real life

A photographer refused to work at this wedding for the most appalling reason.

Urloved denied a request to photograph a gay couple.

A Californian wedding photography business called Urloved has responded to the request of a groom to photograph his impending wedding. As Jezabel reports, Urloved declined the request, charmingly replying that the couple were “not the best match” for the business.

“Fair enough!” you might say. “A wedding is a uniquely personal event and honesty from a company who would normally gobble up the chance at cash is a good thing”.

Except that it is not fair enough.

Because Urloved declined to fulfil this request because the groom’s fiancé is a man —  and the people running Urloved are bigots.

“We feel that photographing a gay wedding is not the best match for us, however we can refer you to a colleague who would make a great match,” the response read.

“Her name is [redacted]. You can find her work at [redacted]. Let her know urloved Photography sent you and she’ll take good care of you!”

“…behaviour like that of Urloved’s proprietors illustrates just how pervasive homophobia still is.”

Now this response it confusing.

After all, Urloved’s business is to take pictures of people getting married.

I would’ve thought that all one would need to make a client a good match was a desire to a) get married and b) spend some money on photos. I certainly wouldn’t have thought that a “great match” required prospective clients to have a penis and a vagina between them.

Despite the email’s best wishes and liberal peppering of exclamations marks, it is not just some innocuous rejection of a booking.

No, this is a prime example of casual homophobia. Everyday homophobia that doesn’t intend to be hurtful or offend and can sometimes even be well intentioned – but to an LGBT person, it still hurts.

You might think that something like this is relatively harmless. LGBT rights have, after all, come a long way in recent years. The march toward marriage equality is slowly becoming a reality in much of the west; people can openly serve in militaries, including in Australia’s since 1993; and Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, one of the world’s most powerful companies and most recognisable brands, came out publicly last week.

Despite these examples, behaviour like that of Urloved’s proprietors illustrates just how pervasive homophobia still is. Yes, this specific case happened in faraway California, but make no mistake, homophobia of its kind is faced on a daily basis by LGBT people all over Australia.

Matija. (Photo: supplied)
Matija. (Photo: supplied)
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When I first came out, I went through a period of being a “stereotypical” gay. I manscaped to oblivion, wore eyeliner and listened to Lady Gaga. I acted in a way that society’s stereotypes of gays expected of me. However, this wasn’t me and it felt like I was wearing a mask.

Fast-forward quite a few years and a whole lot of life experience and I’m a confident gay man, comfortable in my own skin. I don’t really fit into the gay stereotype anymore. At 6’2, with a beard, a roadbike and a penchant for plaid, I‘m more hipster than homo. I get hit on more by women than men, by a ratio of about 10:0.

The difference in how I’m treated is also astounding. No longer do people call me “faggot” or “poofter” when I’m walking down the street. The assumptions people make about my sexuality based on my heterosexual appearance protect me from abuse and make me more acceptable in society’s judgemental eyes.

I’m told by people I’ve just met that I “pass” as a straight man, as if that’s a gay man’s holy grail, and well-intentioned friends constantly suggest that I SIMPLY MUST MEET their gay friend because we’re both gay and therefore we’ll totally be well match.

Hurt is not intended, but hurt is felt.

The first example perpetuates the notion that being perceived as masculine and heterosexual is favourable to being perceived as effeminate and obviously homosexual. The second diminishes gay relationships to being based solely on sex.

Urloved’s rejection to photograph this loving couple’s wedding does not read like it was intended to be hurtful, and it probably wasn’t intended as such.

“It is hurtful because it implies that a homosexual relationship (and presumably any LGBTQ relationship) is not as legitimate as that of a heterosexual one and reduces a loving relationship to the mechanics of sex.”

But it is hurtful because it implies that a homosexual relationship (and presumably any LGBTQ relationship) is not as legitimate as that of a heterosexual one and reduces a loving relationship to the mechanics of sex.

The difference between casual homophobia and overt homophobia isn’t that large. They are two sides of the same coin and they are both harmful.

Casual homophobia is still homophobia, it’s just wrapped up in a nicer package.

Matija is a lawyer and writer from Melbourne.

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