Jacqueline (49) and Patricia (53) are entrepreneurs. They met in France during a Heal your Heart retreat. Not much later they were in a relationship. They got married in 2015.
Jacqueline was the one who proposed to Patricia. She thought she should make a gesture: ‘I broke up a few times in the first two years of our relationship.’
Patricia, whispering from behind her hand, ‘Seven times!!’ Jacqueline: ‘But I never actually left. It played out like this: It’s over, but what’s for dinner?’
Both Jacqueline and Patricia had always had relationships with men. And Jacqueline needed time to experience that as a bisexual woman you only have to choose love, not one particular sexual identity. After four years together, Jaqueline officially asked for Patricia’s hand from her father. Jacqueline: ‘To me, getting married felt like the ultimate commitment. Like, whatever happens. I am with you, I will go with you. I’m holding on to you and I will not let you go.’ For Patricia it was particularly important that everything was arranged well legally, in terms of inheritance and so on.
Patricia: ‘The fact that we can live safely as a married couple in the Netherlands feels like an enormous privilege.’ Jacqueline: ‘I’m never on guard in public. I walk hand in hand with Patricia, give her a kiss.’
Patricia: ‘I travel half the year, for work but also with Jacqueline. I spend a lot of time in African countries. I always watch out in these countries. When people ask me if I am married, I say “yes”. But otherwise, I keep my mouth shut about the fact that I am married to a woman. In many places it is just dangerous not to be straight. And in countries like Russia or Poland, you know: you really shouldn’t go there as a same-sex couple.’
They describe traveling as ‘shuttling between a safe and an unsafe bubble’. And that is exactly why Patricia said “yes” to participating in this series, even before consulting at home. Patricia: ‘I never really like the limelight, but now I really feel the need to convey: This is us, we love each other. We are two bisexual women, WE ARE MARRIED.’
Jacqueline: ‘Homosexuality is prohibited by law in 69 countries. In nine countries it is even punishable by death penalty. And although I don’t notice it myself, there are reports that it is also becoming more intolerant in the Netherlands. People are still being murdered or abused because of their choice of partner. So it remains important that we show ourselves and that we can be heard.’ <
LEGAL LOVE – 20 years of marriage for everyone
Creation Concept by the Open mind Foundation – Image by Ernst Coppejans – Styling by Richard Schreefel – Interviews and text by Mirjam Bekker-Stoop and Lara Aerts – Design by Kellerman agency in action – exhibition Bordbusters
With special thanks to the 20 beautiful couples who agreed to visually represent
- The anniversary celebration of the opening up of civil marriage to people of the same sex.
- Sharing the marriage experiences of a diverse group of portrayed married LGBTQIA + persons with a large and broad target group.
- Looking back on the past 20 years with an eye on the future.
- Putting current problems that arise around the acceptance of LGBTQIA+ people on the agenda.
- Driving the conversation about the current state of affairs regarding acceptance and inclusion.
- Promoting social acceptance and equal rights of LGBTQIA + people.
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