Black Gay Weddings w/ Lawrence & Michael Broughton
PRIDE
PRIDE

Episode · 1 year ago

Black Gay Weddings w/ Lawrence & Michael Broughton

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

When you were little, you probably pictured what your wedding day would look like. So when the day finally arrives to plan your big day, it’s a big deal. If a large celebration is your thing, then you’ll probably look for vendors and color schemes and outfits. This is exactly what Lawrence and Michael went to do, but it wasn’t as magical as they had dreamed. When they went on Pinterest for wedding inspiration, they couldn’t find a single photo of a couple that looked like them. They’re Black and gay and Pinterest boards today don’t have very much representation at all. But luckily, there’s a new wedding platform where minorities can find nothing but representation and love. 

Be sure to check out BlackGayWeddings.com and follow their Youtube! Your host is Levi Chambers, co-founder of Gayety. Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @Pride. Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com. Your producers are Levi Chambers, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson and Edited by Sebastian Alcala Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com. *This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Straw media. When you were little, you probably pictured what your wedding day would look like, from what flavor cake you'll serve to what color the flower decorations would be. Or maybe you just thought about who would end up at the end of the aisle, like the classmate that's at next to in kindergarten and let you share their crayons. So when the time finally comes to plan your big day, it's a huge deal. If a large celebration is your thing, then you'll probably look for vendors and color schemes and outfits. This is exactly what Lawrence and Michael went to do, but it wasn't as magical as they had dreamed. When they went on Pinterest for wedding inspiration, they couldn't find a single photo of a couple that looked like them. They're black and gay and Pinter sports today don't have very much representation at all, but luckily there's a new wedding platform where minorities can find nothing but representation and love. I'm leavy chambers, and this is pride. Michael Brian and Lawrence Broughton Co founded black gay weddings and if the title doesn't give away what they do. We'll get into that in a second. First let's meet the couple. Well, hello, I am Michael Broaden, his husband, and I am Laurence Brodson, his husband. Michael and Laurence have been partners for fifteen years, life partner or teen years. Yeah, fifteen years married for for laurence grew up in Atlanta and before the couple found each other and started their company, he served in the US military for twenty four years, currently ward for the fildmit in the Department of Homeland Security. So I'm guessing then you have like great security clearance. It's okay, you know I couldn't, but I can't skip the line of TSA when we go to when we go in flight to any place like that. I can't abuse an end of authority. Unfortunately, he doesn't get to skip security lines and just walk onto an airplane like he owns the place. Well, at least not yet. But Laurence still has a lot of power and influence, especially in the black community. Michael and Lawrence Co founded black gay weddings, an online community where lgbtqia plus couples of color are able to share the most special moments of their lives with the world, and it all started with their special day. Black Gay weddings came to be after we got married in two thousand and seventeen. He swears I don't, can't remember the day we got married, but we got married October fourteen, two thousand and seventeen, and we had this amazing wedding in Las Vegas. We had a wonderful planner, had a great team of people that help to make our day amazing. But in order to create this fabulous wedding team, Michael Lawrence had to check in with each fender and ask if they were okay working with a black gay couple, and that kind of made us likeable. Every time, you know, we went to actually talk to a talk to a bender. That was a yeah, it was unsettling to have to actually pre qualify. You know that, you know we're too gay black men getting ready to get married and are you okay with it? Are you okay with taking our money? They basically had to ask every person involved in their special day if it was okay for them to be gay, and unfortunately, it's not a surprise that some people said no, especially with how little representation black gay men are given in the media as we were planning, as most people do, even had oosexual couples. You you look to Pinterest,...

...you look to all kinds of other publications and magazine, wedding magazines, for inspiration, to get ideas for what you might want to do for your day. And one of the things that we noticed that was consistent throughout, even just not just wedding magazines, but lgbtq publications that feature waitings, was that we didn't really get to see a lot of minorities, black, Brown people, Latinos, we just didn't see it. I mean every once in a while you might see a pop up or you know, someone might have they have featured a black couple or a Latino couple or in a racial couple. So we were like, well, why is that? Michael and Lawrence knew this issue affected more than just them. All of the major bridal outlets favored white couples and rarely included any other race or culture in their content. We literally, you know, went through pages upon pages of websites just trying to figure out, well, why, why are we not represented? I mean we are getting married, you know, and we know that other people getting married. So what? What was the wealth of problems. The answers to those questions aren't easy to find. There's still so much work to be done in order to obtain equal representation of all races and backgrounds in the media. The couple knew this and one night Lawrence had an idea. More spoke that one day and he said, well, why don't we find the remedy to this work? Can we do? And I was like, I don't know, you know, I don't know. We we're not the answer. At that time I didn't think we work. And so he said, well, why not create? He just look about a bail one mornings like we should create something like that, gate waitings, and I want black awaitings. At first, Michael was weary of the concept. If media outlets wouldn't even include black people in their content, why would they pay attention to a business called black gay weddings? Because we want to be bold and want to make a statement, and you know that's going to make people want to look even further and be like okay, well, what does a black gay wedding look like? And I was like, okay, I guess that could work, and so they started. They posted their wedding photos for everyone to see and then began to search and share other people's photos onto their account and then it just kind of caught on and then it became a whole thing and here we are, you know, I don't know how many years later, through too three years later, here we are with, you know, like a whole blog, whole publication, and we have tons of inclusive wedding professionals that have joined our directory and become a part and the couples and people in generals just love it because they say that they comes to this page and they get so inspired, the one that get to see themselves. For those outside of the LGBTQ PS community who haven't been exposed to queer culture, if you ask them to picture what a gay man looks like, they probably will think of some stereotypical gay best friend, a white man who cares about his hygiene and has great style. But, as you know, being gay can look a lot of different ways. Work on decision guide. It misses, you know. So I'm not afraid of danger. So I'm not. You know some you know person that you is. Oh well, he's a fruitcake. That's not me, not my personality in US and for a lot of the people that we show pase on black anybodd it's that's not who they are. So you can't just put everybody in the land bats. You can say hey, you're all gay and you're all off like you would pace might be, because that's not the case. It's no surprise that even in two thousand and twenty one, there's still a lot of fear when it comes to coming out as gay or part of the Lgbtq community in any way, and in the black community it can be even more overwhelming. They struggle with extreme stereotypes and the pressure to...

...be the ideal muscular black man that everyone expects them to be. Laurence said he felt pressure to stay in the closet, especially while he was deployed. I've had my share of closeted life because of the fact that there was no gays allowed, then there was don't at stone tell and there was just a whole mess of mess going on in the military, basically allowing us to express ourselves. I mean I've gone on three deployments, three wars and the last feline, I actually had to, you know, talk on the phone with my my then fiance and cryptic language. Yo, what up the how's it going? was hanging it? What's what's happening at the house? Yeah, just trying again what you said, you know, for traying that that masculine, you know, over to top, Mucho much with it and having to deploy. I'll tell you. I actually had to hang out with the guys, you know, on the on the way over to Afghanistan, we went to a few strip clubs and we are they bought me lap dances and yeah, I'm like yeah, and I'm like inside I'm like, what the Hell am I doing? He was living a lie every day and it was exhausting, as you might expect. But what was his other option? He was surrounded by a don't ask, don't tell culture. This meant that as long as he didn't live openly queer, he could continue to serve his country, but if they discovered that he loved a man, he could be discharged from the military and his career would be over. It wasn't until September two thousand and eleven when policies changed to allow members of the lgbtq plus community to serve their country and live freely and openly. So you have that, then you have the black church was it started the Black Church that has, according to Lawrence. Another aspect of the black community that makes coming out challenging is it strong foundation in religion. Lawns and that both are p case and if you know what that happened, and preaches kids and so we have a very deep religious background. We basically were in Church two seven, we cut the lights on and we cut them off. So that pretty much tells you where we come from, both being from the south to h Kee and one of the stigmas, you know, in the black the black church is, you know, you know, super religious, like get you, you know the whole thing. It's an abomination, you're going to hell and just in a lot of black homes, at African American homes, it's you know, it's taught that this is a this is a sin, you will go to hell for it. We talked about faith a lot on this podcast because it affects so many young and a don't Lgbtq plus people. They struggle with accepting who they are because of their faith. But Michaelson's acceptance comes with time. We were just talking about this the other night. Your faith changes like you're you mature and like what do I really believe? And we believe that God is loved and that he loves everyone and because I'm gay, that's not going to send me to hell. But you know a lot of black people who are in the church and you'll find the choir direct their ninety times out of ten gay. But he's afraid to say that because they may take this position away from me. You know, I love music, I love teaching the choir, but because I'm a gay man, they might sit me down and they may...

...not want to you, they may not want to use me anymore or have me be the Quirre that like there, or the Sunday school teacher or whatever it is. They will trust love you. Was Yeah, but despite the challenges, in the fear of what could happen if they came out, Michael and Lawrence saw it as a risk they had to take. So that's that's just one of the things. Like the week, got to a point where it's like nobody. I want to live in my truth. I want to be true to who I am. I found the person that that I love and that I want to live with for the rest of my life and I don't care what anyone else thinks. It is what it is. They also acknowledge that not everyone has reached this point in their lives. Not everyone is ready to come out. We still have a lot of black men who I was just on a clubhouse the other night and I was listening to people say how their families don't talk to them or I don't want anything to do with them because of their sexuality. So it's better for them to just keep it in the closet, to stay it's to be accepted. They even go on and marry, you know, Mary, a woman just to cover up, you know, their sexuality. So there's a lot of work that is still needs to be done in that area. And for Michael, he still sees in tolerance towards lgbtq plus people from the black community. And just the other day I was actually and home people wearing or black a wooden swag, and I had a had a question about, you know, a particular a scow that were fit a bracket and I walked up to two gentlemen, one white, one black, and I immediately read discuss on the faith of the Black Guy and the white guy was more than willing to help. So that that just tells you that we still have a long, long way to go in our community as far as we be able to accept that loves and you know, yes, we're strowcasing love, yes, we're showcasing why gay love, but we're also trying to inspire acceptance, you know, and trying to change shift the paradigm to, you know, being able to allow individuals to love, they love it out by it's without any preconceive emotions about who they are as people. When we come back, we'll talk about people who are in the wedding business for all the wrong reasons and the inspiring power of love. Welcome back. Today we're talking with Michael and Lawrence, a power couple who took their wedding photos and turn them into an inclusive platform where black queer people can feel represented. When Michael and Lawrence were creating black gay weddings, they had one goal in mind. I want a place where people can come and be able to share their love stories and not receive any judgment and to know that there are other couples out there just like you, like we're just as normal as anybody else. They created a platform where their community can come together and celebrate love and on top of sharing photos from weddings, they also compile vendors, venues and other resources for people to reference when planning their special day. I wanted to open the listings and the directories up to any professional business that is Lgbtqia plus friendly, someone that you know gives back to community and someone that embraces and expets the community, because far too often you will open up our wallets and will give money to people they really don't like this and...

...you know that that's that's beneficial to them, but it just tears a part of my soul every time that happens. You know, it's like I can't stress enough how important it is that we start supporting those who support US exactly. You don't want to give your money to someone who doesn't like you, as my husband said, and that was another part to this that we were adamant about doing, making sure that the community was a where of people who really do love and support our community. So we wanted to make sure that it was that also. That was another important part to to us. Remember when Laurence said he would ask each fender if they were okay working with a black gay couple he had to ask if they were okay accepting his money. What laurence and Michael quickly discovered was just because a vendor agrees to work at the same sex wedding, it doesn't make them an a line and we started noticing that they were quite a few vendors who don't want to say that they have worked with a gay couple. Now they want your money and they'll show their work, but they don't want to say and so what we learned from this particular situation was I can't like trying to tag and mention it the baker that did this fabulous cake, and I was like, well, tag her butt, like, what's going on? Well, they blocked us and I was like Oh why? And so then I went and I looked on from a different page, of course, to see. Okay, well, is it this that weird blocked until it was. And so I looked down this particular bakers page and I noticed that for every cake that this Baker made, she showed the couple with that the cake belonged to, that she designed it for. However, the couple that she made the take for that was featured on our page, she only posted the cake, didn't say who it was for what it was meant any of that and I went wow, I wanted to do they even know? And then it went even further. It was the designer who did like all the flowers and made the whole day what it was, with only sharing the pictures of the set up, never who the client was, and I thought, well, wow, this is interesting. You're showing all your heterosexual couples and I'm sure that this couple this was an amazing way to they just based on pictures alone, they've probably spent well over a hundred and fifty thousand dollars way, but you don't want anyone to know that you work with an lgbtq couple. It's why Michael and Lawrence created their directory and found it a space where couples can know they're working with businesses who support them one hundred percent, because we cannot continue to keep giving money to people who don't want anything to do with us. You Want my money but you don't want me. That is a problem. So if you can't be inclusive, if you can't accept us, then you can't accept my money. Absolutely not. At the time of this interview, Black Gay weddings had thirty five official vendors on their site and they hope to continue to grow that number. We're just starting, so we are bringing people on at a discounted rate. No matter if we get up to tenzero vendors, we get up to a hundred thousand williers, they will always be futured. Why? Because they joined us in the initial stages. In addition to vendors, black a weddings, or BGW, has its very own effician squad. There was a couple out of New York, the Oh that just happened, you know, that we wanted to get married and they you know, the official and backed out on them at the last minute and I was like, Oh, we're still going through this. So, yeah, you don't want to marry same sex couples, you know, and a religious ceremony. So I thought long and hard and I was like, you know what, this will never happen again. Laurence even became an ordained minister so that he could help couples have a positive experience on their wedding day, free of all judgment. I actually perform...

...at first wedding on Saturday, so he did, you know. So it's it's about making love accessible to everyone, and not just straight you know, because that's that's my mind is just constantly working on how we can improve, you know, what's available to our community. The message behind BGW is love and acceptance. Michael says, they want to make people feel less alone. It's okay, Oh, they're there are tons of us out there, there are others just like you, and that we're cheering you on as well. This page was created to celebrate love and again, just to just normalize who we are as people. We're people, we love, just like everyone else. We we believe ray of Leood like everyone else. So we're just as normal. And I think one of the things that we hear a lot when people come to like it when it's or they somehow stumble upon us in the middle of it, because everybody gets in the bed and before you go to bed, what are you doing? You're on your phone and stuff is popping up everywhere. At least I know that's what I'm and when they stumble upon black awaitings, we get these really great DM's from people or just the comments and like, Oh my God, like I didn't know this existed and wow, I'm so I'm inspired. Like man, this is so cool and they're just like in the sometimes it's I don't know about you, but sometimes I the annoyed when somebody goes down the entire page liking everything you see, but they're just so overwhelmed by it and, as I used it's like like, like, like, I don't like you know, that's like almost the thousand post like there's no right you're gonna be able to like everything. But it just shows the impact of when you're able to see yourself and what visibility means and what representation means, and it makes them feel all the more like it's okay, like I'm in a good space, I'm in a safe space. This is great. There are other people that are just like me. You know, I'm not the oddball and just I'm not going to add too much of a monk said because we feel the same way. But I will add just one word, but one word answer and next Oh, you know, I want people in this see our platform that is not only for love but for accepts. People who stumble upon black a weddings are often so excited and they can't believe that this platform exists. It's almost like when they say in twers, you found Jesus and they come, they come to the page and it's like if they were in the closet. They're like what if I've been doing, like what am I hiding for? And they're like forget this, I'm just going to do me and be me, because if this is the you know, every nobody wants to be alone forever. You want to know that there's the promise of finding your forever person and I think, like I said, when they stumble on this page or onto our account of the website, or however they find us and they see all this love that just permeates our page, they're like, you know what, you know what, Damn what everybody else thinks. I'm just gonna do me and be me and it's all good. Black a weddings also serves another purpose to help encourage more people to be allies to the LGBTQ plus community. There was a guy in London said, before I sell your platform I was so against same sex marriage, but after looking down your page and looking at each every couple that music feature, all I see is love and I see more love on this page then I see in a heateral sex year will reality. So thank you and that...

...just made my did. This lightbulb moment is important to help ensure that the next generation of kids grow up with accepting parents because, let's face it, a lot of US realize we're part of the LGBTQ plus community way before we even think about marriage. I think you know, at a certain age, like you can look at a child or kind of tell, like which way or what direction they're going to go and just like always knew. You know, I always use the analogy of playing. I love the easy bake oven. Okay, don't, says me, and I will play with my friend across the street who had a bunch of dolls and I'd be like girl, give me can so I like cannon. It's just it is what it was. And who knew I was going to marry my own Kendall? So you know, we we give, we do. We do give a lot of hope because they are and there are a lot more parents that have been my mom, for one, who's a huge supporter, or should I say our mom is. I share my mother with Lawrence as well, and she is always on their commenting and cheering other couples on. She is a huge advocate for even when I visit my mom and I go home and I meet other queer kids and they're like, Oh my God, I just love your mom. She just embraced me and she took me and she told me all about your wedding. I feel like I know you. She told me about this platform that you guys have and I'm just you know, and it helps the parents who we get a lot of parents of people in the community who really don't know and then they come, like I said, to come to our page and they're like okay, okay, I give it. I it's very eye opening for them. It opens them up to a whole new world of possibilities. The parent of an lgbtq plus child goes through a lot. They want their kids to be safe, but it's clear by the horrendous news headliness the people in the lgbtq plus community aren't always safe, which is why it was such an important moment when Lawrence told Michael's mom that he would take care of her son. That left my mom in a that left my mom in a really good move, knowing that her child because I think one of the things we don't talk about is how the parent must feel. They carry a heavy load. You know, when you're the parent of an Lgbtq a child that's a part of the community, what they must go through, and my mom shared some things with me that I never knew. You know, that there were people who didn't understand, you know, me being gay, and they were like heckling her and taunting her, you know, and it's a whole process even for them. So it's been helpful to parents and friends who have friends who are gay and to help them better understand, you know, to see the amazing community they've created, to get your own inspiration for your wedding or just to follow along on their journey. You can follow Michael and Lawrence well. They can find us at one our website, black gay weddingscom. You can find us on Instagram, which is at black gay weddings, and as well as our twitter, which is at black gay wedding, and we're also on facebook black gay weddings. So you can't miss any type and black gay weddings. You will we're gonna pop up, for sure. Their platform and community is constantly growing and you can now find them on Youtube by visiting BGW DOT TV. And if you're a vendor and you're out there, you're interested in joining our our directory of inclusive wedding professionals as well. As you're an LGBTQ owned business, please check out the LGBTQ business and that is lgbtq businesscom. Or you can just always come back to black gate Weddingscom and you can find out more about our LGBTQ business. Pride to the production of...

Straw hut media. If you like the show, follow us on Instagram, facebook and twitter at pride and be sure to leave us a rating and review on Apple, podcast, spotify or wherever you get your favorite podcast. Share this episode with your friends and subscribe to our podcast for more stories from Amazing Queer people. If you'd like to connect with me, you can follow me everywhere at Lee by chambers. Pride is produced by me Le by chambers, Niggie Balls, Ryan Tillotson and Kaitlyn mcdaniel, edited by Sebastian all call and Daniel Ferreira. Sound mixing by Sebastian all collar. Really can help the world in a larger scale with just normalizing a same sex wedding. Like you said, it's just a wedding when you really look at it. Like although we would love UNICORNS and fairies. That would be really cool.

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