Coming to America: A Brazil Native's Account of Attending Her First Gay Wedding

Local resident, Karine Silva, submits an essay and account of love in America

When I first thought about moving to New York City from Brazil, I was really excited!

I knew my family, friends and my dearest city Salvador would always be there for me! I knew I was coming to a place full of diverse, open-minded and cool people.

Despite all the advertising about America, I knew I was going to have a very unique experience in my life! I have always been a curious and eager traveler, thanks to my mom who always encouraged me, beginning at a very young age, to experiencing new cultures.

I love the arts, music and dance and I am also a “techie” person. I try to make sure that both my left and right brains are working and one is supporting the other. I was confident that moving to New York would offer me endless possibilities of career and personal development.

However, what really brought me here was love; I was in love with a man who lived in Brooklyn.

As an activist for women’s rights, from the moment I knew I was going to attend a gay wedding, I already felt excited. I was excited for the opportunity to celebrate the union of two African-American women who chose to do what every one of us has the right to do: Be together in the name of their love and happiness.

The wedding was in Massachusetts. So my boyfriend and I drove to Boston the night before and when we got to their place I already felt the warmness. The house was full of family and friends, and everyone was smiling and in good spirits, and the couple was nervous and excited as in every wedding I have been to.

The couple entered the ceremony to the sound of house music! It was hot! As the ceremony was following African traditions, the minister asked permission from their ancestors to bless their union! I am sure our ancestors blessed this wedding!

I could feel the good vibe coming from everyone else in the room, blessing these two women into living their life with love, kindness, patience and happiness! Ashe!

Then a family member read a passage from BELOVED, a book by Toni Morrison, talking about loving ourselves the way we are and not waiting for or expecting other people’s approval to be or do what in our hearts we want to be and know will bring us HAPPINESS.

The ceremony went on with the bride and groom giving their vows, exchanging rings, smacking a lovely kiss and jumping the broom, just like in any and EVERY other wedding I have been to.  

There was a lady wearing the wrong dress (a white dress), a drunk person who broke a glass, mammas, aunts, cousins and papas getting down on the dance floor listening to Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and Tracy Chapman, people showing awkward moves on the dance floor, joy, smiles, tears of happiness and pure crystal love like in everybody else’s wedding!

That same love that brought me across the ocean, also brought this sweet couple together.

I can tell that being in New York is fabulous: Here, I meet all types of people and cultures, from black to white, from Jews and Muslims to Catholic and progressive people! The more I travel and know places, I see we are all one.

We are different in our unique special way but we are entitled to the same rights and we are all after the same thing: love and happiness. I am happy and honored to have had the opportunity to bless the union of these two women in love!  


Karine Silva

Master in International Child and Mother Health

Executive Director Associação Renascer Mulher/Brazil


Coordinator Rede de Mulheres/Brazil



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