By Emelina Minero
The second time I saw Jenny’s Wedding, I saw it with my parents. My mom paused the movie twice.
“I never thought your sexuality was my fault.”
She turned to my dad, “Did you?”
“No. Of course not.”
Jenny’s Wedding revolves around the aftermath of Jenny, played by Katherine Heigl, coming out to her middle American family by telling them she wants to marry her live-in girlfriend of five years, Kitty, played by Alexis Bledel.
Rounding up the ensemble cast are Tom Wilkinson and Linda Emond as Jenny’s parents, Eddie and Rose, and Grace Gummer as Jenny’s sister, Anne.
Jenny’s coming out experience didn’t represent my coming out experience, nor the intersection of my sexual orientation with my race, gender identity, or physical and cultural community – but it did capture a core element of my emotional journey: fear.
There was a scene with Jenny’s parents lying in bed, talking about Jenny before she came out to them.
“Jenny’s so secretive,” said Rose.
“She didn’t use to be,” said Eddie. “She used to be really open when she was a girl.”
I knew I was attracted to women when I was 5-years-old, and that’s when I started to create the walls around my voice and emotions to protect myself.
When Jenny’s dad said, “She used to be really open when she was a girl,” that brought me back to my childhood.
I saw my 8-year-old self whispering, “I’m gay,” to my sister’s gold fish on the kitchen counter. That was the first time I said those words out loud.
In the eighth grade, I remembered lying for the first time, and telling my friends I had a crush on a boy — just to make them stop asking, “Who do you like?”
I remembered in tenth grade being asked out to go to a school dance, saying “yes,” excited to have someone interested in me, and then moments later being terrified that I couldn’t return it.
Watching that scene brought me back to my vulnerability and fear as a child, and my coming out process from 5-years-old to 24-years-old.
Jenny’s Wedding has the potential to resonate with a wide audience, but I think parents of LGBT children will be most impacted. It’s a conversation starter, and the first time we’re seeing a lesbian wedding portrayed in film.
It won’t only open conversation to middle American parents and families, or people ignorant of the LGBT community — but it will also bring about conversation among the liberal, the open-minded, and the allies.
It created discussion between me and my parents, eight years after coming out to them. Their experience wasn’t like Eddie and Rose’s. My parents threw me a coming out party — and still, we were able to broaden our conversation about our experiences. They were different from, but prompted by, Jenny’s.
Read my 2014 interviews with Alexis Bledel (AfterEllen and Curve Magazine) and Mary Agnes Donoghue, the screenwriter, director, and producer (Lesbian.com). Look out for my upcoming interview with Katherine Heigl.