A Handy Form Letter For That Relative Who Won’t Attend Your Gay Wedding

by Riese & Heather 

The Senior Editors rarely exist in the same physical location, but this week we do, because this week is our annual Senior Editors Gather In The Same Location Week. Last night we got to talking about gay weddings and the various family members who refuse to attend them and although I (Riese) am very blessed to have family members who are stoked to attend my wedding, most queers around our age or older (including Heather) are not so lucky. It’s rare these days to hear about a same-sex wedding in which both parties had full families in attendance. So we thought we’d create a really easy-to-adapt letter for you to use when addressing family members who refuse to attend your hella awesome LOVE PARTY. 

Hello, dear [relative who won’t attend my wedding]!

It made me so sad when you told me you won’t attend my wedding, and I’d like to talk about why.

Growing up queer back when I grew up queer wasn’t always easy. I was socialized, like most women, to believe that “finding a man” was one of my life’s true purposes. I learned that the type of man I was able to snag would reflect directly on my own worthiness as a woman. I learned that women were, on the whole, slightly “less than” men, and if that’s the case, then what are two women together, you know? Nothing, is what I learned. I learned what “lesbian” meant when I first heard it used as an insult. I learned that most women thought my feelings for other women were gross and even dangerous. I grew up though, [relative who won’t attend my wedding], and when I did, I met other people like me. So instead of feeling alone and outside of things, I felt outside of things but not alone, which was definitely better than when I didn’t have other people to hang with. Sometimes we called each other “chosen family,” which is about the family we choose but also about the family that chooses us. You know, like how YOU ARE CHOOSING NOT TO ATTEND MY WEDDING.

So, for the past ten or so years, I’ve been to quite a few weddings. I’ve seen you at a lot of them. You were there for [relative]’s wedding and also for [other relative]’s wedding. You helped pay for flowers, you gave them lavish gifts, you cried in church. At times, your enthusiasm for these nuptials was, honestly, a bit overboard, almost as if you lived entirely for this kind of thing? But you know what? That’s okay. That’s a great thing to live for (love!), but I’ll get back to that point in a minute.

I’ve also been to another type of wedding over the past ten or so years, weddings held by my friends. The kind of wedding that people sometimes call a “wedding.” The scare quotes are there ‘cause it “wasn’t real.” I mean, we all acted like it was. We said “wife” and “wife” and we said “wedding,” even though we all knew that it wasn’t the same kind of wedding that straight people get to have and legally, those weren’t “our words.”

Even though we knew our commitments were just as real as yours and our marriages just as worthy and beautiful, it’s hard, [relative who won’t attend my fucking wedding] to quiet the internalized self-loathing and homophobia that we grant even ourselves, that voice inside us saying “this isn’t real. nobody but you thinks this even counts.” We saw women walked down the aisle by their gay male best friend because their father didn’t want to be there. We saw wedding receptions paid for out of the wives’ pockets not because their parents couldn’t afford it (which is real and okay), but because their parents didn’t really consider this thing to be a REAL wedding worthy of expense. I mean, it wasn’t even legal! AMIRITE, LADIES? LADIES?

Things have been changing, though, [relative who won’t suck it up and sit in a fucking folding chair while this amazing girl tells a room of people how goddamn breathtakingly special I am], over these past five years. A smattering of states, and then the majority of states, began offering marriage licenses to same-sex couples. DOMA was struck down. Public opinion shifted in our direction. Our weddings started getting taken a little more seriously once they became “legal” and once gay couples stopped being so mysterious and became commonplace. You got used to imagery of two women getting married because you’ve probably seen at least one pic of Ellen and Portia’s wedding at this point. Just two women, being enough. As of two weeks ago, same-sex marriage is now legal across the United States, which the Supreme Court has declared just. It’s really not often that the government is nicer to me than my own flesh and blood!

So, back to me: I met this girl a few years back and this girl, dear [relative who won’t come to my wedding], damn, she is something else! The love she gives me, in fact, is what enables me to have so much love to give even to people like you, [relative who seriously what else are you doing that weekend, all your friends are gonna be at my wedding!]. We have decided to spend the rest of our lives together and maybe even start a family one day, just like you always wanted for me. I mean, yes, the exact gender of my partner is not what you always wanted for me, but is that really SUCH A BIG DEAL? So we’re having a wedding. You know what a wedding is? It’s a love party. IT’S A PARTY FOR LOVE. We are throwing a big giant party to celebrate ACTUAL LOVE. It’s a LOVE PARTY.


Here’s the thing about you not coming to my love party, [relative seemingly uninterested in eating FREE FOOD]: IT’S SO MEAN.


I am so happy and in love and you are being very, very, very, very mean. I’ve been so mean to myself for so long [relative who claims to believe in love but PROVE IT ALREADY], and I don’t need this. But you know what I do need? You. You’re perfectly okay with having lunch with me, with letting me babysit your kids (as long as I don’t talk about myself!), and attending all of your things. But you won’t attend my LOVE PARTY. Are you aware that [relative who is a good 45 years older than you] is attending the wedding? Are you aware that [your favorite niece] drew me a card and wrote WE WISH YOU ALL THE BEST in crayon next to a creative but colorful illustrated interpretation of our love and likenesses? Are you aware that [relative who still belongs to the homophobic religious institution responsible for much of my self-loathing] is coming to OUR LOVE PARTY?

Don’t even start with that Bible stuff, [relative who should re-read the bible]. First of all, everyone picks and chooses what they want to believe from the Bible, including you, because the Bible is a collection of texts written and assembled thousands of years ago and some of those rules and regulations just don’t hold up to our present day understanding of the world. Do you eat shellfish, wear clothes made of multiple kinds of fibers, and sit on your couch while you’re on your period?, [relative who claims to believe every word of the Bible]? Of course you do! But the Bible says you shouldn’t!

When you say you believe in “traditional marriage” because of the Bible, do you really know what you’re saying? You’re saying a bride who cannot prove her virginity should be stoned to death. You’re saying a man can marry a 300 women and have 700 concubines. (Ask King Solomon!) You’re saying it’s okay for a guy to rape a woman as long as he marries her afterward. You’re saying soldiers should be able to take virgin women as prisoners of war and make them their wives. You’re saying husbands own their wives, and God’s cool with it. You’re saying husbands can rape their wives, and God’s cool with it. You’re saying if a person gets divorced and remarried, they’re committing adultery.

Would you attend a person’s second wedding but not attend their wedding if they were marrying five people at once? Because the Bible condemns remarriage but encourages polygamy! Biblical marriage, [confused relative], is weird! Your marriage isn’t Biblical marriage, and aren’t you glad?

Anyway, do you know what the Bible says about gay people? Do you really? Did you know the Bible only talks about gay people in six different places, and Jesus never said anything about gay people at all? You know what Jesus talked about more than anything? LOVE. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Jesus would have been so psyched about an a whole entire LOVE PARTY. Do you know what Jesus talked about second most? Money. And third most? How much he hates when pious religious people use scriptures to justify being mean.

The Bible does comment on gay people, [relative who isn’t following Jesus’ teaching], so here’s the run-down. Two times Moses says being gay is wrong in Leviticus. (That’s the Old Testament book where Moses also bans burning honey, tearing your clothes, harvesting crops near the edge of your field, trimming your beard, permanently selling your property, getting tattoos, or eating fruit from a tree that’s not at least four years old). One time God gets really mad about gay people in Genesis, in the same story where he gets really happy when a father offers his daughters up to be raped. (No, really, re-read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, [so-sure-of-your-Bible-knowledge relative].) Modern day Biblical translations have Paul condemning “homosexuality” three times, but previous translations said the Greek word Paul used (“arsenokoitais”) meant, among other things, “male prostitutes,” “child molesters,” and “abusers.”

In addition to being thousands of years old, the books of the Bible were written in ancient versions of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek! It would blow your mind if you knew how many words and phrases and teachings have been changed in English translations of the Bible over the years. Oh, [relative]! Don’t you see? You’re viewing ALL the Bible’s teachings through a 21st century lens, except for its teachings about gay people.

You’re using the Bible to justify your bigotry! Do you know how angry that would make Jesus? SO ANGRY!

The gender of my partner has no impact on you at all! Seriously, explain to me how who I love has any impact on your life or who you love or your marriage? I’m not saying this to be snarky or rude or because it’s part of the gay agenda, but like, are you a little gay? I cannot think for one other explanation for why this whole thing WEIRDS YOU OUT so bad.

In conclusion, [relative who apparently prefers Touched by An Angel reruns to attending my LOVE PARTY WITH FREE CAKE], please stop being mean to me. I’m part of something really special — a relationship that inspires me to be a better person, something to grow into and build and live inside forever, full of love and more love — and instead of being happy about it, you’re being ACTIVELY MEAN. I’m confident Jesus agrees with me. Jesus would love my love party. Jesus LOVED love.

And I love you,

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3213 articles for us.


    • Hi, and hi. So. The bible condemns divorce, but is fine with polygamy, or so I hear?

          • I mean I’m not at a place in my life where I’m ready to get married (therefore the bible would consider me a spinster) but could I like officiate? Or arrange the flowers a la Imagine Me & You? I could google some flowers like nobody’s business.

  1. *Standing ovation with whooping and party poppers for several minutes, nay hours, *

    This is perfect. This is everything. Thank you. I’m not even getting married but god this is so accurate to the behaviour of a particular family member who has on many occasions found any excuse to be difficult and rude and aggressive or passive aggressive towards now ex girlfriends of mine at various key life events, mercifully so far Missus is holding her own.

  2. Okay, so I’m very single. So single. Super single. That whole, never ever been in a relationship single, but…I don’t think I’d care about someone in my family not coming to my wedding. I asked Mom if she would come to my wedding if it was to a woman and she said yes, she’d do the whole shebang. That’s all I need, and I hope that future spouse of mine has that same kind of support. That said, this letter is brilliant. I know some people who need to read it. Super well written, and much better than the “fuck you then” I would probably say, not write because those relatives wouldn’t be worth my time.

  3. LMAO…Saving this just in case. I’m here for all the LOVE PARTIES with Free Food, Cake, and Dancing!

  4. Much more eloquent than my standby of “Dear [relative], F*ck You Too”.

    Of course I invited literally 1 single member of my entire family at the wedding because I (horribly, selfishly apparently) decided not to invite people who would, at best, expend exactly zero effort to not ruin my day by mis-gendering and mis-naming me or outing me to all of my now in-laws, spouse’s friends, etc. Unfortunately my mom was the only single person I’m related to who I trusted that, after years, could muster the ability to not f*ck up for one single night.

    • your mum sounds great! And, well done you for inviting just the people you wanted to invite!

    • Come to think of it, I only really invited one relative too (one of my nieces, who was ecstatic; she was also ecstatic about my transitioning).

      My folks and I have… history, as I’m sure you can imagine. Based on that history, when I told them about transitioning I made sure they knew exactly where the line was if they wanted to be a part of my life. So far they’ve been pretty good about respecting that (unlike every other boundary in the past). When they found out about the wedding, they actually asked me if they’d be welcome to attend. So I figured I’d give them the chance (and swag another awesome niece along the way), and they managed to keep it together for the whole ceremony. So, I ended up with more than just the one relative there, and it turned out well, but oof. I know the feels.

  5. This is great, but the Jesus stuff wouldn’t apply as my family is Jewish. Though maybe I could use the story of Adam and his first partner Lilith. Adam wasn’t too fond of her, cause she’s intersex and leaning towards being agender(but according to Jewish feminists it didn’t stop Adam from having sex with her), and his equal.
    But, thank you for this.

  6. 1) I love this letter

    2) I’m inordinately lucky in that I know I will never have to send such a letter, because my family is awesome (and also, Jewish).

    3) Heather, don’t think I didn’t notice how much of this letter was pulled directly from your “What the Bible Really Says About The Gays” article from a few years back! (And yes, I have read that piece so many times that I can recognize bits and pieces of it!) :P

  7. my favorite bracket is “[relative who apparently prefers Touched by An Angel reruns to attending my LOVE PARTY WITH FREE CAKE]” but this whole thing is great

  8. This is so so beautiful. I kind of want to print out the parts about the Bible and wheatpaste them to the faces of religious bigots I run into.

  9. This is amazing!

    When my girlfriend and I get married (which will be when it is legal in Australia) I hope I’m brave enough to send this is necessary (with full credit because I wish I was this funny).

    • That would be so great. I imagine they would get the letter, come to Autostraddle, ~~~change~~~ then go to your love party :3
      And everything would be ok forever.
      Thanks Autostraddle. Thautostraddle.

  10. I really like this letter. SO MUCH. My partner and I just got married and I have all the feels in this letter. My partner is Trans and Gender Queer and that was too much for my immediate family who is very evangelical Christian. Seeing other people expressing similar experiences is just swell.

  11. Love this.

    It totally gives me feels about marriage though, which are that if I ever married a nice lady, I would feel really apprehensive about the wedding (which, like, I think everyone feels apprehensive about their weddings, so). I think that the family members I’d invite would all come, but I know some, like my parents might still not see it as being *really* legitimate. My parents have gotten more supportive over the years, but in the past my mom has said that if I married a woman and we stayed at her house, we would have to sleep in separate beds because she thinks marriage is between a man and a woman. Which super hurts, but also I love my mom a lot. Maybe she’ll change her mind when confronted with the actual situation, but it feels like a double-bind where either I am sad because my parents aren’t at my wedding or they do come to the wedding, but I know they don’t actually approve.

    /having feelings all over the comments section

    • Exactly.

      Also, way to exclude everyone who doesn’t have family members who are all (apparently literal Bible-interpreting) Christians.

  12. This letter is actually perfect. I’m not sure I can really cover quite how glorious it is, so thank you. Seriously


    *saves to memories*

  13. I’m almost tempted to, should I ever be in this situation, send out the letter with brackets included because they’re one of the best parts.

  14. Oh man I can appreciate this. I hope I can be this sassy if the time comes to be a little more in-your-face with some of my family who are in deep denial.

  15. Ha, the whole Bible explanation is legit! People always gotta find an excuse to say it’s wrong…
    Weird how people think you can LEGALISE love…I could get married, then we would be MARRIED, it wouldn’t matter what the goverment said

    Also, does anyone have any advice about parents who aren’t religious at all but are still homophobic :/?

    • Are they pie-phobic? Cuz, y’know, the bits about turning down FREE PIE should apply across all (non-)religions.

      IMO, the only reason religion matters at all is that a lot of folks use it as a hook to hang their homophobia on —so dismantling that hook tends to be an effective way to address their phobia. Bigotry isn’t the sort of thing you can just tackle head on. So the question is, what excuse are your parents using to prop up their bigotry? Whatever story they’re telling themselves, that story is what you have to dismantle. (Unless they’re just out and out bigots who don’t even bother offering a shred of argumentation for their beliefs. Which is quite rare, but possible.)

  17. This is amazing.

    Also, this kind of made me want to get married. I just really want to have a love party, y’all.

  18. Ugh. I just really love it when all your brains are in the same space. Cause stuff like this happens.

  19. This is kind of fucking amazing and maybe I a little bit wish I had cause to use it. (But not really because who wants that kind of conflict?)

  20. this is beautiful. i am always telling people that if jesus were around today he’d be rolling up j’s and passing them around at all your gay weddings, and then he’d cry a ton because he loves love THAT much.

  21. I am coming out of years of comment hiding to say that this is one of the best things I have ever read on Autostraddle and I read great things here literally ever week. YES THIS ALL THE TIME ALWAYS FOREVER.

    • Courtney this is EXACTLY what I was thinking.
      It could however, cause concern when being used as a term for an orgy. I feel like someone might end up confused. Or really happy.

  22. …this is a thing of beauty.

    I’m not sure what my letter would say- probably something along the lined of “yeah, you thought this wsd going to be a hetero wedding, but surprise! I’m actually a girl, and also gay.”

    Fortunately, I don’t think I’m really going to need i.

  23. I love the idea of this letter. I love the gays. I am not gay, straight as a ruler, married for 30 years, a lover of LOVE. My mom, GRHS, had “lesbian” friends when she was growing up so I also grew up knowing, understanding and loving the power of girl love. I celebrated the day same sex marriage became law. I’ve been rooting for you guys my entire life, which is pretty long. I’d go to your wedding, there’s probably more of a chance that I would go to your wedding than to some other random straight couples wedding, because I would be so happy to share in the love fest and pure joy of the day. I am not religious nor at this time in my life do I even believe in God but I am going to say this anyway. The letter is beautifully written but I think that the letter also contains too much criticism of those that believe in God, the bible or ..well, the bible. What you sort of did here was take a group of people who live a life different than the one you live, believe in a different sort of magic that gets them through their hard days and holds their hands through their joyful ones…and you sort of trashed those people, you mocked them and I don’t want you to do that because you have come to far and have finally gotten what you have deserved for what has been forever. Equality. I’m sorry it did not come sooner. I’m sorry for the people who don’t understand your love. I want you to be happy for eternity, you girls loving each other in the way love was meant to be, which has nothing at all to do with your sexual orientation. But what I don’t want is for you to now think it is ok to throw some stones at the God believers, the bible worshippers. I agree with your descriptions of what the Bible actually says but you know what, you are better than that. You are better than the pointing out to people that they are “wrong” or “misguided” or “different”. Be who you are, treasure the awesomeness of the human being you are and be the best you can be with or without your partner. But don’t be the group that insults those who do not understand. Love them even more. Isn’t that what you wanted from them all along?

    • Nah, sorry. I have no sympathy to spare for people who will twist the words of a 1500-4000 year old book to throw stones at my face.

    • I don’t think the post was really throwing stones at people who believe in the Bible. There was a criticism of the things some people *believe* about the Bible, but no total rejection of Christianity.

      Also, legal equality =/= social or cultural acceptance or equality. If a family member would go to my sister’s hetero wedding but not my same-sex wedding, then they are not treating us equally.

      People are entitled to believe what they want to believe, but they are not entitled to be insulated from criticism or gentle mockery. There nothing *wrong* with pointing out to people that they are wrong – tbh, it is probably a kinder, more loving act than simply not saying anything. It indicates willingness to engage and some belief that people can change.

      Finally, it really, really hurts when you have to deal with unaccepting family members and sometimes the best way to deal with that pain is through humor. “Live and let live” is a nice philosophy in the abstract, but in reality the way people live their lives and the things they believe have real impacts on other people.

      • Ashurredly..I don’t necessarily disagree with you and will always put you first as more of an expert on this issue than I am. I just want everyone to do more every day of our lives to ensure that everyone is treated equally and that the concept of judging people for their sexual orientation or religious beliefs decreases as each new day appears. And I believe that there is a middle place between not having important conversations at all with closed minded individuals and mockery. I am a big fan of humor so I’m with you completely if that helps in any way to get through the pain. And I am truly sorry for any pain you have had to endure by family members during your life journey. I wish you happiness and love..always

    • Okay after reading the “What we comment about when we comment about commenting” post I’ve realized that my response may have been unnecessarily harsh…

      Thing is, we have tried being nice. We’ve worn dresses to Christmas dinner and tolerated people calling our partners our “good friends” and gritted our teeth while folks misgender us and deadname us and use the wrong pronouns for us. We did this in the hope that trying to meet them in the middle will lead to them trying to understand us.

      Thing is – at least in my experience, and the experiences of my friends – it doesn’t work. So we are faced with the difficult decision to cut ties with these people, or we send letters like this one when they let us down for the millionth time.

      I know you mean well, but think of it from our point of view – you’re a straight person coming into a queer space telling us to try being nicer. To us, it feels like an invasion, because this is the space where we come to *escape* straight people telling us how to live our lives.

      I hope that makes sense!

      • Dina…The thing is I don’t want a world where there is queer space and there is straight space…and believe me the last thing I was trying to do was tell you how to live your lives-I was only commenting on the letter..I want “your” life to be whatever you want it to be but you know what…point taken..that saying “until you have walked in our shoes” is one I believe in wholeheartedly. And no matter what, I will continue to be as supportive as I can which quite frankly is with arms wide open and hope for the day you don’t need a place to escape to.

        • Kat, alas, we do need a separate space while most of the rest of the world is hostile to us, both actively and subtly. I don’t think Autostraddle is a website for only queer and trans folk to read – but I do think when engaging in the comments section, you do need to consider that the main aim of this site is for us.

          Also, I find it a little weird how certain interest groups are okay while others aren’t. Like, you won’t find someone coming to a kayaking website and asking why more folks there aren’t talking about abseiling, right? I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to have separate spaces for different interests. Even in an IDEAL WORLD future where queer and trans folk are universally accepted, you’re still going to find niche spaces for those interests, and that’s just fine.

          • Dina..I going to assume you are not actually saying that me being straight means I can read Autostraddle but my comments aren’t welcome. And if that is the case that’s cool..you are entitled to your opinion which may be a fact most hold here, I truly do not know.. but that would make me kinda sad to know. And just because I am straight do not think that this is not an “interest” of mine as I continue my path to educate straight people who are judgmental and hurtful to the queer/trans population.

          • @Kat Quite the contrary – I’m saying comment away, but be aware of your straight privilege.

            My interest group comment was in response to what you were saying about not wanting “queer spaces” and “straight spaces” (which most people call “the rest of the world”). Why is it ok to have a space to talk about flower arrangement or politics or dog breeding or whatever, but it’s not okay to have a space to talk about fundamental parts of my identity with like-minded people?

          • Kat – I think it’s fine if you comment here, but it’s sort of privileged that you’ve wandered into a conversation about a painful experience that happens to queer people and essentially gone “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE HOMOPHOBES.” Obviously in a more sensitive and nuanced way, but it ends up having the same effect.

          • I gotta tell you, I am saddened that this is how you have perceived my comments. ..the description on the comment section did not state that one must have first hand experience to comment, it said “personal and meaningful” which I believe I adhered to with the utmost respect… And if what I wrote can be summarized as “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE HOMOPHOBES” I think you need to take another read at what I wrote and replace “homophobes” with “people different than you” which is really what I said. For the record I did not just wander into a conversation. I have been reading Autostraddle for as long as it has existed and have a very close and personal relationship with someone in this community. I have to think about this more..my eyes have opened up just a little bit wider..guess you can teach an old dog new tricks and not necessarily in a positive way.

          • There is “people different to me” and then there is “people who are actively trying to hurt me and the people who I love.”

            One’s right to throw a punch ends at my face.

            Also I find it really interesting that even though both @ashurredly and I have specifically said that there’s nothing wrong with a cisgender/straight person posting here, you still insist that we’re telling you that you can’t. We’re only telling you to tread very carefully when talking about these issues.

    • Dear Kat,

      Maybe make a time to chat in person with your very close and personal connection to the queer community. Check in that you were not inadvertently being hurtful to them on a personal level, because the thing about privilege is that even when we are aware of our own, it still tints our lenses, and we mess up… all of us. Even coming from a “good place”.

      Please continue to be patient and kind towards those of us whom are the ones in the shower having break downs at 3am because we have to see our [insert here name of relative or loved one that we wish our heart were safe to be around] on the weekend. Even if you are the person fielding the 3am phone call about the shower breakdown, the pain is not your own.

      This is a prime opportunity for you as an ally to amplify the voices of your loved ones within the community.

    • FWIW, I do think the bit about religion at the end was inappropriate— That is, the tone of it is incongruous with the tone of the rest of the piece, an thus feels out of place, inapropos.

      But as others have said, your coming in here and telling us about religious tolerance is also inappropriate. This inappropriateness is because of your position of privilege, as evidenced by comments like:

      because you have come to far and have finally gotten what you have deserved for what has been forever. Equality.

      We have come far. But what we do not have is equality. Equality is not simply about who can sign a legal contract to form a governmentally-recognized household. Equality means not getting kicked to the streets for telling parents who we are. Equality means not hiding our personal lives from coworkers for fear of losing our jobs. Equality means being able to shop for housing without pretending to be “roommates”. Equality means having no higher risk of violent crime than anyone else. And so on, and so forth.

      If you have not lived in that world, have not dealt with the actuality of these iniquities, then you cannot know what it is like to live as a queer person. You may have compassion or sympathy, but you cannot have understanding. That lack of understanding is a manifestation of your privilege as a straight person. But more important to the moment, that lack of understanding is why you cannot just come in here and tell us how to live. Without understanding, you cannot hope to avoid stomping all over people’s toes. You cannot hope to make your point, because no matter how valid it may be, people do not listen when they are in pain.

      • Dearest Wren,

        Your 1st paragraph in response to my comment is really all that I was trying to say..just that, that’s it, nothing more, seriously.

        But since you continued and decided to make this about equality let’s talk about that.

        This life we all live in is full of inequality if one is to define that by your examples, hiding personal lives from co-workers, obtaining housing by not revealing the truth about relationships, being the victim in violent crime etc. I personally, as a straight person, have experienced violent crime, have lied to a landlord to get a space to live, and have held secrets close to my heart knowing that revealing them would be extremely detrimental to my well being.

        What I do not know of is the pain of living a life as a “queer person”, that is true, but if we are to talk abut pain in general let me assure you that I have had more than my fair share of it in my life. But you are right, this is not the forum to compare pain, this is a forum where I thought that being an advocate my entire life for equality for all people did in fact give me the right to “comment” on the original letter and in doing so my only intent was to point out that bashing someone’s religious beliefs, as much as they may seem ridiculous, is not the way to go about bringing positive change to the queer community. My “compassion and sympathy” means nothing I have found out in this forum. And as you and others have pointed out, which could not be further from the actual truth, I did not come here to “tell you how to live”. Knowing me like I know me, that is the most absurd accusation anyone has ever thrown my way. It was a comment on the letter, it was advice from a much older woman, it was an OPINION plain and simple from someone who 100% could care less how anyone lives their lives as long as no harm is done to others and most of all it was a different set of eyes looking at how putting down someone’s religious beliefs, in my OPINION, will do more harm than good. I can’t change the fact that I am white, somewhat middle class and straight but what I can do is continue to change the way closed minded people view the queer/trans world we live in, in the hope that one day the pain you speak of will diminish into non existence and equality will mean more than a federal ruling. What I have learned from commenting on this site is that this community , or at least the ones who have responded to my comments about the letter, do not want to hear from straight people. Period.

  24. Oh wow,
    This is one of the most eloquently beautiful pieces of writing I have read in a long, long time.

  25. “LOVE PARTY WITH FREE CAKE AND OPEN BAR” is how I’m going to write my wedding invitations should I ever come to that

    • But yeah, I am so glad Heather and Riese wrote about this topic. I’ve been thinking about it a lot since the SCOUTS decision because if I ever did get married, I can’t think of a single person in my family who would come. At best, I could muster up one cousin and an estranged uncle. So I don’t really have the “Are you aware that [relative who is a good 45 years older than you] is attending the wedding?” arguments because homophobia is the rule in my family, not the exception.

      The aforementioned estranged uncle was exiled from the family when he was 19 for being gay, and no one has spoken to him since except at my grandmother and grandfather’s funerals. My dad won’t even say his name – when he tells childhood stories, he calls his other brothers by name, but my gay uncle is always “one of your uncles”. As if he’s Voldemort.

      So I’ve related a lot to Heather’s personal essays about dealing with conservative Christian childhoods and families. And not to sound cliche, but they do give me hope that things can turn out okay. I’m still just planning on never telling any relatives ever though, because I don’t want to be another You-Know-Who.

  26. Maybe I should send this to my mom when I get married someday :( I know nothing could bring her to my future wedding even though she does love me.

  27. I can’t help but think that Jesus himself would not only come to a big queer love party but would be a blast at said love party. I mean, who needs an open bar when the guy can turn water into wine all night??

    Seriously tho, I’m so very extra single and I would love to plan a wedding just to send this to the family members I’ve already unfollowed on social media. (in reality, they wouldn’t be invited anyway. Why waste a perfectly good invitation?)

    • Omg totally forgot about the water into wine thing. Jesus would be the best party guest !!

  28. Can I have a letter for the relative that isn’t religious, accepts your partner, accepts that you want to marry said partner, accepts that you will have children with that partner, allows you to stay in his house and sleep in the same bed as his daughter, and that accepts homosexuality as a-OK…but still wishes you and his daughter would remain essentially closeted because “other people don’t need to know, you don’t need to wear it on your sleeve?” DOESN’T THAT SEEM CONTRADICTORY? Like, it’s okay if we’re gay around family as long as it’s not in public?!

    Sorry, ranting about an awkward dinner convo that was had last night.

  29. I have so many relatives I could send this to its almost enough to make me want to find someone to marry.

  30. “I’ve been so mean to myself for so long [relative who claims to believe in love but PROVE IT ALREADY], and I don’t need this. But you know what I do need? You. ”

    UGH. This is it right here, a perfect portrait of where I am emotionally with a certain [relative] of mine, i.e. my dad.

    Mostly, I need to stop being mean to myself.

    Oh, Autostraddle, hittin’ me right in the feels. LOVE YOU AS.

    • sending love, I felt this chunk of the letter so much. I hope you and your dad reach some sort of peace and I hope you stop being mean to yourself.

  31. I’m particularly taken with “[relative seemingly uninterested in eating FREE FOOD]” – If this letter doesn’t cater to their senses of family and decency, maybe the actual catering will help? Not swayed by logic, reason, and compassion? Have some FREE CAKE!

  32. Honestly, this seems like a rather underhanded and whiny way to go about it.

    If someone doesn’t attend a wedding, it’s their loss. Why worry about how they attended such and so’s but not yours?

    I find it very ironic to see the same treatment toward those who don’t agree with you– calling them “different” or “misguided.” Isn’t that what the LGBT community has been trying to fight for all these years? How does it accomplish anything to sling it right back and then demand they accept you?

    At the end of the day, people are entitled to their beliefs, preferences and principles. If they disagree– so what? Does it have any bearing on how you choose to live your life?

    • Different is not an insult. People are different, there are many differences that are valuable and awesome. I am not a Christian, but there are folks who I appreciate and learn from who are. That said, some differences between people have consequences. They are not the same thing. Some beliefs are supported by evidence and some are not, some beliefs are hurtful and some are not.

      I am bisexual. My identity does not in any way cause someone else harm. People who believe that being LGBT is wrong or immoral do cause harm. People can be fired, kicked out of their houses, or refused service because of their orientations – those things all cause harm. Negative attitudes towards LGBT people cause actual harm to LGBT folks. So, yes, it does have a bearing on how I live my life. There were reasons why my ex and I very carefully referred to each other as roommates whenever we talked to our landlord – because we weren’t quite sure what sort of reaction we would get and the stakes of being forced out of our home were too high to risk it.

      And, yes, it’s nice to say that it’s another person’s loss, but the absence and judgement of someone who you have known and loved and who has known and loved you for perhaps your entire life really sucks. Both parties lose.

    • i think it’s pretty legit to be upset that a family member who has watched you grow from a literal parasite in your parent’s womb to a fully grown adult human won’t come to your wedding…Also, “sling it right back and then demand that they accept you?”?????? I’m trying really hard to not be snarky and make the comment section here a space for everyone to learn and grow, but you sound straight as hell. And you sound like you’re derailing what is a very personal and meaningful event to a lot of queer people. And that’s wrong, and this is not the place for you to be doing that.

      • “You sound as straight as hell”?? Really? You’re going to assume a commenter isn’t queer just because she happens to disagree with your viewpoint?

        That’s gross.

    • @Maea & @ashurredly – I just wanted to say thankyou for both your comments. I’m currently in the middle place of both, and haven’t been able to articulate my feelings or put together a cohesive response; this discussion really helped me.

    • The thing is that there is nothing to agree or disagree with about my homosexuality. It is not a choice I made for myself that a person can disagree with. People who “disagree” with homosexuality hide behind that word because it sounds nicer than “hate.” Those people have a huge impact on our lives and ability to live them, especially if they are our own family members. So why it was suspected that the original commenter was not queer is because most queer people understand the immense pain of not being accepted by a loved one. I have no problem with non-queers reading Autostraddle at all. Please educate yourselves about our community and culture. What I do have a problem with is people who come on here and devalue our first-hand experiences as queer women and derail our conversations. Because yes, these are our conversations. This is our space to escape from this exact sort of harmful attitude. Please respect this before commenting.

    • So what about the weddings this person has attended when the couple wore cotton-poly blends/ate shellfish/planted two herbs in one pot?

  33. YOU GUYS WHY DIDNT I READ THIS TIL RIGHT NOW OMG. Its clearly the best. I mean I am probably goingto send this to someone because i am not engayged and i have relativrs who are notorious for being mean.

    Im like in between wanting to cry and laugh and I LOVE THIS THING.

  34. This is beautiful. Though I am doubtful that I would want this “dear” relative attending anyway!

  35. This is incredible and is also now a saved word document on my computer just in case my family decides they want to be a little bit shitty later on.

    “[relative who still belongs to the homophobic religious institution responsible for much of my self-loathing]” is so real it hurts but is also hilarious. which is the best kind of hurt.

  36. Hey- queer Jew here. I am so fucking tired with this argument that people who practice a religion are somehow hypocritical if we don’t also feel ok with raping people. It is not somehow better for non-relgious atheists to tell me that Judaism is hypocritical shitty than it is for Christians to tell me that secretly everything was about Jesus and I’m going to hell. It actually feels worse. I am queer and Jewish and no one should have to condemn one of my identities to celebrate the other.
    Saying that its hypocritical for Jews to wear certain fabrics if we don’t also have polygamy is like calling Americans hypocritical for allowing women to vote and not having slaves. We have laws, we have a legal system, we have hundreds and thousands of years of people interpreting them, continuing the legal evolution, and growing. You cannot read the texts in isolation and tell me shit about what my religion means.
    I am not monotheistic but I love Judaism. Reading people bash my religion does not feel better than them bashing my sexual orientation.

    • I don’t think this post is bashing religion – I think it’s bashing selective readings of religious texts that harm queer communities. Of course we’re going to read religious texts through a 21st century lens! That’s a good thing! But for someone to turn around use the Bible (or any other text) to excuse their shittiness isn’t okay.

      • (1) how about you look up microaggressions before you tell me that its not offensive (not that this seems micro)
        and (2) it is about textual originalism and following some but not all commandments as their original literal meanings which applies to me too.

        • thank you! like I generally like this letter but I get soooo tired of the whole “but lol we don’t just avoid shellfish! that would be shitty and stupid!” type thing. do you gotta make fun of perfectly harmless religious traditions that don’t have to do with you? do ya really? kinda lowkey antisemitic.

    • Thank you for writing this. If I hadn’t found your comment, I was going to write up a very specific comment regarding the (admittedly, probably inadvertent due to the writer’s lack of education) anti-Jewish sentiment in this thread.

      The general sentiment that we do not observe every commandment, and therefore arbitrarily choosing to be opposed to our marriages on religious grounds, is perfectly valid and a complaint I will agree with. However, please do not use commandments that practicing Jews actually observe as your examples of ‘ridiculous’ commandments that no sane person living in the modern world would observe.

      Many Jews, including many queer Jews (myself included), do attempt to observe some or all of these commandments. Commandments like not wearing mixed fabrics, not eating pork & shellfish, and refraining from harvesting the corners of your field (which by the way, is a commandment relating to donating food to the poor, which I’m sure we can all support).

      While from a Christian perspective these commandments would be superseded by the New Testament, there are thousands of years of Jewish tradition, interpreting and understanding these commandments and their implications. Please do not impose your Christian interpretations on our Jewish laws; they are not yours.

      As a proud out queer Jew, it’s microagressions like these which often make me feel unwelcome in the greater queer community. We simply ask that you be more careful and sensitive in the future. Please do continue to complain about your queerphobic relative who refuses to attend your wedding on “religious” grounds (we’ll keep complaining about our relatives too), just try to avoid making your examples of why their biases are based in bizarre interpretations of their religion anti-Jewish.

        • So? She can be Jewish and not respect the beliefs of Conservative Jews like myself or other people. For example, there are huge number of people who are culturally Jewish (including my parents and sisters) who celebrate major holidays purely because it is a traditon theu were raised with and liked. Just as my ferverantly anti-religous exes that were raised christain celebrate christmas for cultural reasons.

          • You seemed to be impying that the content was inadvertent because the writer didn’t understand Judaism.

    • I appreciate your comment @abbyl1 and @mgary…I’m a Christian and I find a lot of times that people do ignore that the old testament is not just the first part of the Christian bible, but the whole foundational text basically for Jewish people. It’s important for us as we’re having these conversations about religion to be mindful of that, and both of your posts reminded me of that, so thanks! I know that I personally am going to work on not using Leviticus based arguments when I’m trying to prove a biblical point for the primary fact that as a christian, the laws of leviticus don’t matter to my religion–that was the whole point of jesus coming around.

      especially in the queer community, interfaith solidarity is so important. I’m sorry that y’all haven’t been feeling that solidarity in this thread. Hopefully folks will read your words and not get defensive and work to do better in the future.

    • Hey, Abby, I totally get how tired you’re feeling about being criticized as a religious person. I’m a queer Jew as well. But I think in this case, that’s not what’s happening. Riese is saying that religious people who claim that the Bible is not up for interpretation and therefore they must believe that being gay is wrong because it says so IN THE BIBLE are hypocritical if they don’t also believe everything else that the Bible says, without interpretation or edits, including all the stuff about rape being ok and men having multiple wives, and not eating shellfish (which many Jews still do, actually). I agree that that kind of attitude is completely hypocritical and sanctimonious and mean. But again, I totally get how frustrating it is as a religious person to get a lot of criticism about being religious and liberal and queer or whatever, like the two aren’t compatible. I just don’t think that’s what Riese is doing here, and I 100% support criticizing religious folks who are being hypocritical or using their religion to justify hate.

      • I just disagree with that sentiment. I think that’s maybe hard for people to understand, but its not ridiculous to follow some things in the bible as originally written but not follow everything. Its common. I follow some laws but not others depending on my values, changes in Jewish law and interpretation, things that are actually feasible. This doesn’t make me a hypocrite. This doesn’t make anyone else with a different combination a hypocrite. Gay marriage is not allowed in orthodox judaism but they will wear clothes made out of whatever is around. I don’t feel great about it, but I also don’t think they are being hypocritical.
        This method of argument is like saying to a vegetarian, “if you really cared about animals you wouldn’t eat eggs, so obviously you are a hypocritical asshole.” (And this is keeping in mind that there are many reasons people don’t eat meat.)

  37. I don’t have anything super articulate to say. Just that I adored this and am now filled with feelings.

  38. I’m not getting married anytime soon, but I have a lot of friends who I’d like to send this to. Why are the people we love sometimes so pointlessly cruel and terrible?

  39. This letter was waaaaaay longer than I expected it to be, but every word was a fantastic roller coaster.

  40. I love this letter even more than I love the term Love Party. Which is a helluva lot.

  41. There are too many gems in this to quote. I’d basically be quoting the whole letter.

    Also, congratulation Riese and Abby.

  42. I know that this was biting and funny and stuff but I started crying at “We saw women walked down the aisle by their gay male best friend because their father didn’t want to be there.” and didn’t stop

  43. This is so good! I haven’t been on a real date in like a year but if I ever do meet someone who floats my boat, I’m sure this will be useful.
    I hope you guys are having fun at your editors thing!


  44. I love this irreverent wedding photo and if I ever get married I want to take one like it.

  45. This really made me chuckle BUT it’s very white you know what I mean? I just had my family celebration with my wife last weekend and most of her south Asian, non-Christian family were not there. She chose not to tell most of them because it would tear them apart and she loves them. I guess I’m in tune with one of your authors- Who wrote about ‘brown futures’ a couple months back and how the rest of the world cannot and shouldn’t set their coming out standards to that of white cis women.

  46. This was funny and heartening and this part in particular made me cry:

    it’s hard, [relative who won’t attend my fucking wedding] to quiet the internalized self-loathing and homophobia that we grant even ourselves, that voice inside us saying this isn’t real. nobody but you thinks this even counts.”

    I feel this way, as a 22 year old single bisexual whose family is supportive. And I don’t know why I do, or how to get rid of it. I just know that it makes me really sad. I guess I’m glad I’m not the only one, but also I’m not, because I don’t want anyone else to feel this way. It’s strange – when the news came out about the Supreme Court decision, I was so happy for my friends. But I couldn’t feel any joy for myself. I feel like I must have been pretending. I worry that I’m crazy. That I’m selfish. That I’m indecisive and wrong and not worthy of love. And the worst part is that I can’t tell – what thoughts are because of internalized homophobia/biphobia, and what thoughts are true. The worst part is that there might be some overlap. Just in my case.

    I wish I didn’t hate myself so much. I’m not sure how to stop. But reading this gave me a glimpse of what a future in which I didn’t hate myself could be like. How I might gently chide a relative for not wanting to attend the “love party” that, in spite of everything, I do really want to have. So thanks for that, Riese. It was a beautiful moment, even if it never happens for me.

    I really do appreciate you and your staff so much.

  47. So it’s not the same but I have this liberal, open.minded (straight) female friend that at least once a year comments on or asks me something about lesbian sex, like… “but, using toys is like, so unpersonal, you know? It’s just not the same”, or “but there are less sex positions for two women, right?” and it’s so ridiculous and at the same time so HURTFUL, like you’re implying that the sex I (your very dear friend) and millions of women have is not as good as the sex you have…
    I don’t know why but this article reminded me of that. It just pisses me off and saddens me

    • Um you have way more patience and maturity than I do cause I’d be asking her questions back about her sex life.

      Like do your male lovers look lovingly into your eyes while hand fucking you and do they hold you closely as you come undone by their ministration watching and absorbing every second carefully?
      Or is their hand or toy use merely a preparation, a check to see you’re wet enough to receive them?

      And I’d probably insult her spatial reasoning skills because as long as there is a way to touch some one else’s sex part there is sex position there.

      Being bisexual sometimes the temptation to use my powers and experience for the humiliation of the painfully dull witted is strong.
      But the temptation in general to rip fools to ribbon is strong within me just some how the queer multisexualness amplifies it.
      Like water and potassium >_>

      • My answer is always the same: “the quality of the sex depends on the imagination, skills and dynamics of the people involved, not their genders”.
        Whatevs. It all comes back to the same: when you’re in a same sex relationship you’re expected to explain and defend yourself. Be it to a relative that does not want to attend your wedding or to a friend that does not seem to understand that the sex I have is also sex thankyouverymuch

        • That is the mature version of what I just said xD

          It is true the stupid fucking expectation to explain and defend yourself in a same sex relationship for everything and for everyone, but some twisted little part of me when given an opening to turn the table on someone and question them, make them uncomfortable, make them answer me. I take it and sink my knife in as deep as my conscious or self control will let me in that moment.
          Not always just particular brands of stupid or days when I have energy beyond eff you and your dumbass question bye Felice.

          But MYOB is probably the best thing to do.

    • Didn’t the autostraddle sex survey show that women sleeping with women have better sex than straight couples? You should show her that.

  48. If I ever get married, I will refer to my wedding as a LOVE PARTY WITH FREE CAKE. I wonder if it would also help with the massive uplift that vendors put on prices for weddings as opposed to other events.

  49. As someone who is not actually getting married, and whose family (well, those I would invite) ought to be pretty cool about it if/when I do, and whose family isn’t religious in the slightest, I will hopefully never need it. But I feel some of it relates anyway – the tone, addressing people who choose to be bitter instead of happy for you… I definitely feel that!

  50. I’d not read this because marriage is not a thing I ever hoped for dreamed about or thought of for my future like other kids, but I have a terrible habit of getting with people who are romantic and did dream about that Love Party that joyous union between them self in front of their family.

    So I read it and if the day comes I’ll keep it mind when all I want to do is just go to a court house and have pizza later cause what my family thinks or doesn’t do may not concern me and if someone hates me I don’t give a fuck cause I love me.
    But I know possible future person you are a love bear and it matters to you so I’ll help you write that letter if you need to and be supportive rather than a jackass.
    You would likely not be the person I love and would want to legally be in charge of my shit if I kick the bucket or what if you weren’t the sentimental human that you are and I’d hate it if you tried not to be yourself just to placate me.

  51. Also, if said relative thinks the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is about God not liking the gays, they need to fire their Sunday school teacher, because it’s clearly about being inhospitable which was like one of the worst things you could be at that time. the bible doesn’t say shit about homosexuality because homosexuality wasn’t even a WORD until the 19th century [relative who won’t come eat your free cake at your love party]. This is a perfect letter. One I hope I won’t have to send ever, but am bookmarking because I see how homophobic my little cousins are becoming and I know they don’t get it from nowhere.

    • I agree on the Sodom and Gomorrah part. I think its ridiculous when people tell me that the moral is gay rape= bad, straight rape= good. If you think that, you clearly never finished the story because Lot’s daughters think that they have to repopulate the world and rape Lot.

      But homosexuality is not a modern concept. It does say things about men who have sex with men. The bible also was not in English, so let’s not assume that it couldn’t talk about things that didn’t have a one-word english name (i mean, you could even use english to refer to homosexuals without using that word. people do it all the time.)

  52. This is both funny and poking a raw place. And I’m young enough that my whole family would attend if I married! I’ve seen enough of this among friends to last a lifetime.

    I’m going to thank my mom for not teaching me that stuff about marriage and gender. And being awesome. I’m going to thank my dad for having the good sense to keep his mouth shut in my presence all these years.

    Good luck with your weddings.

  53. How does one explain to their girlfriend that they should totally get married just to have the chance to send a letter like this?

  54. This. Is. EVERYTHING. Great letter that I may or may not have to use in the future. We’ll see.

  55. This is so great. Luckily I think most of my family would attend a theoretical future wedding of mine, my grandma would probably just be confused but she’d be there.

  56. TBH, if I had to choose between Touched By An Angel or Love Party with Free Cake, I would be torn.

    I mean, of course, Free Cake EVERY TIME…but I’ll probably still want to watch a good 10 mins of my show…

  57. Also.

    I’m seeing my (best) friend tomorrow and we’ve been distant for a good 18 months. She’s super Christian, and I’m queer-Christian. When I first came out to her, I asked her specifically if she would come to my wedding. She vehemently replied “No. I love you, but I’d never do that”.

    She wants to know why our friendship has broken down, and the honest answer is…because I’m gay and I can’t deal (?) with your judgement, both spoken and unspoken, anymore…I’ve got enough internalized homophobia crushing me without you adding more…

    The stronger, better, me has had this conversation in my head a million times. The actual me? No. Nuh uh. Oh hells no. I love her. With all of my heart. I love my super-straight, staunchly Christian friend, but right now, I just don’t like her. I need her and want her in my life. I fucking well want her at my wedding. Like Riese so eloquently wrote…”I just need you”

    And I don’t even want a big wedding! In my head it’s always been a BBQ in the backyard and everyone brings something to share. A Love Party, With Free Cake.

    [giving me the space to comment is risky, guys]

    • I think you are doing a stellar job with the commenting. I hope that your friend comes around and that you aren’t the only one that has to do some compromising in order to remain close. It’s totally okay not to like someone that you love with all of your heart, especially if they are being mean about an aspect of yourself that you are trying to share with them. Keep on keeping on, pal!

  58. I love this so much. I am going to keep it in my back pocket for when it’s need arises. Hopefully the need won’t arise. I have an aunt who is a Jehova’s Witness and she practically disowned my cousins, her children for exiting her religion, so I do not have high hopes that she would attend a wedding of mine.

    But she also told me, when I was 13, that Harry Potter was “the devil’s work,” and that I was going to go to hell if I “kept reading that witchcraft,” so I haven’t trusted her since then, how dare she blaspheme the good books to my face.

  59. I [person you don’t know who thinks this letter is brilliant] would love to come to your free cake LOVE PARTY! Just sayin’. <3

  60. This is fabulous. Who in their right mind turns down free cake and a love party?? You’re just denying yourself happiness right there.

  61. I had a dream in which I told off my aunt who didn’t come to my wedding literally last night, so wow good timing Riese and Heather.
    This is the same aunt flew to DC to hold a “Marriage is between one man and one woman” sign in front of the Supreme Court two weeks ago. Why am I so much better at cussing people out in dreams than I am in real life?

    • Because dreams don’t have the same consequences of other emotions creeping in, like embarrassment of being riled up or guilt for yelling at somebody especially in front of others? No, just me?

      Now you have a form letter you can use that won’t make you feel those things either.

  62. This is so fantastic. My sister got married last summer and I couldn’t help but worry over who would attend my own ceremony (if I have one). This may be an excellent resource! Thanks!

  63. Lovely. It’d matter if it were my parents or siblings, but other relatives…meh. My family’s tradition is to not have weddings anyway. I’d agree to one for the cake taste-testing though…

  64. this is AMAZING.

    But yes, particularly, “relative seemingly uninterested in eating FREE FOOD”

    like, I would go almost anywhere for free food

  65. God I love this so much. I want to share in on Facebook but a) I’m not engaged and my supportive relatives would FLIP that they hadn’t already been informed and b) my non-supportive jerk-face relatives like your [redacted] wouldn’t read it anyway!
    Thanks for the smile though.

  66. Thank you so much! This could be written to my dad, almost word for word. I’ve already saved it for that fateful day in the future. So fucking funny.

  67. Well hello accuracy. I don’t see myself getting married anytime soon but I’m going to work on my draft of this because I’m skeptical a few of my relatives will get over themselves by the time I do walk down the aisle.

  68. Thanks, guys, for reminding me of the emotionally manipulative letter I received from my grandmother when I got engaged to my ex, the one that said I was a disappointment to her and the family and recalled my grandfather and godmother on their deathbeds. I never trusted my grandmother after I received that letter, and our relationship was never the same.

    • I’m so sorry this happened to you. That sounds really horrible. Sending good wishes your way today.

  69. this is SO IMPORTANT.
    we don’t even have marriage equality in germany yet (although it’s probably coming soon – our government can’t justify its backwardness much longer, and also the main reason why chancellor merkel is opposing it is that she has a “bad gut feeling” about it, so that’s really good politics being made right there).
    but i feel like even if it was legally recognized here, NO ONE in my family would even consider it an option for me to marry my girlfriend. it’s just not on their radar that something like that could be possible. they think i threw any chance of having a family out the window when i started dating girls, and i’m not sure my nudging them toward being more understanding is helping in any way.
    so this letter was really important for me to read. particularly though this one sentence sticks with me: “it’s hard, [relative who won’t attend my fucking wedding] to quiet the internalized self-loathing and homophobia that we grant even ourselves, that voice inside us saying “this isn’t real. nobody but you thinks this even counts.””. because sometimes i’m really terrified that when i do end up marrying the girl i love, and we have kids, etc etc, it won’t feel that real – it will feel like we’re just pretending, like we’re playing at being a family.
    i know my feelings for my girlfriend are real and meaningful and we have a profound connection and the most amazing relationship. which is why it is SO SCARY to me that cultural ideas about what a marriage/family “should” look like have crept into my mind and, hard as i try to shut them out, still provide the backdrop against which i compare what i want to and may have one day. how can this shit affect me so much??? why is it so terrifying to venture into uncharted territory and define these concepts on your own terms?
    i also hate to accept that i have this drive to conventionalize my relationship. i hope i can get this internalized homophobic voice to shut up, whether social progress soon moves in our favor or not. in the end love should be the only thing that matters, and i hope it will be. (although yea some legal protection would be good for sure.)

  70. “Your marriage isn’t Biblical marriage, and aren’t you glad?”

    Yes, thank you! I wish I could tell this to everyone I know in the tiny Southern Baptist town where I live. I want this on a t-shirt. So many people create the religion they follow in their own narrow image, then try to say the view they espouse is unchanging and historic.

    As someone whose entire family has already stated they will not attend a same-sex wedding since they cannot in good conscience give “their blessing” to the union, it’s good (though still heartbreaking)to be reminded I’m not the only one who will or has gone through this. I’m someone who’s still very closeted around my family. Yet I already know the score. I know that ultimately it is most likely I will have to choose between them and a partner. It was a depressing thing to hear from them. I would have liked to think that though they’d be very uncomfortable, they would still choose to attend my wedding if I had one and could bring themselves to be happy for me. In the end, though, I don’t think that will happen. However, I am realizing more each day that I don’t need a blessing based on false premises, given with ill-grace. It’s possible I’ll send letters like this one, but more likely I’ll write off the loss and know it’s better they didn’t come and look miserable the whole time.

    • My late mom’s saying for this was “if you’re gonna go and have a puss on the whole time, don’t even bother.”

      Why spend good catering money on people who aren’t happy to be there/want to bless the union?

  71. This is fantastic, can we have an open comment for relatives who shared terrible homophobic posts on Facebook?

  72. saving this for when I might need this.
    but I guess my family is too much into eating and drinking to not attend a wedding, so…maybe I’ll be lucky, someday.

  73. Riese this perfect and beautiful.
    I am Christian and Gay.

    Will show this to my girl and we will have lots of thoughts about it.


  74. This is great. Just a few little details for accuracy.

    Solomon was condemned for his number of wives.

    Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of their treatment of the poor.

    The offering up of the daughter for rape was shown in a negative light. It is never praised.

  75. This is the only thing to come up under Google when you type “How to deal with family member not attending your LGBT wedding.” It’s the only thing needed. It speaks for us as my soon to be husbands sister is the only family member not attending our wedding due to “religious concerns”. I told her if my Pastor has no problem marrying us, and I’m sure he’s infinitely more aware of the Bible than her, how can she use religion as an objection. Thank you for this. It turned a relatively bad day into a nice one.

  76. I read this article when it came out and found it hilariously entertaining. I read it again now because I truly need help, but it’s not so funny this time around.

    My oldest friend (who has been helping me plan my wedding and shared in my excitement for the past few months) just surprised me in the worst way. I assumed her previous behavior indicated she knew I’d want her to be a big part of my wedding. Not to mention, I was just a big part of her uber-straight-and-Christian wedding last month. She made a big deal about setting up a time to call and once we were finally on the phone I was told she was conflicted. She loves me, but she cannot support me. This has never happened before! She has been so accepting and gracious. What changed? Did I cross a line? Did her marriage change her views?

    So far I have received two opposite lines of advice: 1) screw her – that is NOT OKAY. Which I take as cutting her out of my life entirely or 2) well, what did you expect? which I take as just pretending like it didn’t happen. And I cannot choose.

    My loving fiancée reminds me that I don’t have to decide and that a decision does not have to be binary, but I am still torn. If she is at my wedding, I fear I will see her and think of this moment and be upset. But if she isn’t there, I fear I will look for her and think of this moment and be upset. So that, at least, is a binary decision.

    I am fortunate enough to have not dealt with this kind of rejection from someone I love until now and I am hungry for dialogue regarding cuts this deep – not from strangers, not even family, but someone you can’t just cut out of your life and have to deal with in a way that lets you sleep at night.

  77. I like me new gays woman I am look for a nice friends someone call me just to talk to 910-514-5023

  78. wow. this letter is about as tolerant as the person to whom it is supposedly written.
    talk about hypocritical – if they don’t wanna come because of their beliefs, how can I accuse them of being hateful while sending this letter?
    thanks but no thanks

  79. My dad won’t be attending, and my mom is undecided. So this was VERY cathartic to read, thank you!

  80. This letter lets me know you are not as nice as you think. This letter is mean spirited just as you claim the family member not attending. This is just you venting. And why? You must really need validation. You really must need their approval. Love and approval are not the same thing. If you had a family member who was an alcoholic you wouldnt buy them booze. You would help them out of an alcoholic lifestyle. If they used drugs you wouldnt buy them drugs because you “support” them. You love your children but you don’t always “approve” of what they do. Wait until you grow up and have kids of your own; you’ll get it then. If you’re mad at them then you shouldnt care whether they are there or not. Please search your heart for wisdom and discernment. Don’t follow the world. The world will lead you down the wrong path.

    • Wow, what a homophobe. Comparing gay marriage to drug or alcohol addiction? May God open your heart to empathy and kindness!

      Mods please remove these comments

  81. Oh yes, and I see YOU ARE a bigot of all those christians out there. You’re a hypocrite. Christians I know are not hypocrites. They have the courage to live out their convictions which you are unable to do. You would rather bully people than love them as christians do.

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