Caleb
Devoted May 2019

wedding vendors while transgender

Caleb, on June 7, 2017 at 1:50 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 37
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This may be a "too specific" question for this forum, but does anyone else have experience having to agressively assert their identity to vendors and if so, how do you deal with it? I currently pass as male until I open my mouth and my fiance is nonbinary. Being misgendered as female is a deal breaker for both of us. I'm the past I've gone the route of saying things like "actually we're both going to be husbands" or "just so you know, I'm a man," but even in New York city those tend to be either brushed off or ignored. Being gendered correctly and the knowledge that our lgbt+ wedding party will be respected is the most important thing for me when booking vendors and unfortunately, transphobia is a problem even among lgbt friendly vendors. Does anyone have any advice for how to address with my vendors how serious I am about this issue since my way doesn't seem to work?

37 Comments

  • Kirstie819
    Super August 2017
    Kirstie819 ·
    • Flag

    I don't have experience in this, but I would just make it known that you and your soon to be husband would like ( insert statement here) make it known in the beginning and if they have a problem with that screw them!

    ETA: I'm assuming you go by Caleb, so they should realize before meeting with you that you identify as male.

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  • lyla
    Master July 2017
    lyla ·
    • Flag

    When this happens, are your vendors saying "SHE" or "bride" about you after you already say that you are men and wish to be identified as "he" or "husband? Or is this before you've explained that?

    • Reply
  • VC
    Master May 2017
    VC ·
    • Flag

    As far as I am concerned, any professional vendor will stand by your correction once you have told them once. Sometimes they may forget but they would be apologetic.

    I have yet to meet any vendor where I am from who dismisses how we are addressed. Sometimes they may have asked how we would like to be called but I never thought it was rude or tiresome.

    I think your approach is fine to either correct them or let them know. Otherwise you can just address it upfront that identity is very very important to you two and if your vendor is not responding professionally then go on to the next one.

    Heck even booking my honeymoon in Bali, the resort manager did not know we were same sex and apologized so much she threw in a free meal for us haha. Maybe we are just lucky.

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  • Kerry
    Expert June 2017
    Kerry ·
    • Flag

    In planning I've come across a lot of vendors that are LGBT friendly. Quite a few have this listed on their websites. That might be a place to start. Then like Kirstie819 said let it be known in the beginning right out the gate. It's definitely their issue if they can't understand, they'd be losing business! Good luck!

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  • Caleb
    Devoted May 2019
    Caleb ·
    • Flag

    @lyla I introduce myself immediately as "hi, I'm Caleb, the groom-to-be," and both my fiance and I assert our pronouns regularly. It still happens. And I would like to be able to stick to my budget and also find vendors who aren't going to make me, my FS, or our friends uncomfortable.

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  • Celia Milton
    April 2020
    Celia Milton ·
    • Flag

    We marry people. We've married SS couples, couples that include transgendered partners....we are completely focused on our couples and their needs.

    While I don't have a lot of experience being in your shoes, I'd just be as direct as possible, as soon as possible and let the chips fall where they may. But also be aware that as welcoming as a potential vendor might hope to be, they might genuinely not be familiar with your orientation. While I don't necessarily think that wedding planning should be a constant education for the people you work with, I think that you'll be in a better place to pick vendors who truly resonate with you if they have an insight into you.

    I hope that doesn't sound dismissive, because it's not meant to be, but don't mistake ignorance for disrespect.

    • Reply
  • SSJKarigan
    VIP August 2017
    SSJKarigan ·
    • Flag

    That sounds incredibly frustrating. One of my best friends standing up in my wedding recently came out as transgender (F > M), and so far we haven't experienced any issues (for the most part). Then again, he hasn't gone in for his tux fitting yet, but I'm hoping they'll be understanding... I'm going with him to make sure there's no shenanigans. He hasn't begun any physical transformation yet but he does wrap his chest.

    Although, I will say this - before he came out as transgender (which is when I asked him to be a BM), we had planned on having him walk down the aisle with a specific GM - after my friend came out, we let the GM know that he would be walking down the aisle with another man. He said he would rather not... so thankfully my little brother stepped in and said he'd be glad to walk with my friend. I did not tell my friend any of this... as far as he knows, we just decided we'd like him to walk with Joe instead of Jim.

    Also, if I may... we are all human, and sometimes we slip up. I'm still adjusting to calling my friend him/he and every now and then I slip up. It's nothing personal, it's just 20+ years of referring to that person as she/her. I always apologize and correct myself. People may not be sure about your gender, and it's awkward AF to say, "Hey, I can't tell what gender you are." so most people guess (and in your case, it sounds like they guess wrong). Just let people know from the get-go.

    My only advice is to be up front about your expectations - don't assume people will just "get it." Stand your ground and don't let up. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. If the vendor continuously disrespects you, tell them you no longer want to do business with them.

    • Reply
  • J
    Super September 2017
    Jenny ·
    • Flag

    I think you've done everything you can do. I mean, if you're upfront about how you'd like to be identified, I'd give them leeway and give one more reminder if they make a mistake (it may be an habit/familiarity thing rather than discomfort with your preference). After that though, I'd not work with that vendor.

    IMO, over the phone conversations a lot of people just guess by voice - I have a hard time remembering the specifics of all of my clients if they just right off the bat pick up the phone and call me, I'd probably just wing the convo. Caleb is a traditionally male name, so I would probably remember - but if your name was say, Taylor and I had more than one "Taylor" client, I'd have no idea what I'd do, probably misindentify you based on voice.

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  • Mrs. Sponge
    Master April 2018
    Mrs. Sponge ·
    • Flag

    I second what Kerry said. I've seen plenty of vendors whose website state that they are LGBT friendly on their websites. Search for vendors that make it known up front that the won't be a problem to work with. And I also agree that if they have an issue working with you then it's their problem and let them lose the business.

    • Reply
  • TheeOne2Love
    VIP December 2017
    TheeOne2Love ·
    • Flag

    I dont have any experience but I would assume that its likely just an honest mistake and not intentional disrespect. Maybe once you have narrowed down the vendors that you like you can express the importance of being addressed correctly and see how it goes?

    • Reply
  • Sos0033
    VIP September 2017
    Sos0033 ·
    • Flag

    If you've made it clear once and they continue to address you incorrectly, there's no excuse. Consider it an indication of their work... if a photographer can't even remember such basic info, what else will they miss?

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  • Caleb
    Devoted May 2019
    Caleb ·
    • Flag

    @Sos0033 that's how I feel, but I was worried I was being too picky. But it's happening with people who brand themselves as "lgbt friendly", especially now that it's pride month and people are looking to appearinclusive without doing the work. Other than reaching out to married trans friends in the area I wasn't sure what to do. That said I am hoping to meet some vendors at pride who I could work with!

    • Reply
  • BoudreauToBe
    Master July 2018
    BoudreauToBe ·
    • Flag

    Like many PPs, I don't have a ton of experience in this area, so please forgive me. Would it be better if you introduced yourself as "Caleb, one of the grooms" instead of "the groom to be?". Maybe when they hear "groom-to-be" they automatically assume that there is a bride involved too?

    • Reply
  • Caleb
    Devoted May 2019
    Caleb ·
    • Flag

    @boudreautobe that's a fair point that I hadnt considered

    • Reply
  • SuperHusband
    Dedicated May 2018
    SuperHusband ·
    • Flag

    As your fellow groom to be (hi babe!), I agree: there is nothing in the world more exhausting than having the same conversation again and again and again...

    ...and again, with people who claim to be "trying," as if saying the words "sorry, I'm trying!" is somehow the exact same thing as actually making some kind of effort. I cannot count how many times I've had this exact conversation with a self-proclaimed "ally" to the LGBT community:

    "You're getting married? You'll be such a beautiful bride!"

    "Actually, I'm a boy. My future husband and I are both gay men."

    "Oh, sorry, I'll remember that! Hey - this is Clint, she and her girlfriend here are engaged!"

    "We're men. We're gay men."

    "Oops, sorry, you're right. I'll remember that. Right, so Clint and Caleb will need dresses that really show off their inner bride!"

    "WE'RE GAY MEN. WE'RE BOTH MEN. WE AREN'T WOMEN."

    "Wow, okay, I said I was sorry! There's no need to be rude just because I made an honest mistake! Do you have any idea how hard this is for ME?"

    ...and repeat, ad infinitum. Amazing how every cisgender person I've ever met is able to explain to me, in detail, why my gender identity is sooooo difficult for THEM, but there are so few of them who can grasp the concept that maybe being constantly misgendered isn't exactly a walk in the park for me, either...

    • Reply
  • J
    Super September 2017
    Jenny ·
    • Flag

    @SuperHusband

    Thanks for posting that. I honestly was not aware it could be so bad. I'm so sorry and angry on your behalf that that happens.

    • Reply
  • PrettyWitty&Gay
    VIP October 2017
    PrettyWitty&Gay ·
    • Flag

    Hey guys, I don't have much advice but understand a tiny bit of where you're coming from I think. My fiancée and I are both cis women so we got it a lot easier, but we really feel strongly about hiring vendors who aren't just plastering "LGBT friendly!" On their website, but instead actually being steadfast allies or queer themselves. It's a really really tricky thing to try to pry out of someone. I do know that we started just being pretty upfront about our values - "hey, we're two queer women. We're trying hard to make this event as queer and feminist as it can be. We're tying to actively hire women and queers" and sometimes the person didn't respond. Sometimes they responded a little uncomfortably. And sometimes they were like "hell yes I am so into this let's do it!" That of course, doesn't help navigating an incredibly heteronormative industry that constantly misgenders you, but i hope it can be some help. Also, we spoke to a photographer that we looooved and who has a trans parent and is NY based if you're looking for a photographer!

    • Reply
  • Svetlana
    VIP October 2018
    Svetlana ·
    • Flag

    I think from the first encounter with a vendor you need to be really specific as to how exactly you want to addressed. Not everyone is culturally/diversity competent so it is always good to have open lines of communication from the start up.

    • Reply
  • PrettyWitty&Gay
    VIP October 2017
    PrettyWitty&Gay ·
    • Flag

    @elphaba to your random thought, once again it's that goddam heteropatriarchy. We live in a culture that values masculinity more than femininity, so it's more acceptable when girls defy gender roles and show more masculine traits (tomboys) than when boys "betray" their higher ranked masculinity and be more feminine (effeminate boys). With that said, it's still pretty awful out there for anyone who defies the outlined, expected norms and roles of the gender they were assigned at birth

    • Reply
  • Mrs. Sponge
    Master April 2018
    Mrs. Sponge ·
    • Flag

    Oh I see your point @PrettyWitty&Gay that anybody could put that on their website to gain business and in reality it means nothing. I'm sorry this is such a difficult process for you and OP.

    • Reply

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