100 Voices - Wedding.jpg

"What a great feeling - to be so open not just with others, but also yourself. Isn't that where your first healthy relationship should start?"

As a gay teenager it wasn't always easy for Christabel Johanson. Years later, as a married woman, she is thrilled to hear a young woman telling her about the exploits of female lovers in the park... In a romantic and invigorating piece, Christabel celebrates love and the freedom to chose how you express it. 

Christabel graduated from University College London with a BA in English Literature and an MA in Film Studies. Since then she's been interested in storytelling and capturing the narratives of everyday life. This has led to her editing two magazines, shooting documentaries and publishing poetry. In 2015 and 2016 her work was featured in three anthologies. She is currently working on her writing projects, workshops and freelance ventures. 

Transcript below:

Growing up in the 90s is totally different than now. Besides the technological boom, kids are a lot more in touch with their sexuality. 

A few years ago I bumped into a girl who went to my old school. She was 18 at the time and said she identified as “bisexual” and went on to tell me how all the girls used to kiss each other in the park! They sound so much freer than when I went to school. I certainly wasn’t kissing anyone in the park! Nowadays children are coming out as trans, gender fluid, gay, bisexual. Yes there are still issues and yes there is bigotry but…what a great feeling to be so open, not just with others but with yourself. After all, isn’t that where your first healthy relationship should start?

This was exactly how I felt on 30th June 2017 when I got married to my fiancée Melissa. I won’t forget the moment I saw her as I waited at the top of the aisle. We were surrounded by our dearest friends and family and “Colourblind” was reverberating between cello and violin strings in the chapel. It was a small wedding but my heart grew infinitely when she walked in. It’s a moment I could talk about for hours and hours but yes, that was when I felt freest to live and love someone that I couldn’t imagine being without. And even now as I say these words I already picture her smiling and walking towards me on our wedding day. 

The right to love who your heart guides you should be a right for all and not those privileged few who are lucky enough to live where the law deems it legal. And whilst we fight for these rights for everyone, a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of that moment and everything it means, not only for me but how my story is just one of many in this huge narrative.

And I hope those kids today get to find their forever person, eventually, through the hurdles and pitfalls the future holds. It isn’t easy but it is worth it. That’s why my biggest achievement, that trumps anything I could possibly accomplish in my career, my writing, my life, my biggest achievement was looking into her eyes and saying “I do”.