LGBTQ+ Couples Reflect on What They Wore on Their Wedding Day

LGBTQ+ Couples Reflect on What They Wore on Their Wedding Day


On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court handed down a landmark 5-4 decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide. For many of the more than 11 million LGBTQ+ Americans, it was a critical turning point. Instantly their right to marry was recognized by law in all 50 states; those who had wed in states where it was legal before this Supreme Court ruling no longer had to worry about their status in states where it hadn’t been.

“Leaving that courthouse and going out onto the plaza—the best way I can describe it is the air was electric,” Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the deciding case, Obergefell v. hodgestells glamor. “The huge crowd in front of the courthouse, singing, cheering, crying. It was a beautiful feeling of joy, happiness—that we actually do belong and we do matter.”

I happened to be there, in Washington, DC, on that historic day. I sprinted from a hotel gym in to the steps of the Supreme Court, and got swallowed up into the growing crowd. The atmosphere was unlike anything I’ve ever felt before or since. But that was then.

Just as history so often does, it jumped forward only to take several steps back. The election of Donald Trump in 2016 changed everything about, well, everything, and it tempered some of the hope and excitement for the future that came with obergefell The National Center for Transgender Equality calls the Trump administration the “discrimination administration,” accusing it of “[waging] a nonstop onslaught against the rights of LGBTQ people.” There’s his transgender military ban, which has been wildly unpopular, even among some of his supporters; his opposition to a federal LGBTQ nondiscrimination bill and a proposed rule from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that would allow federally funded homeless shelters to consider sex and gender identity when deciding whether to accommodate someone, which would likely result in widespread discrimination toward those who are transgender and homeless.

“I’m concerned about the rights of other members of the LGBTQIA+ community,” says Leigh Crenshaw-Player, a black queer woman in Maryland who works as a writer and life coach. “Trans rights are under attack. There is an epidemic of violence against black trans women. The immediate need is getting resources and protections for the most marginalized members of our community.”

In short, while gay marriage was won, the fight for civil rights for all members of the LGBTQ+ community is far from over.

“A couple weeks ago, I told the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality that I have found myself being more pessimistic lately,” Obergefell says. “She said something I now tell myself: ‘Optimism is a political act. Pessimism is obedience.’ That resonated with me. I’m doing my best to be that political person who is continuing to be optimistic.”

And is there anything more inherently optimistic than getting married? It’s the ultimate leap of faith. It’s the promise of a shared lifetime, despite having no clue what life will throw your way. It’s choosing optimism every day, even when the course of history plays out differently than you imagined.

Ahead, eight married LGBTQ+ couples open up and reflect about what they wore—and what it meant—when they tied the knot in the post-Obergefell world.