Getting Hitched: Lesbian Weddings in Film and TV

 
 

Tru Loved
(2008)

In this film, a wedding
is the catalyst that helps a gay character come out, but unlike other films in
which weddings bring up gay-related issues, this wedding isn’t a heterosexual
one. It’s the interracial same-sex marriage of the two moms of a teenaged girl
named Tru (Najarra Townsend), and the character who comes out is her best
friend, Lodell (Matthew Thompson), a closeted, gay African-American high school
football player.

Currently playing the
film fest circuit, Tru Loved is a feel-good family flick written,
directed, and produced by Stewart Wade (Coffee Date). It features a
very queer cast and crew, including Bruce Vilanch as the wedding officiant, and
everyone’s favorite lesbian actor, Jane Lynch, as a high school teacher. Even
the soundtrack is gay, featuring songs by artists including Melissa Etheridge,
Rufus Wainwright and Janis Ian.

Tru doesn’t just have two
moms; she also has two dads living in San
Francisco
. She and her mothers recently relocated to Southern California, where Tru starts a gay-straight
alliance at her high school. When her fathers go to Canada and get married, it inspires
her moms, played by Cynda Williams and Alexandra Paul, to throw a wedding of
their own.


Photo credit: Mark Bennington

Almost every character in
the film, from the homophobic high school coach to Tru’s closeted gay English
teacher (Alec Mapa) shows up at the affair. Their male principal (Tony Brown)
even dances with Vilanch.

When football legend Dave
Kopay, playing himself, attends the wedding as the guest of Tru’s dads, it
helps inspire Lodell to come out to his mother (Jasmine Guy) and grandmother
(Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek‘s Uhura). Gran takes it in stride, simply
questioning in her best Southern drawl, "Doesn’t that school of yours have
any nice black boys?" when introduced to Lodell’s white boyfriend.

"This is really a family-friendly
film that happens to have LGBTQ characters in it," Tru Loved
publicist Elizabeth Owen told AfterEllen.com. "If it weren’t gay families,
the family-friendly folks would be all over it. But because it happens [to]
include gay folks, they’re all over it in the worst way."

Tru Loved
premiered at the Sedona Film Festival in February, screened this summer at both
Frameline and the Hollywood Black Film Festival, and was the closing film at
Outfest.

Gay-Lite Weddings in the Movies

If cinematic portrayals
of lesbian weddings are rare, what’s more abundant are "gay-lite"
weddings, where the ceremony in question involves a heterosexual couple, but
lesbian and gay characters are pivotal to the story line, such as Ang Lee’s
1993 film The Wedding Banquet.

"Gay-lite"
films often make strong statements about marriage equality, even if queer
couples don’t actually tie the knot themselves. For example, in the A&E
movie Wedding Wars (2006), a gay event planner named
Shel (John Stamos) is hired to plan his brother’s wedding to the governor’s
daughter. The governor comes out against same-sex marriage, Shel goes on
strike, every gay person in America
joins him, and justice is served in the end. There’s lots of talk about the
issues, but no gay wedding.

Out
at the Wedding
(2007) is a little more convoluted. Set at a straight
wedding, it’s the story of a young woman involved in an interracial romance.
Worried that her family won’t accept her boyfriend, she brings her white gay
male best friend as her date. Through a series of misunderstandings at the
wedding, everyone back home gets the idea she’s a lesbian.

But probably the
best-known "gay-lite" films with lesbian couples at their heart are April’s Shower (2004) and Imagine Me and You (2005).

April’s Shower (2004)

April (Maria Cina) and
Alex (Trish Doolan) were lovers for five years. But April found being a lesbian
too hard, especially given her very Catholic family, and got engaged to a nice
young man named Paulie (Randall Batinkoff). In a move so inappropriate it’s
hard to swallow, she asks Alex to be her maid of honor and throw her bridal
shower.

Things go completely nuts
from then on, as almost every character has his or her assumptions challenged
or thrown out the window, unlikely couples end up together, and yes, of course,
the two women find their way back to each other — and the wedding, thankfully,
gets called off.

 

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