Lindsey Leaverton and Jenny Leman

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#LoveWins - Stories of Marriage Equality

Jenny and Lindsey

Lindsey Leaverton and Jenny Leman

Met: Wait for the excitement (sarcasm intended) — We met in 2006 at Gateway movie theatre in Austin! I was there with my group of friends and she was there with her group of friends – for The Devil Wears Prada movie premier, of course. Her friends introduced her to me because I was in the market for a new full-time drummer and tour manager for my band at the time. She was an expert-level drummer and tour manager bad-a$$. I took one look at her and decided she wasn’t a drummer. She was simply too beautiful, blonde, thin, and girly. So I “misplaced” her number. She will tell you that I threw it away. The jury is still out. But, boy, was I wrong about her. Never judge a book by its cover, as they say. Not only was she an incredible drummer, she was the best I’d ever seen or played with. And I had the privilege of playing with some of Nashville’s best. She absolutely blew me away. More on our story below…

 

Photography by Nikki Boudreaux

Photography by Nikki Boudreaux

Married: We had a private marriage ceremony in October of 2008 at her family’s lake house. It was just me, her, and our puppies. We exchanged rings, said vows, took communion, and read scriptures that meant a lot to us. We forgot wedding outfits so we wore white sheets as togas. We couldn’t stop laughing and crying all throughout the ceremony. Then, when marriage equality came to New York, we planned a trip to travel to Manhattan and get legally married in Dec of 2011. We were married under the Rockefeller center tree and our marriage license has “30 ROCK” on it. We love that show.

Get to know us: Lindsey was a professional touring Christian singer/songwriter and recording artist. Averaging 200-250 dates per year, she was living the dream. However, the entire time, Lindsey was in the closet and told no one about her sexual orientation. After years of failed ex-gay therapy and valiant attempts to pray the gay away, Lindsey began a journey of reconciling her faith with her sexuality. During that process, her career was taking off. In 2006, at the height of her touring career, she found herself in need of a new drummer and tour manager. <Enter Jenny> the shy, reserved, beautiful blonde drummer. Where did she come from? It was meant to be. Jenny had a full-time job working for the State and had no interest in quitting to tour the world. However, one gig led to another and they began traveling together full-time. Eventually Lindsey asked Jenny to be on staff as the full-time tour manager and drummer. They toured all over – record label showcases in Nashville, women’s prisons in Alaska, the pyramids in Egypt, to name a few.
After months of traveling together and becoming best friends, the two fell in love. However, the entire time, Jenny thought Lindsey was straight, and Lindsey through Jenny was straight. Thus, they were forced to keep their feelings to themselves. Not for long though. The feeling grew and became too intense. Lindsey realized she had to say something. In May of 2007, Lindsey decided to sit Jenny down and not only disclose her sexual orientation to her, but to also confess her feelings for her. On an old couch while eating Eggo waffles Lindsey uttered the words that would change everything: “I’m gay and I have feelings for you.” Expecting Jenny to throw the waffle in her face and run away for good, Lindsey soon realized the exact opposite was about to happen. Jenny said, “Me too.”

Jenny and Lindsey, Photography by Chris Smith

Jenny and Lindsey, Photography by Chris Smith

And thus began the growing love relationship between the two gals. In 2008, they both realized this wasn’t a short term fling. No, this was the real deal. They were “the ones.” They realized they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, no matter the risk. After a private wedding ceremony in 2008, they began planning their coming out process. A process that would inevitably leave them both unemployed and devastated. Coming out in the Christian music industry as gay is the fastest way to kick yourself to the curb and end your career forever. Lindsey knew she would lose everything – a career she spent 10+ years building. This was her full-time job, the only one she’d ever known. It was her love. Her calling. And she knew that coming out would risk all of that. She didn’t choose Jenny over her career. She chose HERSELF. It was time to start living in authenticity and integrity. No more singing at events where anti-LGBT rhetoric was being spewed from the pulpit. It was time for the proverbial rubber to meet the road. A road that would be lonely, painful, and filled with loss.
In January of 2009, Lindsey and Jenny began coming out to select family and friends. In a surprise twist, the wrong person found out and exposed the truth about Lindsey on a national scale. Within a matter of weeks, Lindsey’s successful, professional Christian music career came to an end. Her songs were pulled from radio. Her albums pulled from stores. Hate mail and death threats filled her inbox, and cyber bullying became an everyday occurrence. By March, both Lindsey and Jenny were unemployed, and had lost countless friends and family. However, the two stayed together through that indescribably painful season. What’s more, they grew stronger. The truth, had indeed, set them free as individuals and as a couple. They began to pick up the shattered pieces, and they began to rebuild.

Photography by Lindsie Alley

Photography by Lindsie Alley

Fast forward past the painful season of loss, Lindsey and Jenny both found new careers that they ended up absolutely loving. They got legally married in New York City in December of 2011 after Lindsey planned an extravagant proposal (which Jenny casually mentioned to Lindsey was a dream of hers in 2006… though Jenny doesn’t remember that conversation) where she had the entire ice skating rink at Rockefeller center cleared off so she could get on one knee, on the ice, and official propose. This all happened while the Rock Center staff played a song that Lindsey had recorded for Jenny on her latest album. The song played over the loud speaker which washed over Rockefeller Plaza. But that is a story for another day… So, throughout 2010 to the present, they are still able to continue to sing and play occasionally. Having made it through that horrendous season in 2009, they knew that their relationship could withstand anything. A desire to start a family began growing stronger and stronger within their hearts each day. In 2011, Lindsey and Jenny began the adoption process and by August of 2012 they were the proudest moms of the most beautiful twin baby girls named Annabelle and Olivia. This special family of four resides in Cedar Park with two dogs and a minivan they swore they’d never drive. It’s hard to truly comprehend how things have evolved for Lindsey and Jenny since that day at the movie theatre in 2006. I suppose it’s proof that beauty comes from ashes, strength comes from adversity, and freedom comes from authenticity. – submitted by Lindsey Leaverton, July 21, 2015

 

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Marriage Equality

Marriage Equality

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