Our wedding dresses were on fire, but that wasn't the most dangerous part #Features#fire dancing#gay#lesbian weddings#LGBTQ November 5 2018 | Guest post by April Jennifer Choi Photos by: Cukini Studios We featured this wedding last week on the blog, but their account of the aftermath of it going viral was not surprising but definitely disheartening. Read on for the full account… Photo by Cukini Studios at Studio Reserved Related Post The hottest wedding ever: a fire & performance themed wedding (where the brides burned their dresses!) The theme of our wedding was performance. We are professional performers and have lots of performing friends. We had many different performances from Burlesque, Fire,... Read more I just had my wedding two weeks ago on Oct 13th, 2018. It was a pretty standard, boring wedding thing, except for one dangerous thing. Both my wife and I are fire performers and I used to be a model and photographer. Because of that, I know a lot of photographers and many of them are still close friends of mine. We ended up with several wedding photographers, one of which we have shot with dozens of times. Together we worked on and got an amazing photo that could have resulted in major injury or death and still could if done again. As stated before, we are both professional fire performers. We have performed all around the world for our crafts, have been highlighted as the feature fire instructor at the largest fire festivals in the country, and admin the largest fire eating group on social media. Because of this, we have done multiple fire-related photo shoots. As a photographer, I’ve wanted to do a "trash the dress"-type shoot, and as a model, I’ve wanted to be in the dress. We’ve made this happen a number of times. My wife has done it multiple times, I’ve done it multiple times, and we’ve facilitated a fire-themed trash the dress many other times. We have or had over a dozen wedding dresses for these shoots, many of them donated to us. This type of shot is not new for us. So, for our wedding day, since we have so many fire performers as friends, we could easily do a dual trash the dress shoot for our wedding. The result is featured here. Obviously, do not try this yourself without professional assistance. Note: we are world renowned professionals. I’ve done fire promos for companies in many different countries and have world records in fire arts. Our wedding party had eight other performers fire performers and a certified pyrotechnician. More than 50 of our guests are fire performers. We had multiple fire extinguishers, specialized dresses, specialized protective clothing, six fire safeties, insurance, permits, medics, and more than 300 people ready to jump in to help. For us, this is not that far away from the norm. I used to eat and breath fire as a full-time profession. Come to find out, it was a dangerous photo, but not because of the fire. If you read the text above before seeing the photo, more often than not you read “my wife” and assumed I was the husband. From the photo, you can see that I am, in fact, another woman. This is what trips people up the most. Our wedding photo has spread around the world and of course, there have been many comments on it. I agreed to many sites and news sources to publish our photo and story because I was proud of the photo. In the U.S. it is, by far, more dangerous to be LGBT than it is to be a professional fire performer. I expected a lot of haters, but what I didn’t expect is what they commented against. I would assume that more people would be angry about the fire and at least one person concerned about our safety. I was wrong. Over 90% of the comments were attacking our intelligence and sanity with most of the remaining attacking us as a same-sex marriage. If I saw this photo third-person, I would first ask, “Are both the brides okay?” Not one of the thousands of comments I saw was concerned with our safety and many of the commentators attacked our orientation rather than discussed the fire itself. The point of this: I’m proud of this wedding photo. It’s a compilation of years of effort in fire performing, modeling, photography, and thousands of hours of effort in creating a wonderful relationship with the most amazing woman ever. I want people to know that despite the effort of the SAGA/LGBT Community and its allies, it seems more people are concerned about same-sex marriages than are concerned with someone on fire. For people to realize that civil rights for LGBT is still being fought for. Same-sex marriage was not officially sanctioned by the U.S. until 2015 (Obergefell v. Hodges by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution), which was just three years ago. Most importantly: Off the top of your head, how many deaths can you think of regarding LGBT people? Chances are, you’ll remember the 49 dead from the Orlando shooting just two years ago or the Matthew Shepard story. Now, how many deaths can you think of resulting from someone intentionally lighting themselves on fire for entertainment purposes? I could only think of one worldwide (Linda Farkas in Hungary), none in the U.S., and I know thousands of people who do this. I tried and could not find a single death of a fire performer or a fire stunt-person in the U.S. There have been deaths from accidental fires in film, TV, and performances, but only one incident from an intentional, professional, fire stunt. To the best of my knowledge, I found only one professional fire performance related incident (four Musical Performers dead from pyrotechnics indoors) in the U.S. In 2016, 49 people were killed in a single anti-LGBT hate crime. Yet, in 2017, LGBT deaths in the U.S. almost doubled. On average there are more than 1,500 hate crimes against LGBT and over 50 murders of LGBT per year in the U.S. Personally, I have seen directed at us and received multiple threats of violence and death from people, people wishing me to die, people thanking god we already started burning before going to hell… In the U.S. it is, by far, more dangerous to be LGBT than it is to be a professional fire performer. Given the 500+ LGBT deaths vs. 0 (zero) fire performers deaths or 4+ professional fire-related deaths of performers in the last decade, there are over 100 times more LGBT deaths in that time frame than performer deaths associated with professional fire stunts. Personally, I have seen directed at us and received multiple threats of violence and death from people, people wishing me to die, people thanking god we already started burning before going to hell, men telling me I needed to be raped before my wedding so I would have picked a husband instead, many other hateful comments and messages regarding this photo, and can only assume there are many more I haven’t seen or will still receive. So, there was indeed danger from creating this photo, but not from what you would think. I’m a marketed performer signed with an international talent agency. My name, image, and contact information is already out there. When this story went viral worldwide, I was also publicly exposed as being a lesbian (despite actually being bisexual). Given the comments and threats toward me and my wife, I discovered something through this experience: I am far more likely to be killed because of marrying another woman than I was from being set on fire. Let that sink in. Reprinted from this Facebook post with permission from the author. Thanks for letting us share it! 5 best quotes from the marriage equality decision to use in your ceremony While we still have so far to go and so many potential obstacles in our path, I wanted to call out some ways to include the recent advances from Obergefell… Read More Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Guest post written by April Jennifer Choi April has studied dance, flow, fire, and movement arts since she was a young child. Inspired by martial arts, dancers, and magicians, she lives her life as a never ending quest to become a stronger, better version of herself. https://aprilfires.com/ PREVIOUS It poured at this rainy Iceland wedding and we wouldn't want it any other way NEXT You'll need to fan yourself from the pink suit & striped dress at this romantic brunch wedding Show/Hide comments [ 5 ] This was beautiful and terrifying and all I want to do is envelop you in a big hug. I'm disgusted and shocked, but not really surprised. And that's terrifying. I am so, so sorry you have experienced this. How can I help? As an ally and fierce lover of love, I'm here. Reply We need to teach our boys about boundaries and consent, that they're not owed a woman, and that sex is a privilege, not a right. I'm sure a lot of the hate came from other women, but it's all rooted in toxic masculinity. That's just my take, though. And well done, your wedding was beautiful 🙂 Reply Thats what i call a dangerous love… Reply Sending love and happiness your way ? Reply What a sobering but necessary point. I don't think I'll ever forget this. (And it reminds me to be cautious with my info when I maje a love post.) I wish you and your wife many happy years of fire art and love. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Sign me up for your offbeat awesomeness newsletter! No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. Biz owners & wedding bloggers Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. 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