Out and Proud

Love, Open Letters, Wedding

Saw a lovely post from a teacher who speaks about coming out, after marrying her wife.

He roost reminded me why I came out and keep coming out each year, each semester, in each new class. Being out in my classroom is one of the most valuable lessons and teachable moments I have to offer. It shows closeted kids or those with queer family that it’s possible to live a beautiful, rich and happy life; to be a professional; to be respected and successful as a queer person.

What else motivates me to be out in my classroom? It provides visibility and hope to kids and a learning opportunity about the diversity within our community. So many important steps towards inclusion and acceptance begin with the risk of being seen. For many it is about knowing someone and having that relationship spark the curiosity to question what we have learned or previously taken as truth. It’s hard to bear hatred or intolerance when you have a face to put to the name, whatever the marginalized group or person may be. I am their teacher. Someone they know and care about. Someone who has modelled caring and for respect for all the things that make them who they are. I actively teach anti-oppression and critical thinking about diversity, myth-busting the rhetoric that too frequently is used to promote intolerance.

If it’s safe to do so… come on out. Our kids need to see you there.


Four Years

Love, Wedding

I can hardly believe that four years have passed since the day I married my wife. It feels like yesterday. It feels like a lifetime ago. So much has happened.


This accidental magic captures how I feel with you. Photo: Sweetheart Empire (Kate O’Connor)

For our fourth Anniversary, aside from the silk/satin motif (silk screened pregnancy announcement tees, and silk pajamas), Allia made us a wedding video. Watching it takes me back to exactly how I felt in those moments. It perfectly encapsulates the magic of our day.

Why do I care about that? Partly because it feels momentous and nostalgic to look back at happiness that still feels tangible and vivid, partly because there are people who told me this would never happen.

Allia and Alison’s Wedding (for the video follow this link)



When I first came out, it was six years before gay marriage was legalized in Canada (2005). I was a teenager, but I remember one of my mom’s friends saying, sympathetically, ‘It’s so sad that Alison won’t have a wedding and you’ll never have grandkids.’ Politely, my mom replied, ‘Fuck that.’

Not quite in those words, but with the same rebellious denial of that assumption. I am my mother’s daughter (and my father’s) and neither raised me to believe that anything I truly wanted was out of reach. They are the biggest advocates, even before I came out, they raised me to see every possibility and to feel entitled to happiness, love and acceptance. Maybe this is why I work so fiercely, at work and at play, to try to make others believe that we all deserve love, dignity and acceptance.

When people asked questions like, “will you ever get married?” “which one of you will wear a suit?” “so, you don’t want to ever have kids?” or made statements like “that must have been so hard for your parents” – I responded to it as a challenge.

We had exactly the wedding I envisioned, a reflection of our relationship, two people – full of laughter, dancing, old traditions and quirky, personal touches. I come from a theatre background and although I wasn’t a Disney princess sort of little girl, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t have a dreamy wedding fit for a fairytale. We themed it like a performance, a show, a circus, with several acts and lots of spectacle. It was a romance and a comedy. And I have never felt more at ease, so relaxed and so happy, in front of my loved ones, looking into the eyes of the woman I love.

I hope we can raise a little one who feels that swell of love and support, and will see that look in our eyes, four years, ten, twenty… fifty years from now.

Happy anniversary, my love. Cheers to many, many more.


Big Day For #Us


We’ve had a good three years. For whatever reason we are taking over the news and social media (just a little). 

We are front page on Huffington Post Canada. See the whole story at http://m.huffpost.com/ca/entry/16089958

And getting featured with #YYZImports in their promo video. 

Check them out for great, affordable and eclectic jewellery. @yyzimports 

And getting sweet love and shoutouts for our 3Rd anniversary from the talented photographer Kate O’Connor of #

How do you celebrate your #love and your #uniqueself?

Bridal Shower Inspiration – OOTD

style, Wedding

My brother is getting married. And I couldn’t be more thrilled. Seriously. The woman he is marrying is a dream come true (for him, I have no doubt, but also for me). She is down to earth, charming, sweet, funny, adventurous, independent, courageous and kind. Plus she’s a babe and he is so lucky to have found his match.

This weekend, as per tradition, my aunties are hosting a shower for her – a chance for the family to get to know her and for many of us to meet her sisters, mother and maids of honour.

A winter shower (in Canada) presents some challenges, especially in a home-hosted shower where we take our shoes off (politely, as Canadians are rumoured to be).

I got some inspiration by scouring the Paris fashion week street style:

Now, these might seem unlikely, but bear with me. A fancy skirt, paired with an interesting, embellished top and lots of texture, an opaque black stocking and cute clutch. I think I’ve got it.


Stay tuned for upcoming tips on whimsical wedding style, party favours, best dresses, hair and makeup and personalized touches. I’ve also got my eye on some dreamy wedding photography style. What’s your go to look for daytime parties?


Portugal in Moving Pictures

Indulge, Love

Is it too late for a #tbt? It’s Thursday, and it’s not so far back, after all… Here is a taste of our delicious Portugal trip. A sweet little movie that captures just the cherry of what it’s like to travel with a lovely lady like Allia (@buttonsmcleod  if you’d like to catch more from her on Insta). Feel free to check out the pictures from each day of our journey here (Day 1-15 of our Portugal journey!). It really is a place that you have to see to believe. Around every turn there was something breathtaking, adorable or hilarious.

I hope that voce gosta muito this little vid. I present: a peek into Portugal, from the perspective of two lesbians in love. Tchau and beijos!


Wedding Bells: Getting Ready In Style


I love love. I especially love nostalgia, photographs and reminiscing about happy life moments. So, it`s been a total treat looking at the proofs from Sweetheart Empire; our photographer, Kate O`Connor is a total pro and caught all the lovey-dovey moments of our nuptials, making it a day of smooth sailing and laughter. Here`s a little taste of our day: my wife, getting ready to put on the dress and meet me at the church, surrounded by her dearest friends.

View More: http://sweetheartempire.pass.us/allia-alison-wedding

Dress, shoes and grandmother`s vintage fur. Jewels, makeup and finishing touches. We jumped on the trend, right before it peaked two years ago, and ordered long kaftans in an array of bright hues for all our bridesmaids, mum, our musicians and all the friends who pitched in to make our DIY wedding so dreamy.

Our Emcees were one of our favourite couples, a spicey pair of lesbian-marrieds who are just as silly as we are. In the Grand Hotel, she prepped, went over the itinerary, sipped champagne and got prepped with her ladies. Don`t let the serious face, above, fool you; she was cool as a cucumber, no Bridezilla to be found.

With her sister to help zip her in, it was high-fives and hugs. What a stunning bride. And down the hall, I`m in my own blissful bubble, getting ready to see this gorgeous face at the altar. Stay tuned for the next love-update!   Cheers and love, A.

View More: http://sweetheartempire.pass.us/allia-alison-wedding

The Times, They Are a Changing

Love, Open Letters, Wedding

All photos from my own wedding are courtesy of Kate O’Connor at  http://sweetheartempire.com/ 

Anyone who grows up … in North America, knows the story. You grow up, you fall in love… you get married. I certainly applaud those who challenge the narrative and, yes, there are problems with ‘the institution,’ but one of the things that shows how much progress we have made, as a nation (Canada and others) is the right to choose. Marriage. No, we are not defined by our decision to join our life with someone else, and yes, you can be whole and fulfilled without being paired, or procreating. But for so long, queer relationships were defined by their inability to participate in the beautiful, emotionally fulfilling, symbolic step of sharing the joy of your relationship with those you love and having your community show their support for that union.

Today I saw an article about a dazzling couple, who celebrated in a fusion of Western and Indian traditions: http://the-daily.buzz/americas-first-indian-lesbian-wedding/?ts_pid=2

This beautiful couple has helped to raise the profile for couples everywhere who want to marry the one they love, while celebrating their culture.

And the diversity is plain to see.


A colourful union, between two brides with a female officiant.


Two traditional dresses challenge the ‘who is wearing the tux’ assumption.


Playing with conventions and gender in a classic pose.

Hard landscape, sweet emotion.

Hard landscape, sweet emotion.


Picture perfect little love birds.


Tattoos and lace, faux-hawk and a smitten grin.

One of the most beautiful parts of any wedding are the small details and traditions that couples integrate into their special day, to reflect their relationship, interests and cultures. For queer couples, although many face sadness and hardship around life moments that can bring difference and non-acceptance into harsh contrast, there are (at least) two things to be very thankful for: they have found the person they want to join their life with, and they have a chance to shape new traditions and challenge existing ones that might seem like a given for heterosexual couples.

Here are a few highlights from our special day.


Allia didn’t want us to see the other’s dress. So it was an incredible surprise to see how beautifully our dresses complimented one another; and seeing her for the first time made my jaw hit the floor. She got to decide that I would walk first, accompanied by my father, while her brother escorted her, second, down the aisle to meet me.


It was hard for us not to have her parents involved in the wedding, so we turned the traditional father daughter dance into a ‘first dance’ with someone you love. I danced with my amazing dad, and she danced with her siblings to “Stand By Me.”


We had our friend, Riaz, an unordained ‘un-officiant’ perform our ceremony. Including some humour, our delightful friend married us from atop an apple box, because we are both 5’10 and … my wife met Riaz when they both worked in the film industry.


The music was varied and personalized, with French and “Midnight in Paris” inspired music during the pre-ceremony, Bossa-Nova and Bossa-Marley (a throwback to our time in Spain) during cocktails. We both insisted that our dresses be comfortable enough to dance in, and we had a roaring dance party to celebrate, with tunes from Oldies (which we love to cook to), to indie-electro and some Bob Marley (of course, for her Jamaican heritage).


We opted for a converted historic church building, with the sunlight streaming in.


There was a surprise during dinner: amidst the childhood photos and slideshow – a video of our proposal. An onstage karaoke request for her hand in marriage. We had wine cork wreaths and all of our bridesmaids carried handmade paper bouquets by a local artisan.


We decided to forgo the awkwardly posed shots and, instead, to go SUPER posed, for a Vanity Fair/Netflix inspired editorial look. All of our bridal party members got to choose their own attire, from a palette of colours for a vintage, soft look, with a cohesive, romantic tone. We wore two of my grandma’s vintage furs, and all of the bridesmaids were able to re-wear their dresses. Given that there was no ‘groom,’ we had no ‘groomsmen,’ but each of us had our brother step in as our ‘best man.’ 


There is a special place in our hearts for our gay boy friends; our ‘g-ushers’ helped to usher in the guests (except for my brother-in-law), and wore handmade bow ties made by one of my former students.

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What is more fun than some rubber masks? As a late-night surprise, to go with the arrival of the poutine bar, panda, giraffe, unicorn, owl and horse masks turned up on the dance floor. It was the weirdest, most magical dance party, as well as tying in some of the animal themed elements from the day and creating some great candid shots.