Parenting and Family Life

Redefining Same-Sex Love In The Black Community

Aisha and Danielle Moodie-Mills

hide captionAisha and Danielle Moodie-Mills were the first same-sex couple featured in a popular wedding profile on Essence.com

Craig Paulson Photography

We remain humbled by the outpouring of support generated by our recent Bridal Bliss profile, Love at First Sight.  As the first lesbian wedding to be featured on Essence.com we expected the story to garner a lot of attention, but we never imagined that it would receive such an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response. More than 4,700 readers “liked” the feature, which generated more than 600 comments.

For any other black couple, the public recognition of their wedding wouldn’t be as big a deal.  Most black couples today expect to have a platform to publicize their union, from announcements in their church bulletin, local newspaper, or even Jet magazine, to the dozens of websites showcasing the ornate details of their weddings.  We did not.  We never saw images of any couples that looked like us as we perused magazines and blogs for inspiration for our wedding.  It was as if our love did not exist.

Given the taboo and silence surrounding gays and lesbians within the black community, there’s little wonder why.  Most black ministers, leaders, and celebrities fully embrace a “don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude concerning homosexuality.  As a result, black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people remain virtually invisible within the media and our community.  This void perpetuates hopelessness and despair that can lead to tragedy like the recent rash of teen suicides resulting from anti-gay bullying.

So when the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) teamed up with Essence.com and invited us to share our wedding story, we seized the opportunity to present at least one image of black LGBT love.  We hoped that our love story and wedding photos would affirm other black lesbians and give hope to those struggling to see a future for themselves.

Thousands of readers were elated to see their full selves reflected in a love story for the first time, and so were we.  We applaud Essence.com for its courage in profiling our wedding, and hope that this feature, and conversation, is just the first of many more to come.

Aisha and Danielle Moodie-Mills are founders of FIRE Fund at the Center for American Progress

Follow us: www.twitter.com/FIREFund

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