While preparing for my wedding to my beloved partner Will, I realized that I had a deep desire to acknowledge and thank my queer elders, including several aunts and uncles, as well as my queer friends, cousins, and other family members who have all supported me in understanding my own bi identity, and set examples for me of how to live an authentic life. Like many other bi folks, I also wanted a way of acknowledging and bringing my own queerness into the wedding ceremony in a way that would feel meaningful and combat bi-invisibility. Will was extremely supportive of these goals, and encouraged me to reach out to queer friends and loved ones who could help me process the seed of this idea. I consulted with my cousin SarahThe first matriarch, wife of Abraham, and mother of Isaac, whom she birthed at the age of 90. Sarah, in Rabbinic tradition, is considered holy, beautiful, and hospitable. Many prayers, particularly the Amidah (the central silent prayer), refer to God as Magen Avraham – protector of Abraham. Many Jews now add: pokehd or ezrat Sarah – guardian or helper of Sarah., and close friend Reed (two of my queer role models), and they helped me realize and shape the form of this piece into a blessing of gratitude for queer elders and community. I asked Sarah to read it during our ceremony, and both Will and I felt that it turned out to be one of the most meaningful and memorable parts of our wedding. I’m so glad we did it.
— Katie Kelly-Hankin
This is a blessing of gratitude to our queer ancestors, all those who came before us, swirling back in time through the generations. They faced challenges with love and fierceness, living their truths as best they could in a world that didn’t make space for them. Each step they walked cleared the path for us.
This is a blessing of gratitude for our queer elders, who taught us how to love openly and unapologetically. They have celebrated and supported us in our growth, and shown us by their lived examples that there is more than one way to be a family.
This is a blessing of gratitude for our queer friends, siblings, and cousins who tell us every day, “we see you, you are visible, you are worthy.” They remind us that we must continue to walk hand in hand, heart to heart, toward greater liberation.
This is a blessing of gratitude for the queer young folks coming up after us. We stand, with full hearts, in awe of them as they continue to remake the world into a kinder place: one where everyone is included, everyone is valued, and everyone is free to be themselves.
With acknowledgment and thanks to “Transgender Rite of Ancestor Elevation,” which provided inspiration for the structure of the piece and for some of the wording in the first stanza.
This is so sweet and inspiring. My mother was to the first somewhat openly gay woman in my family and you’ve inspired to acknowledge and search for the others in my family history.