I’m speaking out against hate, disrespect, and social separation
2020 has been a ROLLERCOASTER right? Honestly, I’m not doing 2021 until I see the fine print because I feel like 2020 has taken something from me. LOL! However, over the past few weeks I have seen some things that have really made me think about how I want my business to operate, but one is specific stood out. I questioned whether I should write about this and what consequences may come of it. I also thought that not saying anything may be the best thing to do at the risk loosing potential clients. I came to the realization that there is also a price to be paid in doing and saying nothing- there’s actually a cost to inaction which is knowing you could have spoken out but you didn’t. So here it is- real talk.
From the beginning I wanted my business to be four things:
- Ethically and Socially Responsible
- Visually Captivating
- Simple Yet Significant
Now I am not one to get political on you, but what I’ve seen over the past couple weeks is not a political issue- it’s a social and moral issue. Regardless of what side of the aisle you sit, there is one thing that I want to speak out on. I am in the business of capturing love on a couple’s special day and I’m also a gay male so this one hit a little hard.
The recent talk and possibility of reversing gay marriage.
Yes, I am a gay male but I don’t believe that matters here. The idea that gender, race, or whatever you want to use can define, change, or somehow distinguish love is absolutely ludicrous. To be clear, I’m not saying ‘I believe it’s ridiculous’. I’m stating that it IS ludicrous. Supporters of this can use any rhetoric that makes this sound less egregious, but the reality is that this is saying “we believe that we are being too equal”. Now there are some people that use the “just call it a domestic partnership” loophole. To me; that says ‘you can sit in that chair but you can’t sit in this chair’. Equal means equal, the same means the same, and similar does not mean equal or the same.
By now I’m sure some of you are feeling a little uncomfortable right? These types of conversations can be uncomfortable and difficult because it forces you to look at yourself and your own morals right? I get it. I have a blog post about my white privilege that was very eye opening for me just to write about. It forced me to unpack things that I had never thought about simply because I never had to think about it. However, I a firm believer that the most uncomfortable conversations are usually the most important.
I have worked, almost exclusively, with couples- white couples, black couples, Hispanic couples, interracial couples, gay couples, straight couples. You name it and I have photographed it. Not that I needed the confirmation on this because I didn’t believe there was a difference regardless, however I want to make it known that I see no difference in the love or commitment between the couples that I have worked with. It’s all strands of the same thread- it’s the same stuff. Once again, we are having to say that those who believe there are differences in love are wrong.
During the time of the civil rights movement when African Americans were forced to use a separate bathroom it was never about the bathroom right? It was about segregation and hate. It was never about the bathrooms, just as it’s not about the gender of the two people here.
To those reading who do believe that one person’s love or marriage is lesser than others; I’m speaking directly to you here:
You are dead wrong. You were wrong before and you are wrong now.
No excuse, no copout, no room for debate or interpretation. You are free to have an opinion and entitled to your opinion… that is true. It’s true that you are entitled to your wrong opinion.
Here is where I have arrived…
I am taking a vocally firm stance on this, putting potential income at risk by saying these types of things on a business platform, and make no apologies for it. Will I loose out on a potential clients for being vocal about it? Probably. However, I don’t believe that we should put morals aside and stay silent simply for financially gain. If there’s one thing that I refuse to do in my business; it’s not speak out on social issues that I feel need to be spoken about. I believe that if you have the opportunity to do good in the world or speak out against something that is simply not right; you have the obligation to do so.
Myself, my team, the vendors I work with, the wedding planners I work with, etc. reject the idea of difference in love between our couples. We welcome any couple regardless of color, gender, orientation, disability, and everything in-between. Love doesn’t discriminate, it’s not selective, and it’s all strands of the same thread- it’s the same stuff. Your marriage and love is special, it’s genuine, and it’s not less than.
-Unapologetically, Skyler Vanderhoof