Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Book Review: Here Come the Brides! Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage

"We owe much to the queer activists that came before us, who have given us the gifts of hope and idealism." Caroline Gambell "A Girl Can Dream"
"We don't know exactly what life will be like when there is equality for all, but we know that the water will taste sweeter in a world that embraces the full personhood and full humanity of all people." Helen Zia "Where the Queer Zone Meets the Asian Zone"
The joy is palpable in the new anthology from Seal Press, Here Come the Brides! Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage. There was hope and sadness and joy and frustration, all displayed brilliantly throughout the 400 plus page tome. Many of the essays touched on Proposition 8 in California, which passed, thereby defining marriage between a man and a woman in 2008. Davina Kotulski and her wife, Molly, go through several weddings in their time together, including one in September 2008, just before Prop 8 passed, which she describes in her essay, "Diary of a Love Warrior". She concludes her piece;

"Someday the world will understand...that love is love, no matter the gender of those in the couple. Love between two women or two men is as dignified and holy as the love between a man and a woman, and worthy of the same legal, spiritual, and community blessings. Marriage should be not just for some, but for everyone."

Most of the writers agreed with that sentiment, even if some had been divorced, broke up or didn't believe in the idea of marriage at all. Marriage is a very complicated and divisive issue, even more so in the LGBTIQA community. Some do not want to join an institution that is discriminatory and steeped in sexist traditions and origins, while others enjoy the idea of a wedding celebrating their commitments to their partners (and in this book in particular, their wives), displaying their love to their communities and families.

There is so many beautiful quotes and passages from the anthology, I wish I could quote them all here. Normally, with anthologies, there is always a dud or two within the book, but this collection is dud-free. Each essay, or poem, or play (one of the most beautiful pieces, bar none) is thoughtfully crafted and seamlessly fits with the other writing.

This collection accomplishes many things at once; making the reader reach for a tissue or their loved one(s), inciting protest at the appalling treatment gay American citizens go through on a daily basis and thoughtfully criticizing and de-constructing marriage as a whole. A wonderful read that is highly recommended for any bookshelf.

(Photo credit: Seal Press/I received a review copy of this book, but all opinions are my own.)

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