What do you wear to your wedding when you're transgender and love drag?

June 8 | Guest post by TT Jax
Trans drag queens with whip, guns, and a bale of hay. Taken by a very unamused studio photographer aboard a Carnival cruise ship.

When we came up with our wedding budget, we first made a list of everything we desired: a live band to play Gogol Bordello songs, a stage for puppetry and drag performances, life-sized paintings of us as angels with halos of spray painted cheddar bunnies, and a cauldron. From there we ranked priorities and outlined necessities.

This is how we came up with a budget that doesn't include food, with more than a third reserved exclusively for fabulous outfits. That should say something about our priorities. (The artwork and performances are actually equally as important, but we can make them ourselves virtually for free, using dumpstered materials and supplies we've got on hand.)

This isn't entirely just vanity. Our wedding is an all-day affair, carnival-style, ending in a sunset ceremony with a late night afterparty reception. We decided that this required at least three changes of clothes.

Further, we have a little gender problem…

My partner and I are both trans. Liam has been on hormone replacement therapy longer than I have (and actually, I quit), so he passes for male with less ambiguity than I do. Frankly, depending on where we are, we can be read as anything from two dykes, two gay men, the unfortunate but strangely happy-seeming pairing of a very gay man with a very butch dyke, and, to wishful thinkers, a very bizarre straight couple. To put it mildly, this results in lots of interesting outcomes, not least of which is conflict between us.

To push things further, as I usually tend to do, I LOVE to dress in drag. LOVE LOVE LOVE to dress in drag. This, plus the fact that men's formal apparel can be so unremittingly dull, equals one hell of a desire to strut my stuff in something unspeakably femme and fabulous on our wedding day.

Initially, we'd decided to have three ceremonies: the first would be the anti-wedding, in which we mocked, parodied, besmirched, and Dada'ed the institution of marriage. We envisioned it as sort of an impromptu performance art happening, complete with people popping out of trashcans, roller skates, zombies, and puppets. We both intended to wear drag for that one, and I planned to end the ceremony by smacking Liam on the ass and proclaiming, this ass is MINE! Then we'd have a pagan wedding naked in the woods, and then we'd have a wedding we invited our family to, cause by then we wouldn't care if they fucked it up.

Finances have now dictated that we're having a clothed pagan wedding in the woods with puppets and zombies and crazy performances, but I'll be damned if I'll be cheated of my opportunity to wear some truly outlandish drag.

Considering that many family members on both sides aren't real versed in gender-related issues (conflating, for example, a desire to wear a skirt with the identity of female), Liam and I are being very careful to not tip the gender scales so that either of us feel overtly feminized. (Another way of putting that is, neither of us want to get "she'd," and we'll be damned if anyone decides that Liam is "the groom" and I'm "the bride.") Initially, we were both going to wear robes, which are pagan, gender-neutral, and were going to be custom designed to not be fucking boring, but then we couldn't afford them.

So we've come up with this crazy idea: we'll be comfortable and confident in whatever throughout the pre-ceremony reception, get married in equally butch attire, and then we've planned what we're calling the moment of weirdness: to the tune of Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Liam (in red long johns, boots, a holster belt, and hat), my sister (in male drag), her husband (in female drag), our officiant (in god-knows-what, something amazing), and me (in pettiskirt and garters and two bustles and an LED boa tail and thighhigh leg warmers and gold wings) will dramatically take the stage — complete with lightshow, desert backdrop, Christmas cactus, oversized sardine can, bird's nest, and trash can props — and, basically, dance around foolishly. But fabulously.

Afterwards we plan to don our "just married" fuschia and turquoise duct tape tiaras. We hope to have scared off all the more conservative relatives by then, so that the queer reception can really take off.

  1. Oh. My. GOD! As someone who truly wishes she was correctly equipped to be a drag queen (It's a bit confusing to be a girl wishing she could be a man dressed up as ultra-woman) I would quickly sell my metaphorical left testicle to have a wedding like that! No offense to my offbeat lite garden wedding to-be, but holy hell what I wouldn't give to have that. If my man of honor/ gay husband and I were to have ever actually gotten married, I suspect it would have looked a bit like that.

    30 agree
  2. Wow, this is exactly what I needed to read today, thank you. After three months of planning I finally had a whole gender freak out this morning. It's really helpful to see that I'm not the only person with a complicated gender identity/expression planning a wedding. Thanks again for posting this.

    6 agree
  3. Genderfuckery FTW! You guys make my suit wearing genderqueer self look tame in comparison – and I love it. Rock on.

    11 agree
  4. You. Are. Made of. AWESOMESAUCE!! Hooray for individuality, genderfuckery and having an awesome celebratory lovedancefeast!

    9 agree
  5. Ummm… sounds AMAZING! Please post photos somewhere.

    10 agree
  6. Holy crap, can I be y'all when I grow up?!?!?! I'm non-trans-female, and I STILL wanna be you guys! AWESOME!!!!

    6 agree
  7. Ohhhhhh my. This sounds absolutely wonderful! Can I come???

    2 agree
  8. One third…of your budget…on clothes? Mon dieu! *faints*

    6 agree
  9. This is absolutely disgraceful.
    You should not tease a person with the promise of spray painted cheddar bunny haloes and then not deliver.
    I am now going to search Etsy for pettiskirts and lust after cheese.

    20 agree
  10. LOVE IT. I wanna be a rollerskating zombie at your wedding!

    1 agrees
  11. Love this whole article and hope we see the affair as a featured wedding in the future!

    5 agree
  12. as a genderqueer femme marrying a trans nancyboy in front of family who really wants me to be the bride, i salute you in solidarity.

    (i knowww i "should" be bowing to social pressure and go butch to try to get them to use the right pronouns, but DAMN IT I WANT TO WEAR A PRINCESS DRESS.)

    6 agree
    • You "shouldn't" be doing anything but what you want to do! Insist on the right pronouns AND wear a princess dress!

      (Tangentially, I love the word nancyboy used as a positive descriptor. I blame Placebo, maybe? IDK.)

      6 agree
      • yeah, they fail at pronouns most of the time, but at least they get my name right.

        i was spelling the partner's email address to someone and i said "n, b…" and they interrupted with "n as in nancy, b as in boy?" "… yes, absolute yes." it's stuck since then.

        5 agree
    • I'm going through something similar in my own wedding planning. I don't want to have to compromise what I want (to wear a dress) for the sake of having my gender "read" correctly. Additionally, I'm not out to everyone on the invite list, and I don't want to have a private coming-out discussion with every one of them. Unfortunately, I know of no other way to ensure that nobody misreads me.

      1 agrees
      • i think i'm out to everyone, myself, but just in case, we're doing a wedding website spelling-out-of-identities.

        1 agrees
      • Maybe you could include something in a wedding program of sorts?

        0 agree
      • Sorry for the lag in response– LOL, the really damn long lag in response– I've been busting my ass working on a book I'm (hopefully?) writing.

        Thank you very much to everyone who responded. We live in a very isolated, anti-queer area, and it was extremely encouraging and warming to read these comments. Most people we know are not real thrilled about our wedding plans, but I imagine that is a very familiar story. I wish y'all could be there!

        M_K, that is a really tough place to be. I remember very well what it was like when I wasn't out to everyone, and how much that inhibited my creativity and self-expression.

        I was thinking about it, and I have this much to offer– I live in a very conservative, small-ass, rural place where it's not always safe for my partner and I to be who and how we are. Consequently I have an unofficial policy of letting people guess for themselves what they read me as, and going with it for as long as needed to get somewhere more comfortable and safe. Sometimes, this means that I'm sort of in pronoun soup, with lots of people referring to me, even to each other in a conversation about me, with different pronouns.

        People have an amazing capacity to ignore what makes them uncomfortable. I think sometimes they just sort of decide that whoever is calling me by the "wrong" pronoun, per their assumption, is crazy and should be embarrassed– and they're usually too polite to say that outright to anyone.

        This is the gender slide– letting them figure it out and be uncomfortable with it on their own. Maybe just have the intentional conversations with the ones who really matter, and let everyone else deal with their own shit?

        Also, we are specifically enlisting a couple of like-minded people to politely and clearly provide pronoun reminders and field the awkward gender questions. We've got someone queer to do this and someone straight, so that it doesn't turn into the straight vs queer social freeze-out that so frequently characterizes our kids bday parties.

        I know all of this takes a lot of center and support to pull off, and I know that the trans community itself can be a real dearth of said support. If you or anyone fielding similar issues want to enlist me as part of that support, I'm up for that (albeit, most likely, slow to respond). mrttjax@gmail.com

        3 agree
  13. Can I come to your wedding? It sounds mindblowingly AWESOME!

    0 agree
  14. I. Adore. This post. And the whole wedding idea, and the wonderful gender discussions coming out of it.

    I hope you two have a fabulous day and are wonderfully happy both on the day and in the future. You sound like an awesome pair.

    1 agrees
  15. Can I come? This sounds like one of the most gloriously personal, REAL weddings I've ever heard of. I'll echo a few others and beg for photos!

    1 agrees
    • I want to come too! I'll even fly over from Australia! :D

      0 agree
  16. LOVE this. And aren't weddings really the perfect dragshow opportunity? Btw, YOU don't have a gender problem, society does.

    9 agree
  17. I must admit, at the mere mention of Gogol Bordello songs, I was sold :D :D I TOTALLY GOT TO SHAKE EUGENE HUTZ'S HAND WHEN THEY CAME AND PLAYED IN DALLAS!!!!

    0 agree
  18. Holy shitballs. You had me at LED boa. :)

    Actually, you had me way before that (after I figured it out, had to reread it a few times because I'm kind of dumb like that), but LED boa really made me plotz!

    This sounds incredible. Go, run with it, and be happy with your partner doing the things YOU LOVE!! :)

    1 agrees
  19. This MADE my day, my week, my life. I want to know you and help you make your duct-tape tiaras.

    1 agrees
  20. Yeah, so pretty much every wedding I go to now is going to put me to sleep. Y'all's wedding is going to be awesome!

    0 agree
  21. Ariel please tell us you plan to feature this wedding on OBB! I can't wait to see the pictures and hear the final details!

    1 agrees
  22. Ummmm…this sounds Totally AWESOME!!! I love that you're making sure to be yourselves on your wedding day! I can't wait to see your wedding profile :D

    0 agree
  23. 1) This is fucking awesome.
    2) Holy shitballs I wanna be at your wedding.
    3) Holy shitballs this is fucking awesome.

    2 agree
  24. Ariel, are you listening? This had BETTER be a featured wedding! This sounds FANTASTIC! <3

    0 agree
  25. I can't even begin the phrase just how awesome your wedding is going to be.
    Seriously, can I come? I'll bring cupcakes :-)

    0 agree
  26. OH THE JOYS of being queer in Bumfuck, Ga. ( I am with you on the issues of that…I also live in Bumfuck, GA). That being said, wear WHATEVER you want. Its clear you are going to rock it no mater what. So just OWN it. Don't apologize. And love every minute of it.

    0 agree
  27. This is one of the greatest articles I have ever read on OBB, and I've read all of them. Probably twice.

    I hope you have an AMAZING wedding. I would give large amounts of money to be at your wedding, just to experience the joy and fabulousness that I am sure will surround you that day.

    1 agrees

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