One Love - Kerry & LJ's Engagement Session & Coming Out Story
In honor of coming out day I wanted to share the story of Kerry & LJ and their journey. Kerry & LJ will be getting married next weekend. These two beautiful woman have such a strong love and sense of adventure. When I first met Kerry & LJ I asked them what they like to do together. There answer was a bit of everything. They ride bikes, go for walks after dinner, make brunch together, and love to travel the world. Kerry shared photos of all their adventures together.
And while they have a beautiful love at first sight story (that I will share on their wedding blog). It’s the support and love that LJ had given Kerry whose Caribbean family has decided that they could not accept Kerry and LJ being together.
In the United States we have taken huge strides over the past 20 years towards gay rights and marriage. In most states and for most people it has become a cultural norm. Kids are growing up with two moms or two dads, they are learning that just because they were born a girl doesn’t mean they are a girl.
That is in the United States…
In many many other countries around the World being gay is illegal. In some African countries people who are found out to be gay could be imprisioned or even murdered. (For more information read this article from Newsweek).
Kerry is from a very Christian family in Jamaica another place where being gay is “unacceptable” in their culture.
“I grew up in Jamaica; homophobia is rooted in and reinforced by the church and the culture. It is deeply engrained in the societal fabric from the music to definitions of gender roles. Being LGBT and a proud Jamaican is like oil and water, immiscible.
The rejection from family and friends has been painful and has endured for nearly a decade.
This summer, I made one last attempt to have my parents meet my wife to be.
I received this message from my mother:
“I cannot be part of that relationship… The Bible speaks about it… it is a sin and it’s wrong! I am disappointed in you. I don’t want to be a part of it. I want to see the face of my Lord. I thought this was a phase… people have phases but this has carried on and I am not sure with your upbringing why you would choose this lifestyle… at one point, it almost killed me. “
I remember that Sunday morning vividly. My heart ached.
A few weeks later, in response to a wedding invitation to a friend of 25 years. She said she would not attend via What’sApp. I was crushed; I cried for days.
Message from her friend:
“I have been thinking of our friendship and I have realized that I am tolerant to a certain extent but not comfortable with all your decisions. I have, however, supported you and accepted you just the way you are, an authentic friend who is beautiful, bright, and fun loving. I will not be attending the celebration of your big day. I am not that liberal, and uncomfortable with the idea. I do not believe in hypocrisy and especially between us, and hope you will understand… I know that this decision of mine will hurt you immensely but I cannot stifle my conscience.”
Kerry came out to her parents in her 20’s even though they suspected in high school.
Kerry has invested in almost a full year of therapy to unlearn shame messages. Proudly she has rewritten her story of affirmation; it validates all of who she is.
Kerry said. “In a few short days, I will marry my soulmate, confidant, friend, cheerleader, tough-love(r), balloon, and anchor. She lights up my world and could not have had a better partner on this journey. My parents won’t be there but I am grateful for my village and chosen family. “
We are making huge strides around the world. In 20 years from now I hope that we will continue in the right direction and that kids won’t have a fear of coming out. That there will be no fear of being who you are. That they don’t have to worry about being bullied. That there will truly be “One Love, One Heart.” That the definition of Love won’t be defined by our sex, race, or religion. That we will be able to just be us.
Thank you Kerry for sharing your story. I’m know you are not alone and your wife and your village will always be behind you. I am so happy to share your love, laughter, and wedding day with you and LJ.