On Monday, I wrote in my Chicks Getting Hitched column about how little airtime lesbians get on reality TV shows about weddings. I guess I spoke too soon because TLC is featuring a lesbian couple on My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding. Maybe in my next column, I’ll complain about how we don’t have a federal law legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.S., and we’ll see what happens.
Tune in to TLC on Sunday, June 10 at 10/9c to watch Gypsy bride Ana and her partner Linda tie the knot in a small town in Ohio.
The ladies have plenty of obstacles to overcome before they say, “I do.” For starters, the Gypsy culture isn’t exactly open to the idea of gay people. Ana says on the show that most Gypsies don’t even accept her as one of their own because she is an out lesbian. “In our culture, that just doesn’t happen. It would be like a black guy in the Ku Klux Klan,” Ana explains.
While a woman marrying another woman is taboo in Gypsy culture, marrying your first cousin is apparently perfectly acceptable (I guess that is one way to trim the guest list). The other couple featured in the same episode as Ana and Linda are heterosexual first cousins from West Virginia who get hitched in a completely over-the-top “winter wonderland” wedding. All I’ll say is the bride wears a massive dress that is wired to light up. Oh, and a huge glittery snowflake on her head. So, thanks to the “kissing cousins” for making the lesbians look relatively dignified and normal.
Some of the details of gay bride Ana’s nuptials are unique because she is a Gypsy. For instance, while many of us might dip into savings to pay for our weddings, Ana pawns some Gypsy gold she inherited from her dad to pay for hers. But, for the most part, the episode chronicles Ana and Linda dealing with a lot of the same things lesbians from any culture face when they are planning a wedding.
While Ana and Linda hunt for a wedding venue, they not only have to find a place they like, but they also have to make sure the small town owners are OK with the fact that there is no groom in this equation. In a few emotional scenes, Ana wonders whether her disapproving family members, particularly her mom, will show up on her big day. I don’t know any lesbian couples who haven’t dealt with that issue to some degree.
And then, there is the dress-or-no-dress debacle that will resonate with many gay girls. Ana, now 25, hasn’t worn a dress since she was 12. But, she wants to have a traditional Romany (i.e., Gypsy) wedding, and that means wearing a dress – a big one. “As far as Romany culture is concerned, you definitely have to wear a dress to be a bride,” Ana says.
While My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding is offbeat, to say the least, I’ll take lesbian representation where I can get it. Tune in on Sunday and tell us what you think.
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding airs on TLC Sunday, June 10 at 10/9c