On Friday, July 24, the day after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, a woman named Stephanie McFarland announced that she had married a white man.
“I feel blessed,” she told the press in her first television interview.
“To have this chance at my first wedding, I’m so grateful for all of you.”
In an emotional video that quickly went viral, McFarlander, who was then 27, said she was “blessed” that she would be able to marry her husband.
“Today is my day to say goodbye to my beautiful family and I can say thank you to my beloved husband,” she said.
The clip has been viewed nearly a million times on YouTube.
As a white person, this is not an uncommon occurrence.
But for the first time, it is a white woman in Australia being asked to celebrate her marriage.
According to the Pew Research Center, in 2017, white women in Australia were nearly six times more likely to be married than white men, while the same gap existed for Asian men.
“There are two ways to look at this,” says sociologist Sarah McPhee of the University of Melbourne.
“One is that it is more of a normal phenomenon, that people have been doing this for a while.
Or, there is this belief that white people are really the exception, so they have been able to do this so long that they have sort of taken it for granted.”
That belief may have contributed to McFarlanders success.
She was a senior member of the Australian Basketball team in the early 2000s, before becoming a professional basketball player.
But by 2010, she had become an Olympic gold medalist and had recently begun dating a black man, who had become her partner.
After that, the couple separated.
In 2015, McPhees first-year student, Jodie Thompson, wrote a book on the history of black and white weddings, called Black and White Weddings: A History of Contemporary Australian Weddays.
She says it’s “important for people of colour to understand the complexities of our history and how our history has impacted on the marriage of white and black people.”
The book was later published in 2018, with the story of Jodietta Thompson, a former basketball player, and her husband, Jameel Smith, a musician.
In an email to The Daily Beast, McShane said she felt “baffled” when she was approached by the couple to celebrate their wedding.
“We’ve been friends for years and I think we’re still friends, but this was just an opportunity for us to celebrate our marriage, and it was so nice,” she wrote.
The next year, the McShanes made another appearance on Australia’s Got Talent, singing a song for a male contestant.
In the song, Jodi Smith said her “first wedding was the most beautiful day of my life.”
“I’m so blessed and grateful that I could be a part of my husband’s celebration of my wedding,” she sang.
“When we get married, I’ll be so happy.”
After her marriage to Smith ended, she started dating a white Australian man named Tim.
McShanes life as a white couple has not always been easy.
After leaving the team and being fired from her job as a receptionist at a nightclub, she was hired as a manager at a local pub.
“He was just a very attractive young man, with a great sense of humour and a lot of good qualities,” McShana said.
“But he was very difficult to work with.
He wasn’t very open with me and when I started to work in a bar, he wouldn’t let me talk to him.”
She had her own problems with alcohol and drugs, which ultimately led to her death in a nightclub in 2008.
Her death was ruled a suicide by coronavirus.
“At one point, I had tried and failed at trying to get help for myself.
I felt like I needed to be a martyr and take this as my opportunity,” she says.
“The thought of doing something to protect my own life and my family, it was really devastating.”
McShannas husband, Smith, died from cancer in 2010.
“It’s a huge loss,” McPhea said.
But, she adds, it’s important for white people to understand that white Australians have also been the victims of racism in their lifetime.
“You have to recognise the racism and the injustice that you’ve experienced in your lifetime.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have pride in your achievements.”
As a woman, McLeod was a victim of sexual assault, which made it harder for her to get a job and ultimately to move in with her parents.
Her story was a common one for women of colour who struggled with depression and anxiety in the 1970s and 1980s.
But it wasn’t until the late 1990s