While there have been strides made in the past few years, the wedding community can still be very cis-het normative. Focusing on cisgendered, straight couples, as the norm that we see. Queer LGBTQ+ wedding photographer Steph Large shares the ways in which we can all be more LGBTQ+ inclusive in our online presence 365 days a year.
Always have your pronouns in your social media bio and signatures, It’s a way to show that you welcome everyone & you understand everyone and is the bare minimum that we can do.
We need to see ourselves, and not just with the token pretty lesbian couple. LGBTQ+ love comes in all shapes, sizes, colours and formats and it’s really important this is shared on website & social media.
I don’t want to have to scroll to find an LGBTQ+ couple, I deserve to be on your feed as much as anyone else.
Language is just as important as the images we see. And without these 3 things (above) you’re simply not an inclusive supplier.
Look at social content, websites & forms to make sure you’re not assuming gender or sexuality of your potential couples.
“Bride & Groom” “Mr & Mrs” “His & Hers” “Dress & suit” the list goes on. It’s really important not to “same sex” to generalise the LGBTQ+ community either, as it marginalises and erases so many other wonderful humans within the community.
I am a Queer person, my Queerness is so important to who I am and how far I’ve come. If myself and my current partner do get married, he is a (trans) man. Sadly even though he gets mis-gendered at the moment, there will come a time where we’re seen as a straight facing couple. To have my Queerness removed by a supplier who can only see heteronormativity isn’t okay!
Shocker- maybe your couples won’t identify with being Brides or Grooms, so we just can’t presume from how people look & who they love, that we know their gender or sexuality.
Want to hold a styled shoot to share more LGBTQ+ representation, great idea! However, only ever use real LGBTQ+ people (we all know a real couple is best) and have LGBTQ+ suppliers behind the camera that you actually ask to be involved.
Do! Don’t just say
I don’t want to see “LGBTQ+ ally” “LGBTQ+ friendly” etc etc, on your bio if you’re not actually being inclusive.
Actual allyship is hard, it’s constant and it’s time consuming. It’s putting the community over your business, which people just wouldn’t do. Of course we need ally’s, however it’s more damaging to be told someone is an ally who isn’t.
If you’re mentioning you’re inclusive, welcoming, friendly (whatever wording you pick) I want to see that inclusivity constantly.
If you’re questioned or do something wrong
This is where we can see if what you’re saying is true, with the reaction to being questioned or if you do something wrong.
Firstly, we all do something wrong, we don’t know everything and as an inclusive wedding photographer you need to continue your learning and growing. As a Queer person I put a lot of my time and energy into learning and just following people who share information. Im so thankful there’s a wide community out there than want us to do better and therefore share their lived experiences and knowledge- they don’t owe you this!
If you are questioned by someone from the community or an ally, then it’s really important to listen and to understand why it’s been said. It usually means that person actually cares about you and wants you to learn, do better or understand why you did something. I can tell you it’s bloody draining and so so hard to talk to a cis-get person, as someone from the LGBTQ+ community, it’s anxiety inducing and it’s scary. Because, in most situations, they have the power and I have to prove what I’m saying.
It’s really important we thank the person for pointing it out, research if needed, and show and do better. Intention and impact are very different, and it’s how things can impact a community or be seen and come across that we have to think about. I don’t care if it was a shoot for a wedding dress shop, and they’re two single brides posing together, I do care that I’ve seen to straight cis-het people pose like they’re a couple, that’s you’re problem that I’ve seen it like that, not mine.
What can I do for Pride?
If you’ve not shared anything from or about the LGBTQ+ community much, Pride isn’t the time to do it. It’s a great time to start following and sharing more from LGBTQ+ wedding accounts or news channels, stories is great for this and you’ll learn so much.
If you do already share LGBTQ+ lovers, then just doing that, all year round is far more important than any rainbow-filled photo. This isn’t the time to share your only LGBTQ+ couple and say nothing more, it’s about spreading the love, the reason we need Pride & to really understand yourself, how cis-het normative the wedding industry is. Until you can see that, it’s hard to move forward to do more for the community.
Steph Large is a Queer, LGBTQ+ Wedding photographer @stephaniedreamsphotography
If you’ve benefited from what you’ve read, please think about doing something wonderful for the community this Pride and donate to Leon’s top surgery fundraiser: https://gofund.me/96b2cc46