddenberry created as a heterosexual. He says that the interracial kiss that Star Trek aired in 1968 was about as far as they could push the envelope at the time, so excluding LGBT characters was “not some oversight by [Gene Roddenberry]; it was a conscious decision with which he grappled.”

Simon Pegg has respectfully disagreed. He claimed that in introducing a new character as gay, the character “would have been primarily defined by their sexuality, seen as the ‘gay character’, rather than simply for who they are, and isn’t that tokenism?” He argues that Roddenberry would have made Sulu gay himself, and “[i]f he could have explored Sulu’s sexuality with George, he no doubt would have.”

While I see both points of view, why is nobody considering the option of Sulu just being bi? Continue reading “I respectfully disagree with both Simon Pegg & George Takei over Gay Sulu”

Mrs. Mo

Or, Why I’ve Finally Decided to Change My Last Name

Recently I figured out, with a little effort, how to change my name on Facebook. It’s a move I don’t make lightly. My mother comes from a family of only two daughters. They both made conscious decisions to pass on the family name. My father was easy-going about it, so Mom not only kept her maiden name, but passed it on to my brother and me.

Talk of marriage has come up in relationships for me before, and it never got any further than talk. But the conversations I did have usually got around to my last name, eventually. I was always adamant that I would keep my last name. Partly to keep the name alive, partly for feminism, and partly because I thought it would be really weird to take on a new name. I balked at this expectation that I would just absorb into my husband’s family. If it wasn’t an established cultural expectation – requirement, even, for some men – then I would probably have been more open minded about it.

Like I am now, with my wife. With two women, there is no assumption about last names. There were questions, of course, but most started with the supposition that we were not changing. “So you’ll be keeping your names, or will one of you change it?” We were already bucking tradition by marrying women. Continue reading “Mrs. Mo”

#YHZ – Spelling It Out

Hi! My name is Mo, and I’m super gay!

Being loud and proud can be a tricky thing for an introvert. I’m a private person by nature, and whenever I find myself in a crowd of strangers (a scenario I actively avoid at all costs), my first instinct is to find a quiet, out of the way corner where I can sit and breathe and be left alone. In moments like this, I wish to be invisible.

Kate and I recently returned from our yearly trip to Nova Scotia. This was our first visit as wives! My family is always extremely warm to Kate (if you ask me, they could stand to tone it down a bit), but the area I’m from is rural and extremely small. I’m never confident of how non-relatives will interpret us. I don’t expect harassment, necessarily, but I do prepare myself for mild confusion and inappropriate questions.

The Mrs and I aren’t big on PDA in front of strangers. I think that’s equal parts introversion and queer nervousness. If we’re out together and we’re not holding hands or touching, I can understand someone not immediately guessing that we’re a couple. But sometimes people don’t clue in even when I’ve explicitly spelled it out. When this happens, it comes across as selective hearing, and that sort of bums me out. Continue reading “#YHZ – Spelling It Out”

Real Housewife of Edmonton

When Kate and I first got together, we both had full-time jobs. Neither of us were terribly satisfied with the career paths we were on. Our home time was split between doing household chores and recharging our social batteries. Weekends were just long enough to make us feel like people again, and then Monday would roll around. Our jobs were leeching more than the requisite eight hours per day from us. We both craved a proper work/life balance.

Now and again, we would toy with the idea of one of us taking time off work to focus on writing. It was fun to think about, but it didn’t really seem feasible as an actual option.

We got married last year, in a much smaller ceremony than we had originally planned. Most of our “wedding fund” wasn’t needed for the wedding, but we still wanted to use it for something that was important to us. Investing in one of our dreams seemed like the right choice.

I quit my job back in April. So far, it’s been weird, but good. From the start, it was important to me to make the most of the opportunity. I’ve structured my lifestyle accordingly. Continue reading “Real Housewife of Edmonton”

No Monsters Here

Mothers-in-law are seemingly the stuff of nightmares: they are the antagonists of horror stories told between friends and coworkers, and as villains in pop-culture, right up there with evil step-mothers.

I’ve had my share of horror stories concerning the parents (especially mothers) of people I’ve dated. I dated a Filipino guy in high school, and his mother would lecture him – right in front of me – about how he should be dating a nice, Catholic, Asian girl. I am neither Catholic nor Asian. It was about as awkward as you’d expect.

My only multi-year relationship (aside from my wife) was with a Canadian-Indian son of immigrant parents. His parents refused to acknowledge me once we started dating, and for two and a half years I was not allowed at his house. He would never tell them when he was with me. His parents frequently pressured him to not only leave me, but also tried setting him up with other women.

This was all before I came out – imagine the reaction if I had been openly queer, too! So it only makes sense that wading into the queer community’s dating pool was a little intimidating, especially concerning parents of prospective partners. Continue reading “No Monsters Here”

#YEG – Small Wedding, Big City

When Kate and I decided on a quick and simple wedding, it just made sense to have it in Edmonton. This is where we live, after all, and this is where we met and fell in love. Edmonton may not appear at the top of anyone’s “queer friendliest cities” list (after all, our province is sometimes referred to as the Texas of Canada), but we were hopeful that our wedding day would unfold without incident.

We stacked the deck in our favour. We only invited two guests: a couple of confirmed non-homophobes (my sister and Kate’s bestie). Kate’s a Unitarian, which is like, the queerest church there is, so we knew her minister wouldn’t have any qualms about marrying us. The fine people at Derks had been friendly and professional in helping me find a suit, and our stylist (Jaclyn from Kinetic Salon) had been tickled to help us figure out wedding hairstyles. As I emerged from her swivel chair on the big day, legs slightly wobbly, she handed me a wedding card.

We felt supported by the small network we had assembled. But we had no idea what the rest of the city had in store for us. Continue reading “#YEG – Small Wedding, Big City”

The Wedding That Wasn’t

Kate and I got married last year, on September 27.

This wasn’t our first chosen date. It wasn’t our second or third, for that matter. We had originally settled on 2016, to give ourselves plenty of time to get everything done. We spent months making plans, changing plans, scrapping plans. We were going to get married in Nova Scotia in October, then Edmonton in June, then Nova Scotia in July. It would be a big wedding, or maybe really small, or perhaps sort of medium?

We navigated dozens of websites, flipped through tourism guides, and Google-mapped venues. We scrutinized photography samples, and menus, and guest accommodations. We took notes. We made spreadsheets. And, just like every TV couple you see planning a wedding, we lost our minds in the process. Continue reading “The Wedding That Wasn’t”

A Wife By Any Other Name

It seems to me, especially given my own experience, that women can get away with homoerotic behaviours far more than men can. Before – and since – coming out, I’ve made comments about my attraction to women and have had it accepted without the batting of a single eye. Many women talk about their female friends as girlfriends in a completely platonic fashion. Even confessed crushes have been brushed aside with nonchalant waves; intense feelings of attraction towards women apparently being a common occurrence amongst even the straightest of women. Continue reading “A Wife By Any Other Name”