Article Title:Seeking your vote: Michelle and Bridget
Category:True Stories
Author or Credit:Jacqui Stanford
Published on:18th July 2013 - 02:52 am
Published by:GayNZ.com
NDHA link:http://ndhadeliver.natlib.govt.nz/ArcAggregator/arcView/frameView/IE28141248/http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/36/article_13664.php
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Story ID:13664
Text:There are a fair few gay and lesbian couples vying for your votes to win a free snazzy radio wedding, and be among the first in New Zealand to tie the knot. Michelle and Bridget are among the finalists in The Edge’s Same-Sex Wedding competition. They lay out some compelling reasons they believe you should vote for them. A woman in uniform is hard to pass over, and with Michelle and Bridget both patrolling Auckland events as ice-breaking ‘Flirt police’: “by far the best hook up we made was definitely our own!!!”- as Bridget puts it. “Together we Flirt-Policed at Big Gay Outs, Wigs on the Waterfronts, Hero dance parties and the first Pink Flight to Sydney Mardi Gras,” she says. “We loved the ‘scene’ - it was what brought us together!” The couple talked about having children early on in the relationship and after five years together, felt the time was right. They didn’t have a donor in mind, so approached Fertility Plus and were presented with an anonymous donor immediately. “We couldn't believe our luck!” Bridget says. They have sent the father pictures of their girl, Phoenix - or "Nixy", and are open about a meeting. Bridget says Nixy is a happy, healthy, exuberant and intelligent young lady who has brought them, and their extended family, a great deal of meaning and joy. “We appreciate watching her grow and learn new things every single day. She attends kindergarten where our family has been truly accepted and welcomed. Our goal is to raise Nixy to know that everyone is unique and special, to be confident and proud of who she is.” The couple celebrated their anniversary with a civil union in 2010, but always hoped and dreamed they would have the chance to one day ‘upgrade’ their status to married. “But we accepted what was available at the time to cement a legal union for our daughter,” Bridget says. The women say winning The Edge competition would make life a little brighter, after an incredibly tough year. Bridget had an accident in which she suffered serious concussion, a life-threatening kidney injury and serious internal bleeding. “The damage I did to my kidney was unseen before by the doctors in the renal ward and I required blood transfusions to remain alive,” she says. “Throughout my continuing recovery, Michelle has been nothing short of amazing, remaining true to our civil union vows to love and care for each other in good times and bad.” They say winning the wedding would give Bridget something to focus on, other than her recovery. “Coming so close to losing what we have through my accident has made our love even stronger,” Bridget says. “We are so lucky to have each other and our little family and we want to share that pride with everyone.” Along with their beautiful little girl, the couple has the support of both extended families, including great-grandparents who they would want as part of their wedding day. Aside from the obvious benefits of a free wedding, they also entered the competition because they want to raise awareness and encourage positive attitudes around being gay, marriage equality, gay adoption and gay families raising children. They are hoping to win the competition, where a lesbian couple and a gay couple will be married alongside each other, with"the Richards", who have been together almost as long and are planning a family too. When it comes to The Edge’s history of poking fun at gay people, Michelle and Bridget say the station and staff have wonderful to work with. “All the presenters and other staff have treated us with nothing but respect, warmth and kindness - they have made us feel so welcome and treated us as part of the family,” Bridget says. “They have asked us about our story and we have particularly appreciated the chance to increase public awareness of same sex families. We feel that anything that seeks to normalise being GLBTI is a great thing for us all. At the end of the day we all win because we have achieved equality.” They add: “We want the first gay wedding to be a classy, positive thing for us all. We have entered fully respecting and acknowledging all the hard work and efforts that a so many people have fought tirelessly for to win marriage equality for us.” “To be able to stand in front of our friends, family, and the whole of New Zealand if not the world, and be able to publicly declare our commitment to each other would be the ultimate honour.” As for the crucial question of why people should vote for them, Bridget and Michelle say they are the real deal. “We do love each other and we have the years behind us to prove our serious commitment to each other - we are serious about this. “We are the only couple with a family and we would so appreciate the chance to share our day with our little girl. We respect the other finalists - they are all lovely people, but we really want to win this. We want to share this with New Zealand.” We’ll have more on some of the other entrants from The Edge’s contest soon. You can find out more and see how to vote for your favourites here     Jacqui Stanford - 18th July 2013
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