In honor of pride week, I'm featuring one of my favorite couples this week, J and Gina
Let me just go ahead and brag about these two right here! They’ve been clients of mine since their elopement in 2016 and have been returning clients/friends ever since. I have grown fond of the two of them and their strength as a couple. I’m hoping that by sharing their story, we can inspire friends, family, loved ones and even strangers to be themselves and embrace who they are and their feelings!
1) Where did you two first meet?!
We first met in January 2012. I was a undergraduate social work student doing a month long internship and he was a masters level social work student doing his practicum. We were both interning at the agency that we now work for! At the time he went by Elizabeth and presented as female. He says that he immediately had a crush on me. I was not out yet out as pansexual so I immediately felt a connection but could not identify what it was. In fall of 2014, Jonah was working at the same agency and then I came back to intern again as a masters social work student at OSU. We started to spend a lot of time together in the spring of 2015 and began dating June 10, shortly after my internship ended. :)
2) How long were you engaged?
About a month or so after we started dating we both knew that this was the person we wanted to marry. I never believed it was possible to feel this way so early into a relationship but we had been friends for a while and all I can say is we just knew. Jonah proposed in November 2016 but we kept our engagement a secret because I was still processing coming out. We got eloped on March 1 2016 so we were engaged for four months.
3) Is there a significance to your wedding date?
No significance necessarily in the date. We knew we wanted to be married for a while and so we decided on February 29 that we would get eloped the next day! We spoke to our wonderful officiant Windi from Run to an Elopement at 6 PM the day prior and talked with Whitney about photographing our wedding at 8 PM the day prior. It was an elopement in every sense of the word. :) But we were in love and just so badly wanted to be married. Our day was beautiful largely thanks to Windi and Whitney. We treasure Whitney's photographs and not a day goes by where I don't look at them again!
4) When did Jonah start going through his transformation?
Jonah started talking about transitioning to male shortly before we got married. He was not sure he wanted to complete a full transition but was interested in looking into changing his appearance to more closely match the way he felt on the inside that he should look. Shortly after we were married he decided to complete a full transition to male. At this point he is out to all of our family and friends. He is current at military training in Texas but shortly after he returns he will begin testosterone!
5) Could you share some fears/bumps along the road for you two along the way?!
I would say that coming out for me as pansexual was definitely a challenge we faced in our relationship. When you come out, you deal with a lot of internalized shame that you did not realize was there about your sexuality. I would also say that Jonah's transition has been not necessarily a challenge but definitely a big change. When you fight so long for acceptance and for the right to marry your same sex partner, it's weird to have a transition cause you to present as a "straight" couple to the world. Although both of our coming out processes have been hard at times, we have also grown stronger together through this. Coming out is both a beautiful and tough journey and getting the privilege to go through this together has been amazing. It has been so incredible for me to be there for Jonah's transition and see him slowly become the person he is meant to be.
6) What’s the best thing about being married?
Sharing our lives together is such an amazing part of being married. Getting to go through life and experience the ups and downs with Jonah has been amazing! This has definitely been the best year of my life.
On March 1, 2016, I photographed Elizabeth and Gina at Goodale Park in Columbus on their wedding day. Roughly 6 months later, I received an email from the two of them asking if I could update their images, as Elizabeth was going through a transformation and wanted present images of them. I eagerly obliged! Here we are, almost a year later, including them in a styled shoot that Kristin from 614 Weddings, Windi from Run to an Elopement and myself have been organizing for months!
I wanted to share their story because it’s empowering. Love is love and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of their love story! Cheers!