I was on the bus when I got the phone call. My dad had found out I wasn’t a virgin. After I talked to him I was so scared he was going to confront me about my sexual escapades that I locked myself in my work office until other people showed up.
I had always been afraid of disappointing him.
Now when the topic of my wedding comes up, my dad is silent. He doesn’t believe I deserve a marriage now that I’ve ruined my chastity, or that the ceremony is pointless. He believes sex equals marriage and that sex’s only place is within marriage. I don’t. I drifted away from this when I fell in love for the first time and felt in my heart that sex couldn’t be wrong, and that relationship radically shifted my world view.
Unfortunately, this creates distance between us, and the cost has been dear to our relationship. There has been so much drama and heart break that I don’t even want to ask my dad, and wouldn’t trust him with such a sacred role.
So instead I chose a friend, someone I consider a mentor, someone I look up to. It’s not uncommon for people to need to utilize chosen family, but usually, the reasons are more queer. Despite me being genderqueer and bisexual, I receive the most difficulty and shame from my family over my sexual (in)purity. This isolation and shame around sexual control is not often talked about. The expectations that women be pure and chaste is sometimes discussed but often not at the level of risking family disownment, yet many people struggle with purity culture. It is heavy in many Christian and other religious communities. I was so scared of disappointing my family as a teen that fear of disownment controlled me. Luckily we got past that rocky stage in our lives, but I still do not trust my family with something as sacred to me as my pending marriage.
So I asked a friend to walk me down the aisle, and that’s ok.