Why we chose to marry (it's not what you think) 👰🏽🤵🏻♂️🎉
Hey peaches, OH MY GOSH I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M ACTUALLY SAYING THIS BUT WE
FINALLY GOT MARRIED!!
After three different planned wedding dates (thanks Miss Rona 💁🏽♀️), we tied the knot (literally - we had a hand fasting ceremony!). On the 24 and 25 September 2022, I was very proud to call Jamie my lil' husband for the first time 🥰
People don't have to get married. Honestly for a long time, I didn't think I'd want to. Not because Jamie isn't amazing, but because the idea of being legally tied to somebody else doesn't mean a huge amount to me. What does mean a lot to me are the parts of culture that Jamie and I choose to embrace, our loved ones, and our relationship journey.
When I first began dating Jamie over 10 years ago, I was rejected from my family. I was disowned and told I couldn't be part of my culture, because my identity as a South Asian woman, and as a bisexual (in a relationship with a transman) was incompatible in their eyes. Just like many toddlers, I was told stories about how one day, my Prince Charming would be waiting for me down an aisle - except in my version I'd be wearing a red lehenga instead of a white dress. So whilst legally getting married wasn't particularly important to me, it hurt to know that if I ever did marry Jamie, most of my family would choose not to be there to celebrate. I wouldn't go shopping for a bridal red lehenga with my mum, or put henna on my hands and show it off to my sisters. But after five years, there was change.
It wasn't a change that I could instigate. Encourage, sure, but the real change came from an independent want to listen from my mum. She wanted to understand more about Jamie's identity, and our relationship, and decided that my relationship with her was more important than the prejudice she was taught growing up. This change didn't happen overnight. This change was sparked bit a particular moment of my mum truly seeing Jamie for the first time. My mum asked me if we wanted to do a Mehndi as part of our wedding, and Jamie and I were both over the moon to plan this.
After a lot of turbulence and hate towards our relationship, from my family and also from people who hated us sharing our story online, we decided that we wanted to celebrate with a wedding - because why not! Because it was something we thought we wouldn't be able to do in the way we wanted. Because our journey together was worth celebrating.
There's also a small part of me that loves the idea of making this outdated and patriarchal concept of marriage into something undeniably full of love and pride 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️
Speaking of all things LGBT+, gender related laws in the UK also meant that for Jamie, getting married could have looked very different depending on the steps he was able to take. Same-sex marriage has been legal in England and Wales since 2013, but the UK marriage system is based on birth certificates. Updating the sex marker on one's birth certificate is a process any trans person would need to take in order to marry as their true gender. Without a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) to update his birth certificate, Jamie and I would not have been able to marry as husband and wife.
Luckily, Jamie's in a privileged position to be able to afford the process of applying for a GRC. Luckily, the documents required were handed to Jamie, and luckily the absurd number of third party people involved in allowing Jamie to get a GRC were not transphobic (a number of doctors, an independent solicitor who has no idea who you are, and an equally ignorant panel with authority to deny a GRC despite never having to meet the person whose life they are changing). But it shouldn't be down to luck. It's a flawed system, one we intend to see changed, but nevertheless Jamie had to go through it, and receiving a GRC was a huge moment for him.
We could now marry as husband as wife, as we always should have been able to do.
We planned an intimate affair, one asian Mehndi day where we embraced the aspects of my culture that we loved, and one western wedding day where we embraced the aspects of our British culture (and Jamie's Scottish roots) that we loved too. Both were ✨ magical ✨
We have more wedding content planned (including going back in time to invite you to our ceremony - watch this space!), but if you have any particular wedding content you'd like us to share, please do leave a comment below 💛
Much love, Shaaba x