We made a decision to make our lives very public in order to use our voices to discuss the discrimination we endure on a personal & policy level. In this process, we received love and support from our community and some other surprising sources.
Red dress, red sari, gloves, bangles, and fire on the blogosphere!
Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Karen and Jenni worked with volunteer staff and students from Mount Sinai Medical School were knocking on doors in lower Manhattan, Coney Island, and Far Rockaway to identify and help the region’s most vulnerable residents after Superstorm Sandy.
The Raw Story
Karen and Jenni went with Immigration Equality to Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) Manhattan offices on January 15, 2013 to thank him for his support and ask him to make sure that the rights of LGBT Americans to sponsor their spouses for green cards is included in any immigration reform package.
Our engagement shoot was picked up by Wedding Gawker!
Rubies and Ribbons
Karen wrote a beautiful piece for Rubies & Ribbons about why she loves Holi
Karen talks about how she negotiates being queer and Hindu.
Karen did a reading from the fairy tale she rewrote, The Red Shoes, at Bluestockings. The story is published in Sassafras Lowrey's anthology Leather Ever After.
Karen & Jenni Get Engaged, Co-winner of Engagement Photo Session Contest
In the spirit of Spring, when so many couples decide to commit, Laurie created a contest challenging recently engaged couples to come up with the most unique and creative “theme” for an engagement photo session. We WON and were awarded a complementary shoot!! Our favorite Hindu holiday, as a family, is Holi or Phagwah as it is called in Trinidad. It’s a celebration of color and symbolizes the welcoming of Spring. As a concept for the Engagement Photo Contest we chose to incorporate the Holi tradition complete with Abeer (or Abir) — the bright and beautifully colored powders that you see in the photos.
Just Married NYC
In honor of marriage equality in New York, the NYC Council set up an online marriage equality album at Just Married NYC. Speaker Christine C. Quinn called on LGBTQ New Yorkers to celebrate this important milestone by sharing their own marriage equality story
Rubies & Ribbon
We love this Canadian blog which caters to alternative, creative, vintage-inspired and budget-smart South Asian brides. Ruby found us through our Offbeat Bride article and asked us to write something for Rubies and Ribbons. We really enjoy how she integrated her own commentary with our story.
A Practical Wedding
Karen and I can't express just how excited we were when Maddie from A Practical Wedding asked us to write a Wordless Wedding post! We got to talk about our fairy godmother matchmaker, Alysia Gradney, and our experiences as a same-sex binational couple. Yay for love and advocacy!
Karen and I were so excited when the Offbeat Bride editors asked us to write a profile about our legal ceremony! Luckily, Karen is a fantastic storyteller and writer. Karen captures the heart and emotion of our little ceremony perfectly.
We planned on having a small Village Hall legal ceremony, but our incredible friends had other plans! Doug Austrian, who we met at the bus stop the first day of kindergarten, put us in touch with the Mayor to perform the legal ceremony. It turned out we were the first same-sex ceremony in Dobbs Ferry! Soon, the local press was involved and the planning began. On the day of the ceremony, we were shocked to pull up and see a giant rainbow balloon arch (coordinated by Doug!). After the ceremony, our dear friends Allison and Bill organized a delicious lunch (champagne included!) at Harper's Restaurant & Bar in Dobbs Ferry! It was a perfect day.
Rivertowns Enterprise newspaper
We were very touched to have our local newspaper cover our ceremony. Friends, neighbors, Jadon's teacher, and even the school principal called to congratulate us after reading about our ceremony!
(gaysi) The Gay Desi
Karen is passionate about being visible within the Indian, Hindu and Trinidadian communities. There are many social pressures to bring honor to your family, marry a nice boy, cook for your husband, and make adorable babies. It is important for people to see the faces of LGBT people of color and hear their stories.
Point Foundation PSA for Marriage Equality with Alan Cumming
Marriage equality is something that our family feels passionately about, because without a federal recognition of our marriage Karen's legal status in this country is unsteady. If the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is repealed, then Jenni can sponsor Karen for her green card. While marriage equality in New York will not ensure Karen's stay in the U.S., it brings us one step closer to full marriage equality in the United States. We were honored to be in a PSA featuring multicultural families supporting marriage equality in New York. Jadon was beyond excited to meet Alan Cumming, the villain in Spy Kids!!!
Our family was part of a photo essay by Italian photographer Claudio Cricca. The essay featured gay parents who have children and are living "out." The idea was to document parents who made the decision to live their lives out in the open as queer and to demonstrate their courage in public photos of them together with their families. Claudio came to Dobbs Ferry from Italy and documented our family in our home, at our local library, and hanging out in a local coffee shop. One of the photos was selected for the New York Photo Festival.
Photo by Claudio Cricca (as featured in the NY Photo Festival)
The Seattle Lesbian
Our family is very active in Out4Immigration, Immigration Equality, and Stop the Deportations - The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Project. All of these organizations work to end discriminatory laws that negatively impact same-sex binational couples living in the US and those who have been forced to leave. The Uniting American Families Act is a law that can change discriminatory US immigration practices. Additionally, repealing the DOMA would bring immigration and marriage equality to binational families (such as ours).
Meet Your Neighbors
The LOFT LGBT Community Center is the most prominent community center serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Lower Hudson Valley of New York. Our family joined the LOFT LBGT Community Center shortly after moving to NY and became involved in the LOFT Kids program. Jadon enjoys meeting other kids who have 2 mommies and 2 daddies in Westchester County. It gives us a space to discuss parenting, schools, and families in the context of queer community.
Karen is the new Political Chair for the South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association of NYC (SALGA) working to promote awareness, tolerance, acceptance, empowerment and safe spaces for sexual minorities and people of all gender identities, who trace their heritage to South Asia. It is important for our family to have a presence at gay pride and inform others about cultural diversity within the LGBTQ community.
At Queens Pride, Karen was asked about her experiences as an Indian gay woman by the Latino press. The article (translated from Spanish to English) states, "SALGA is an organization that helps gay people come 'out of the closet.' It aims to serve the community in South Asia. Lesbians Jenni Griffith and Karen Naimool marched hand in hand with big smiles. 'It's important to participate in this parade because it is very difficult to be gay in the Hindu community. The women must be beautiful, feminine and submissive, and I want to help change those standards and that tradition,' said Naimool.