“We had been talking about marriage for a while, and we knew years ago that we would be together forever, but about six months ago we just decided to go ahead and get married,” said Kirven, who has been bonded to Antonio since 2005. “We don’t have a cute little engagement story, or anything. There was no bended-knee proposal, or doves released, or any of that. Next time someone asks me, I might make up a story though.”
Kirven grew up in Boston surrounded by a large and loving extended family that embraced him when he came out at as a gay man and decided to pursue a career in dance.
“My mom has always been supportive,” said Kirven (born 1985). “I don’t think anyone was exactly shocked when I came out. Before I came out, my dad would express a dislike towards homosexuals, but now he really tries to understand me and he gets that I’m just trying to make something of myself. Being gay is not a bad thing. We’re born this way. As long as you’re a productive human being, that’s all that really matters.”
Antonio Douthit and Kirven Boyd marry. [Photo Credit: Ellyxandria Ferguson]
Alvin Ailey dancers Antonio Douthit and Kirven Boyd married just before DOMA was deliberated by Supreme Court, on June 7, 2013. “We had been talking about marriage for a while, and we knew years ago that we would be together forever, but about six months ago we just decided to go ahead and get married,” said Kirven, who has been bonded to Antonio since 2005. “We don’t have a cute little engagement story, or anything. There was no bended-knee proposal, or doves released, or any of that. Next time someone asks me, I might make up a story though.”
The wedding ring bling. [Photo Credit: Ellyxandria Ferguson]
The first dance. [Photo Credit: Ellyxandria Ferguson]
Antonio (born 1981) grew up in St. Louis in a single-parent household with a mother who frequently made homophobic comments. Eventually Antonio moved in with his adoptive mother who has been a tremendous support system for him throughout his life.
“I came out to my biological mother when I was 19 and she basically unleashed every homophobic slur she could find. She told me I was going to catch a disease and die. She didn’t understand why I wanted to be a dancer either. That didn’t seem like a career for a man to her,” said Antonio.
But at around the time that he joined Alvin Ailey, his mother had begun to try to repair their relationship. She seemed interested in learning more about his career and his life in general. Unfortunately, she passed away not too long after that. Antonio believes her drug addiction contributed to her early death. “I know she appreciated me and I know she loved me. Her birthday was June 7th, and that’s why we chose June 7th as our wedding day. It’s just a small way to pay tribute to her and make her a part of our day.”
Antonio and Kirven wiped away each other’s tears as they exchanged diamond wedding bands, as most of their friends dabbed at their own eyes.
“You got your diamonds!” Antonio said as he placed the ring on Kirven’s finger. The husbands kissed and hugged as the wedding officiant made his way out of the room, but not before wishing them a happy life.
In that moment, Antonio and Kirven became the first same-sex, actively dancing Alvin Ailey corps members to marry each other — and the first of their close, gay friends to marry.
When Antonio and Kirven first met, they were both dating other people, who were, incidentally good friends. When those relationships ended, the duo became performers with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where they slowly got to know each other better during tours.
“When we first joined the company, we weren’t romantically involved. We were just finding our feet and getting established, but one of our first dates was at a Starbucks overseas,” Kirven recalls. “I was so nervous that I spilled hot chocolate all over my jeans. I still have those jeans and the stain never came out!”
Both men say that their relationship blossomed out of a friendship (and hot chocolate-coated jeans). Nobody made a first “move,” per se. They just ended up together as the natural order of things.
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