We got this wedding advice question from someone asking how to handle transphobic family or intolerant wedding guests, helping her transgender and lesbian bridesmaids feel safer:
I am engaged, and my bridesmaids are a transgender woman and her wife. What is a tactful (to them!) way of letting guests know that if they are against lgbtq+ then not to come? I want to let people know ahead of time that if they arent happy with this set up, that they are not invited.-Emily
This is my friend's first opportunity to attend a wedding in a dress: she had to wear a suit and use her deadname at her own wedding. I want to make this a special, safe place for her, so any advice would be appreciated, thank you🙂
We've talked about homophobic family and wedding guests many times on Offbeat Bride, including this post full of advice about how to deal with homophobic wedding guests, and then this post about how a lesbian couple addressed the issue of religious guests who might have a problem attending their gay wedding. But this is a slightly different issue.
First: If you know you have transphobic family, consider just not inviting them
This is of course the first line of defense to keep your bridesmaids safe. If you know you have a hateful auntie or an uncle prone to intolerant views, you can just not inviting them. You get to choose who you want celebrating with you on your wedding day, and you get to choose not to invite transphobic family members.
That said, maybe it's not that you KNOW you've got transphobic family or friends… you're just not sure, and want to cultivate creating a safe space at your wedding. That's cool, but let's make sure your bridesmaids are on board.
Second: talk to your bridesmaids about the issue
Before you proceed with saying anything to your guests, ask your bridesmaids if they feel comfortable with you addressing the issue. If your goal is respecting your bridesmaids, then you need to put their wishes before yours — and that includes their wishes for privacy and discretion over your desire to be a good ally. The last thing you want to do is make them feel awkward, in your efforts to make them feel safe!
If they're comfortable with you saying something, then we've got some ideas for you…
Here's the mic-drop way to deal with transphobic family at your wedding
We tossed Emily's question out to our followers on Facebook, and while we got a bunch of great answers (more about those later!) this one is truly the mic-drop way to keep transphobic family and intolerant wedding guests away from your wedding. This was from our follower Max Gibbons:
I was invited to a wedding recently that had a line at the bottom of the invite that said:
To help keep all guests and family members safe, we are asking you do not attend if you are showing symptoms of homophobia, racism, transphobia, or Covid 19
I mean, does it get much clearer than that!? Oh and look, there's even a sign you can buy:
That said, here are some other wording for how to deal with transphobic family or intolerant guests at your wedding:
- If you have a wedding website, you can introduce your wedding party. Ask your bridesmaids to write their own intros, which will give them the choice about how they want to identify, and whether they wish to disclose their connection to each other.
- Add this to your invitations: “On this day of celebration, we would like to remind our guests that love is love in all its forms. If you disagree with these sentiments, we respectfully ask that you do one of two things; respectfully decline to attend, or be respectful to those attending our celebration of love. Your respect is appreciated and your love is reciprocated.”
- Or add wording like this to your wedding programs: “We stand beside the people we've chosen to stand by us our sides on this day. Your respect for our community reflects your respect for us.”