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CAT & BRITTANY, 2009

IOWA CITY, IA 

CAT, 2011: This picture was taken the week that I did something that I never, ever imagined doing – I got married. My partner Britt and I got married in our living room with 5 people present in June 2009, just weeks after Iowa legalized gay marriage.  I never imagined that I would even be saying the words above, having been a radical queer, fat femme who believed that marriage was a patriarchal, hetero-normative institution that had no place in my world right up until the week before this picture was taken. And really, the wedding was for legal purposes (it became important to me to have legal rights after a health scare), and to make sure that we were counted politically, because we have been as committed as two people can be for the past 8 years or so, and knew that no state-sanctioned relationship would make that any different. And it hasn’t and it totally has. The word wife doesn’t fall off my tongue easily, still, despite the fact that Britt lovingly calls me her glitterwife or pinkwife (both nods to my preferred femme presentation) and I swoon with love every time I hear her say it. Mostly we still joke about being married – something neither of us expected to ever be and are so very happy to be now.  For me, this photo captures the strength and tenderness of our love, a love that I am still amazed by every day of my life with her.  We are so lucky to have the choice to get married or not, to have families that were supportive when we told them (after the fact!), a community that celebrates us, and to have each other. The Saturday in June that we got married (how cliché, no?!) was filled with a surprising amount of tears and emotion for something that we had anticipated being a legality, and this picture captures some of what I promised in our vows two years ago, “I gave you my heart six years ago and you have cradled it more gently than I have. I promise to hold your heart, your hand, and your body with love and respect and joy  – yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

BRITTANY, 2011: What I remember about our photo is that it was taken the same week we decided to get married. Gay marriage had been legal in Iowa for a few months and we had already been coupled for six + years. Despite these things, getting married wasn’t really on our radar. We were already happy and committed in all the ways that were important to us. We didn’t need a certificate. During that week, though, we decided marriage was what we both wanted. Just a few days after the photo, we married in our living room.

Here’s what I love most about this photo: It makes me think about the craziness people go through in the days before their wedding – all the stress, obligation and ceremony. When I look at us in this space and time, we aren’t carrying any of this. Together, we’re content, unstressed and happy.