Jeanne Rathbone


Sceal eile – another story.

I was contacted as a Humanist Celebrant by the Jerry Springer team who were putting on an edition of  THE JERRY SPRINGER SHOW in the Jeremy Kyle Show slot. There were to be two couples each with one of the pair a transsexual  who were committed to each other and wanted to have a wedding commitment ceremony on the show. But, being the Jerry Springer Show there also had to be an extra slant to this too, involving some discord from their families.

Anyone who puts themselves forward for that show are seeking/happy for the publicity and their few minutes of TV exposure. As well they would be getting a little trip to London,  a stay in a hotel, receive a makeover and be supplied with a wedding outfit from wardrobe department. But they did also have to bring along their modicum of  ‘family dynamics’ involving some disapproval, of course.

I was asked if I would act as celebrant and agreed that I would if I thought the couples were genuinely committed to each other- as much as one can make such a judgement about folk wishing to undergo the ‘Jerry Springer’ treatment. I asked that I be given the opportunity to talk/interview the couples to ensure that they did want to make a commitment to each other as well as getting to understand more why they wanted a  public ceremony and what the dissenting ‘issues’ were around it. I also have to ask if any of them are virgins as I do not marry virgins as I would deem it irrational to do so! They assured me that they were not virgins.

In one case it was the women X whose mother objected to her daughter’s relationship  because her partner Y had been a man when they first started to go out together. Mother was not going to budge on this and was not going to give them her blessing.

With the second couple there was hardly a problem but they manufactured one by getting the transsexual female’s son to state that he could not call his Dad ‘Mum’ but he was prepared to be the best man. His Dad was not asking him to call him Mum despite Jerry trying to stir it up!  The son had, of course, accepted the situation, seemed to like his Dad’s partner  and obviously was glad to see his Dad happy.

I helped the couples to write their own vows as I refuse to do a formulaic repeat-after-me scenario as this is a hangover from a time when many people were illiterate. Instead, the couples write and read their own vows to each other. We had some fun preparing their promises/vows. We all had our makeover done. I thought I looked okay in a heavily made-up sort of way and it was evident that my tendency to become flushed was not apparent. Three of the four got their virginal white wedding dresses and veils and looked suitably bridal with bouquets as befits a JERRY SPRINGER  wedding event.

The first part of the show was about the ‘set-ups’ with their families, then I performed a very brief ceremony, they duly read their vows to each other  and I pronounced them wedded and gave them permission to kiss –  as you do. There was whooping and cheering as there usually is. Then they got Xs mother to storm off shouting obscenities to her daughter and her bride whilst the bestman son congratulated his ‘Dad’ and her husband. And we all went off to enjoy some ITV champagne. JERRY SPRINGER SHOW is daytime and only one person Roger told me he saw it and he is, of course, gay.  For me it was just another interesting event in my life as a Humanist celebrant.

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