Showing posts with label Gay Wedding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Wedding. Show all posts

August 22, 2019

The 1957 Gay Wedding Photos Buried in The Holly Homophobia Soil

(To be able to show all of the pictures that the BBC showed on their site, I will post them at the bottom of this report. These pictures come from the archives of USC)
The pictures are very moving, they take you to a generation before gay marriage was completely outlawed, some said you will not discriminate just because someone said I was a monster who should not get united with others alike. But the only monsters are always the ones that want to take away the human rights of their fellow man so these photos were buried on homophobia holly ground.       Adam Gonzalez
Decades before gay marriage became legal anywhere in the US, same-sex couples were committing themselves to each other in front of friends and loved ones. Few records of these ceremonies existed - until now, writes Jonathan Berr.
In 1957, a man dropped off a roll of film at a pharmacy in Philadelphia. But the developed photos were never returned to their owners.
The pictures appear to depict a gay wedding, nearly 50 years before same-sex marriage was legal anywhere in the US and almost 60 years before it became a federally-recognized right.
Now, a trio of gay producers and writers are trying to identify the grooms to learn their story and to find out whether a pharmacy employee balked at providing the snaps because they objected to their subject.
The writers are documenting their efforts in a reality show The Mystery of the 1957 Gay Wedding Photos.
The program, which doesn't yet have a platform to call home, is being produced in conjunction with Endemol Shine Group, whose shows include Big Brother, The Biggest Loser, and Extreme  "It's a passion project for us," says Michael J. Wolfe, a Los Angeles-based writer. "We are turning over every stone, interviewing dozens of people in the Philadelphia area and beyond, and consulting with investigators, historians, and experts across many different fields."
The photos were acquired by a collector a few years ago who had bought them at an online auction. He realized their significance and donated them to ONE Archive at the USC Libraries in Los Angeles and at the Wilcox Archives in Philadelphia.
The couple in the pictures appear to be in their 20s or 30s, so they would be in their 80s or 90s if they were alive today. The grooms and their guests are dressed up in dark suits with flowers in their lapels.
The celebration took place in a modest flat with the blinds drawn. It featured a ceremony officiated by someone who appears to be a member of the clergy. The grooms are shown kissing, cutting their wedding cake and opening presents.
WeddingImage copyrighted ARCHIVES AT USC
Mr. Wolfe and his partners, filmmaker PJ Palmer and TV writer/producer Neal Baer, have not identified the mystery couple yet.
They request any tipsters to contact them through their website and Facebook page.
Two grooms kiss at their wedding image copyrighted ARCHIVES AT USC
For Palmer, the pictures were especially moving.
"We are recovering amazing, important stories all sorts of them... and more gay history that's been buried," he says.
"There is a very rich history that's been suppressed… I wish as a child [that] I had seen family photos of a marriage like this... I would have felt more normal as a kid. I would have known that I was okay."
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Twenty years of key US gay rights milestones
Couples who fell in love sometimes committed themselves to one another in unions that were not acknowledged by either governments or religions.
The US Supreme Court didn't recognize the right for gay people to marry the person of their choice until 2015, 11 years after Massachusetts did so.
(Men open gifts at a wedding image copyrighted ARCHIVES AT USC)
"We don't know how common or uncommon it was for couples to hold ceremonies to marry each other [because] there is so little photographic or film record of how people actually lived," says Eric Marcus, host of the Making Gay History podcast.
"It's important to remember that people found ways to live their lives quietly away from the prying eyes of the straight world."
Of course, that was easier said than done.
 Several years before the wedding took place, President Dwight Eisenhower signed an executive order banning gays from working for the federal government.
In 1952, The American Psychiatric Association classified homosexuality as a "sociopathic personality disturbance" in the first edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), the listing of known psychiatric disorders.
After considerable lobbying by activists, the APA removed homosexuality from the second edition of the DSM in 1973.
The Stonewall Riots, considered to be the birth of the modern gay rights movement, had happened a few years before that in 1969 - 12 years after the wedding. 
It's not just the passage of time that will hinder the search for the grooms. The filmmakers believe the Aids crisis may also be a factor - about 700,000 Americans have died since the start of the epidemic in the 1980s, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
"We are talking about a generation of people who were decimated by Aids," Mr. Wolfe said. "There are a lot of missing people who otherwise would have made a search like this much easier. All of that happened before social media."
If the couple is ever identified, they would certainly add another chapter in the history of gay rights for doing something extraordinary that is now becoming increasingly ordinary.
1.  Two men cut wedding cake
2.  Couples dance at a 1957 wedding
3.  Wedding
4.  Two grooms kiss at their wedding
5.  Men open gifts at a wedding
Two grooms at their wedding6.  A group of wedding guests

July 27, 2019

Have You Seen These Men? Married in 1957 Not Allowed To Keep their Photos

Image: The mysterious wedding photos of a gay couple were first printed in 1957 in a drug store in Philadelphia.
The mysterious wedding photos of a gay couple were first printed in 1957 in a drug store in Philadelphia.Courtesy of the John J. Wilcox Archives

By John Paul Brammer
Two men dressed in their Sunday best, boutonnieres on their lapels, are pictured jointly cutting into a cake. In another photo, they share a passionate kiss as two attendees, perhaps their best men, look on. The year is 1957, over a decade before New York City’s Stonewall riots would reshape LGBTQ history in America as we know it.
Black and white images of this intimate wedding ceremony, held more than half a century ago, recently surfaced online after making their way into the public archives of the ONE Archives Foundation in Los Angeles and the John J. Wilcox Jr. Archives of Philadelphia. The photos have piqued the interest of LGBTQ history buffs and those who want to find the couple, so the men can finally, six decades later, receive their wedding pictures.
Image: The mysterious wedding photos of a gay couple were first printed in 1957 in a drug store in Philadelphia.
The mysterious wedding photos of a gay couple were first printed in 1957 in a drug store in Philadelphia.Courtesy of the John J. Wilcox Archives
The snapshots were unearthed by the daughter of a woman who worked at the Philadelphia drug store where where one of the gay men had tried to get the pictures developed, according to ONE Archives Foundation. The shop’s staff, however, deemed the images “inappropriate” and withheld them from the man.
“My mother had a somewhat photographic memory for faces and retained these in the event the customers who dropped them off ever came back to the shop so that she could give them to the customers on the sly,” the shop worker’s daughter wrote in a letter to the ONE Archives Foundation.
The woman unearthed the photos 60 years later and sold them on eBay in 2013 to a donor who then gave them to the ONE Archive Foundation. The images later made their way to the John J. Wilcox Jr. Archives of Philadelphia and were recently featured on the local news site Philadelphia Citizen. Historians and social media users interested in the story have been searching for the grooms since then to no avail. That quest continues apace, but meanwhile, the photos offer a unique glimpse into the everyday lives of gay people in a time that is too often construed as little more than a waiting period before the social upheavals of the ‘60s.
Image: The mysterious wedding photos of a gay couple were first printed in 1957 in a drug store in Philadelphia.
The mysterious wedding photos of a gay couple were first printed in 1957 in a drug store in Philadelphia.Courtesy of the John J. Wilcox Archives
Marc Robert Stein, a history professor at San Francisco State University and author of the book “City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves: Lesbian and Gay Philadelphia, 1945-1972,” is uniquely qualified to speak on that past and help paint a fuller picture of the world the men from the photos might have lived in. It is unknown, however, whether the men lived in Philadelphia, or whether the photos were taken there.
Stein notes, importantly, that it was legal for the drug store's photography shop to turn the grooms away all those years ago, and it remains legal for businesses to do so today in much of the U.S.
Stein’s work helps bring into clarity the relationship between the LGBTQ community and commercial establishments in the midcentury, along with the challenges gay people faced from society at large and police in particular.
“We tend to associate beat coffee houses with San Francisco, but many American cities had them, and they were popular with jazz aficionados, poets, interracial couples and LGBTQ people,” Stein told NBC News of the popular gay gathering places at the time. “Many were targeted by police, like Humoresque, which was open right around the time Captain Frank Rizzo was beginning his political rise.”
Rizzo, whose image can be found today in a commemorative statue on Paine Plaza in front of Philadelphia’s Municipal Services Building, had a reputation for cruelty toward LGBTQ people and communities of color. At the time the wedding photos were thought to be taken, Rizzo would have been captain of the Philadelphia police force and regularly conducting raids on establishments that LGBTQ people frequented, using the excuse of drugs and noise complaints to harass patrons.
“It illustrates that on the one hand, there were dozens of commercial establishments including bars and clubs frequented by LGBTQ people, socializing and congregating in solidarity,” Stein said. “On the other hand, they were constantly under threat by police raids, violence, and harassment. Humoresque was the most publicly visible example.”
In early 1959, Rizzo led a raid on Humoresque Coffeeshop that resulted in the arrest of the owner and 34 patrons, presumably many of them gay, according to The Philadelphia Partisan. The police raids on establishments frequented by gay patrons reportedly started in the early ‘50s and continued well into the 1970s.
But even under these conditions, same-sex wedding ceremonies and rituals were taking place, albeit usually undercover and certainly a long way off from being recognized by the city or state in any capacity. One such ceremony is documented in the pages of The Philadelphia Tribune, the oldest continuously published black newspaper in the United States.
Image: The mysterious wedding photos of a gay couple were first printed in 1957 in a drug store in Philadelphia.
The mysterious wedding photos of a gay couple were first printed in 1957 in a drug store in Philadelphia.Courtesy of the John J. Wilcox Archives
On April 14, 1953, the paper had as its front-page story an article about a police raid on a wedding between two black women in their North Philadelphia home. The younger woman was described as “a blushing bride,” Stein said, while the older woman “was dressed in male clothes and went by the nickname ‘Duke.’” The article described a five-tiered wedding cake, a 10-pound turkey and “an unusual amount” of alcoholic beverages.
Duke, it is reported, argued with authorities that the wedding was merely entertainment for guests and that such a ceremony between two women was clearly a ruse, an elaborate ploy to throw a “pay and eat” party. This was strategic on Duke’s end, Stein said because it challenged her audience to be smart and offered Duke the option to play dumb. This was what survival for LGBTQ people often looked like back then: cleverly skirting law enforcement with a wink and a nod that others in the community would recognize.
The men in these recently unearthed wedding photos, if they are still alive, are likely in their late 80s or early 90s. There is presently nothing else known about them or their wedding guests, but regardless, their images shine additional light on a community that was often forced to hide in the shadows.
“It’s important for LGBTQ people to see ourselves represented in the past,” Stein said. “There’s this myth that life before the Stonewall riots was completely dark and dreary, and to see celebratory images of happy gay people fascinates us.”
Editor’s note: If you know the grooms — or if you're one of them — please contact

September 25, 2018

Queen Elizabeth Cousin Lord Ivar Makes History Today With The First Gay Royal Wedding

The Queen Opens Flanders Field WW1 Memorial Garden
Getty ImagesWPA Pool
Look at the smile!!
Queen Elizabeth II's cousin Lord Ivar Mountbatten made history over the weekend as the first royal to have a same-sex wedding when he wed his now-husband, James Coyle. The couple quietly tied the knot in Devon in front of family and friends, Cosmopolitan U.K. reports. 
It's unclear if familiar royals like Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince Charles, or the sovereign herself were present. (The Cambridges were seen at a friend's weddingon Saturday.) 
Although Lord Ivar's wedding to James took place out of the public eye (unlike Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's highly publicized nuptials in May), he did share details and photos from the intimate ceremony on Instagram this morning. 
"Well we did it finally!" he wrote in the caption. "It was an amazing day despite the miserable British weather." The images show the grooms wearing velvet jackets for the occasion, with James in deep blue and Lord Ivar in emerald green.
The couple was married by Trish Harrogate, chief Registrar for Devon, "who set the perfect but lighthearted tone for what is a serious occasion," Lord Ivar added. Music was provided by the Bristol’s Teachers Rock Choir. 
Lord Ivar previously married Penelope "Penny" Vere Thompson in 1994, but they divorced on amicable terms in 2011. Five years later, he publicly came out as gay. They have three daughters together, ranging from ages 15 to 22, USA Today reports. The whole family was present at the wedding—and Penny was the one who walked Ivar down the aisle. 
"Most importantly a massive thanks to my 3 gorgeous girls for being so understanding and supportive, without their support this could never have happened!" Ivar added in his Instagram post. "And finally the biggest thank you to James for being just perfect......"
Lord Ivar previously said he could do without an official ceremony, but he decided to have one for James, who hasn't been married before. "For me, what's interesting is I don't need to get married because I've been there, done that and have my wonderful children; but I'm pushing it because I think it's important for him," he told Daily Mail. "James hasn't had the stable life I have. I want to be able to give you that."
We don't know many details on the wedding celebration, but the couple previously teased that it would be very low-key. They didn't even have an official proposal, James told the Mail in June. The ceremony would only be for family and friends, and the afterparty would have about 120 guests, said.
"We went to a wedding a couple of weeks ago and said: 'We're not doing that. We're not cutting cakes. We're not having a first dance," James added at the time.
Congratulations to the happy couple!

July 26, 2018

This Oklahoma Wife and Mom Won't Mind Being Your Mom on Your Gay Wedding Day

An Oklahoma mother's offer to stand in as the parent for LGBTQ couples if their own parent or parents choose not to on their wedding day has been shared thousands of .
Sara Cunningham, a 54-year-old mother of two and an ordained minister, wrote her Facebook post after hearing from several same-sex couples without a supportive parent on their wedding day.

Image may contain: 1 person
 Cunningham back in 2013 raising her right hand and wearing a necklace.  

Just days before her now-viral post, Cunningham said several women had shared with her emotionally devastating stories at a same-sex wedding rehearsal in which Cunningham was participating.
One woman recounted how her mother asked to be given "a heads up" when it was time for her daughter to kiss her bride, presumably so her mother could turn away. Another woman shared how her mother chose not to attend.
“That’s what prompted the post, and I had no idea I would hear from so many in the community,” Cunningham said, including “parents from all around the world that are willing to stand in."
Cunningham said her own story of not initially accepting her son as gay is a big part of what triggered her advocacy and support for the LGBTQ community.
Image: Sara Cunningham
 Sara with her husband and son at a pride parade in Oklahoma CityCourtesy of Sara Cunningham
“His whole life he came out to me, but I thought it was a phase,” she said.
In 2014, Cunningham’s son Parker “came out” to her about his relationship with a man.
“When he turned 21, that’s when he said 'I met someone, and I really need you to be okay about it,'” Cunningham recalled.
That’s when Cunningham said she went into a deep depression and stayed in her room not accepting reality.
“I wrestled with my faith as if I had to choose between my faith and my son,” Cunningham added. “I reexamined everything I believed."
Her mindset changed when her son lay beside her and told her why she needed to support him.  “I’ve sucked it up being your son for 21 years. I need you to suck it up and be my mom,” she recalled her son saying.
Cunningham then sought out resources to learn more about the LGBTQ community and eventually became an advocate, even self-publishing a book about her experience.
A pastor from Expressions Church, an LGBTQ-affirming church near Cunningham's home, reached out to her after learning about her struggle. She started attending after serving at a conservative church for 20 years.
As a part of Expressions Church, she founded a group called Free Mom Hugs that offers resources for and about the LGBTQ community for schools, churches and hospitals.
In 2015, she and her husband met a same-sex couple on vacation in Virginia Beach that asked her to officiate their wedding the following year. Cunningham's pastor ordained her so she could grant the couple's request.
Cunningham traveled to Mississippi to marry the couple in 2016 and has been officiating other weddings for LGBTQ couples ever since.
“We’re lucky to have each other and be in each other’s life,” Parker Cunningham said of his relationship with this mom. “We have to represent parents giving their children a chance."
Since her viral Facebook post, Cunningham said she has received roughly 100 private messages of encouragement, along with “horror stories” from same-sex couples whose parents do not support them.
"Everyone needs their mom,” she said, regardless of whether their child is gay or straight. Cunningham also has a son who is straight.
“To deny that on the most important day of their lives is devastating,” she added. “I wanted to make the day better."

by Rima Abdelkader
NBC News

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