Getting Married Before My Gay Best Friend

First Gay Wedding Show In Paris

I can’t count the times I’ve grappled with the idea of getting married before it’s legal for my best friend Travis and his partner. I argued with myself for hours about it before I was engaged, and now it’s here: I’m marrying my best friend before Travis gets to marry his.

Travis and his partner have been together for longer than me and Ben. They own a house! (I sort of think owning a house is a bigger commitment than marriage, but don’t tell Ben I said that.) They’ve seen job changes, school registrations, and family hardships together, but they can’t get married.

We can, and it’s not fair. 

The fact is, I’m so excited to proclaim my love and commitment to Ben, but I’m still very uncomfortable with the government sanctioning relationships. Even my own. There are polyamorous relationships that are just as significant as mine, homosexual relationships, and any other iteration you can think of–they’re all valid.

Why does ours receive special privileges? 

It shouldn’t. It sucks, and I’m going to write about this topic more extensively, but tonight I just need to tell you all that it isn’t fair, and I want to ask you to donate some of your hard-earned money to help fight for marriage equality in Utah. Here’s a suggestion from one of my favorite people, a great friend, and a plaintiff in the Kitchen v Herbert case:

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You heard the man, go donate! 

Weekly Feminist Happenings August 26th-September 1st

utah now

Tuesday, August 26th

Women’s Equality Day Picnic: Join Utah NOW for some FREE food and feminism to celebrate the the 94th anniversary of women’s suffrage. Details: From 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Sugarhouse Park in the Sugarbeet Pavilion.

Navigating New Literacies: In the spring of 2014, Granger High art students collaborated to create a 29-panel contemporary painting reflecting their impressions of how literacy in different fields of study is supported and at the same time challenged by new technologies and popular culture. Details: From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center (1355 W. 3100 South, West Valley City). The exhibit will run July 8-Aug. 27, 2014. There will be an opening reception, July 10, 6-8 p.m.

Eva Schloss: The Chabad Jewish Center of Park City will host an evening with Eva Schloss, the step sister and childhood friend of Anne Frank. Schloss discusses Holocaust education in schools, universities, prisons and public meetings, and she is the co-founded the Anne Frank Educational Trust in the United Kingdom. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at Montage Deer Valley (9100 Marsac Ave., Park City). Visit here for information.

Wednesday, August 27th

“Moksha: Photography by Fazal Sheikh:” The exhibit weaves the artist-activist’s portraits and the stories of a community of widows in the Hindu pilgrimage site of Vrindavan. A marginalized segment of Hindu society since ancient times, widows have few places of sanctuary. In Vrindavan, a city holy to the Hindu god Krishna, these women chant and pray every day in the hopes of obtaining moksha, release from the constant cycle of death and rebirth. Details: The exhibit runs July 11–Nov. 30, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City). Visit the UMFA for information.

Saturday, August 30th

Hedwig and the Angry Inch: The Tower’s summer late-night series concludes with the 2001 rock musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” starring John Cameron Mitchell (who directed and adapted his off-Broadway play) as a transsexual East German rock diva. Live pre-show starts at 11:30 p.m.; movie starts at midnight. Details: Starts at 11:30 p.m. at the Tower Theatre (876 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City).

Weekly Feminist Happenings August 19th-25th


Thursday, August 21st

Film screening of  Growing Up Green: Make sure to include us in your back to school plans! Bring your family for a screening of “Growing Up Green,” a film about incorporating environmental education into school systems. We will also hear from Recycle Utah’s educators about incorporating more environmentally-conscious behaviors into our individual lives and homes. Details: From 7-8:30 at Swaner Eco Center (1258 Center Drive, Park City). Space is limited; please register to ensure your spot: email or call (435) 649-1767.

Film screening of The New Black: The documentary “The New Black,” which looks at how the African-American community handles the campaign to legalize gay marriage – looking at homophobia in African-American churches, and how the Christian Right exploits that for its own agenda. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at Brewvies Cinema & Pub (677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City). 

Film screening of Alive Inside: The documentary “Alive Inside,” which follows a social worker who works to help nursing-home residents with dementia by playing them music of their youth. Presented by the Utah Film Center. Details: Starts at 7p.m. at  Star Hall (58 E. 300 South, Moab).

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Our Big Fat Feminist Wedding

feminist wedding

It’s totally reasonable to start this series of posts off the way any rom-com would start: How we met.

Bentley and I met in 2009 while training at Absolute MMA, a mixed martial arts gym in West Jordan. He overheard me tell an incredibly lewd joke, and knew he wanted to get to know the “innocent looking lady with a mouth like that.” It’s not exactly a “traditional” first encounter, and my mother would make me eat soap if she only knew the things I said to catch his attention. Bentley messaged me on Facebook (how very millennial) and we scheduled a date.

He stood me up for the first date, but I wasn’t too concerned, and agreed to go out for ice cream and a walk in the park a week later.

Our relationship blossomed during hours of intense punching, kicking, choking, and interval training. We casually dated for about one year before deciding on monogamy. After a few months in a committed relationship, we moved in together, because I was dealing with a super shitty living situation.

Here we are almost five years later, and we just got engaged.

He didn’t propose with a ring. He didn’t get on a bended knee. He didn’t ask anyone for permission.

He didn’t do any of those things because my feminist ideology (and his) has always made our coupling look and feel a bit different. This series of posts is going to discuss the process of entering into the institution of marriage. It’s going to cover how we navigate super archaic traditions (white dresses, “giving away” the bride, etc.). It’s going to be contradictory, and full of pleas for help. It’s an honest peek into us getting married, because one day you might wake up and find yourself (your body-posi-sex-posi-bell-hooks-loving-self) looking one of the most heteronormative and patriarchal institutions in the face, and maybe these posts can help.

Welcome to our big fat feminist wedding.


Weekly Feminist Happenings August 5th-11th


Tuesday, August 5th

Film screening of The Newburgh Sting: The documentary looks at the case of the “Newburgh Four,” and the FBI’s role in targeting Muslim communities in poor neighborhoods and luring believers into committing acts of terrorism. After the screening, directors David Heilbroner and Kate Davis will take part in a discussion moderated by KUER’s Doug Fabrizio. Part of the “Through the Lens” series, presented by KUER and the Utah Film Center. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Library (210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City). 

Wednesday, August 6th

“Moksha: Photography by Fazal Sheikh:” This exhibhit weaves the artist-activist’s portraits and the stories of a community of widows in the Hindu pilgrimage site of Vrindavan. A marginalized segment of Hindu society since ancient times, widows have few places of sanctuary. In Vrindavan, a city holy to the Hindu god Krishna, these women chant and pray every day in the hopes of obtaining moksha, release from the constant cycle of death and rebirth. Details: The exhibit runs July 11–Nov. 30, 2014. Visit the UMFA website for more information.

The documentary Forward 13: Waking Up the American Dream: Filmmaker Patrick Lovell’s personal take on the millions who lost their homes to foreclosure as a result of the global financial crash of 2008. Details: Starts at 7 p.m. at the Broadway Centre Theater (111 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City). 

Friday, August 8th

Annual Friendly Island Festival: The National Tongan American Society will present the 17th Annual Friendly Island Festival, a two-day celebration of the music, arts and culture of the Tongan islands. Details: Aug. 8-9, 2014. Visit here for information or call 801-467-8712 or email

Saturday, August 9th

Yard Sale to Fight Ovarian Cancer: Come and help support the fight against ovarian cancer with this yard sale. All proceeds go to “Run for her Life: Run for Ovarian Cancer,” which is put on by The Ovarian Cancer Education, Awareness and Research Fund supported by the University of Utah School of Medicine. Details: From 7am-9pm (Andrea Southwick, 1595 S. Milton Ave., Salt Lake City). Visit here for more information.

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