Part Two: PDA (Public Displays of Acceptance)


Although the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts on May 17th, 2004 changed the landscape of meaning around “getting married”, what did not change that day was how marriage is conceptualized. For many people, an almost unending barrage of socialization equated certain ceremonies with the process by which two consenting adults can “tie the knot”.

Socialization by its very nature tends toward the collective rather than individual experience. For most gay and lesbian people (and for many straight-identified people) the traditional forms of “getting married” often no longer seem appropriate or relevant to their life experience.

Some GLBT activists believe that by fighting for the right to marry, getting married, and committing to one person, we as a “gay” culture are submitting to the norms. Further, some feel that “getting married” is a form of hetero-normalization, and consequently, represents a loss of identity. It has been a struggle to both defend the right to get married and to defend what many refer to as “gay culture”.

It is the very questions of “how to get married in 21st century America” that inspired the artists to reconceptualize a traditional private wedding ceremony into a series of public performances. The intention is to give all couples, gay or straight, new possibilities.

MATRIMONY is a performance series spanning the last months of 2010 and continuing through 2011. TTBaum and Michael Grohall perform and involve other artists and participants in several separate pieces in a variety of locations. Taking the viewers through their union as a same-sex married couple, the pieces challenge and expand wedding traditions to create new rituals and ceremonies that define the individuality and sexuality of the artists.