This week I chat with @LukePaynePhoto as he and I are some of the only elopement photographers in Minnesota that are also part of the Queer community. We chat a bit about our experiences and highlight how our identities really shape the way our businesses are.
You can read the blog version of this HERE!
This week's episode is sponsored by Homebody Candles MN. These candles would be amazing for your wedding favors or decor! Use the code "queerly15" for 15% off your first order on their site.
The intro and all instrumentals were written, sung and recorded by @JaynaDavisMusicHomebody Candles MN
Clearly beloveduhwe are gathered here today in the presence of the amazing Luke Payne. I am so excited to have him here. He is such a talented photographer. You should definitely go check him outuhand I've learned a ton from him and I know you all are going to learn the tone from him too. so. Please introduce yourselfuhyour pronounsuhand any other identities you'd carry share. Hey everybody. Yeah. My name is Luke Payne. Thank you so much for having me. Uhuhit's Luke Payne photo on Instagram and yeahuhmy pronouns are heuhhimuhhisuhI'm sis and I am a gay man. and what was the other thing? Nouhthat was great. Yeahuhjust anything you wanted to share. Ohuhand thenuh uhyeahuhI'm neuro divergent. Specifically autistic. Okay. Yep. Cool. Thank you for sharing and thanks for being here. Yeahuhpleasure to be here. Oh my goodness. Yeah. SouhI knowuhI know you a little bituhbut for the rest of the world that doesn't know you yetuhcould you tell us a little bit about yourselfuhwhat you douhhow you got started? Yeahuhso I got started back in like whatuh2018? uhshooting weddings with a family friend and I really enjoyed that. uhI loved shooting people's love. I loved just being creative. uhoriginally I was going to be a German in psychologyuhdouble majoruh uhout at university in Wisconsin. But I dunnouhI didn't really want to do that with my life. You knowuhI sort guys to the point where likeuhwhat do I actually want to. and photography is something that always really stood out to me. It's something I was known for. People always wanted me to take photos foruh uhtheir various portfolios and everything. I worked for the newspaper. The newspaper always wants me to do the big stories on the front pageuhso I thoughtuhyou knowuhmaybe there's something here. Souh uhI left college and I started my photography business. uhI also went to community college for a little bituhjust sort of figure out what I wanted to do. Got a little marketing degree and yeahuhI had some friends who flew me out to Utahuh uhfor an elopement and that sort of really started my whole career cuz they had this amazing dress. They had one of their bridesmaids throw the dress in the wind and it was beautiful and. Yeah. uhI meanuhif you look on my websiteuhit's there. It looks like something straight out. Game of Thrones. So reallyuhI fell in love with Elopements. uhI shot a few in Minnesotauhshot a few out west. So at the beginning of my journeyuhI took a workshop out in Utah. uhand honestly it was just amazing. I met so many incredible creatives. I learned so much out there. And I took this one incredible dress photo. uhit was the most incredible dressuh uhthat blew in the wind. And if you see thatuhthat's on my websiteuhit looks like something straight off Game of Thrones. It's absolutely beautiful. and reallyuh uhmy career just took off from there. I immediately started shooting weddingsuhmy careeruhuhuhrocketed Yeah. uhthat photo I could really posted at like 2:00 AM on a Tuesday and it would just likeuhlike to come flooding in. Lookuhyou feel like I manifested that photo. Yeah. We love manifestation around here. And yeahuhso I shot weddings and more recently I've moved into elopement and intimate weddings specifically. just because oneuhI enjoy them more. I feel like there's so many new people who are having weddings who shouldn't be having weddings. Or maybe I should rephrase that. uhwho would be happier doing something else? That's better. That's uh just likeuhnouhyou guys shouldn'tuhnouhyou shouldn't be getting married. No. Straight weddings said ever. You knowuhout loud. Yeah. uh. Nouhbut I mean as somebodyuhas an Aquariusuhas somebody who's always been a little bit antiuhyou knowuhlike we have free willuhlike do what you want to do with your life. Mm. I dunno. I guess that would be myuhReally out thereuhall over the place. Explanation of what I do. Yeah. So you'reuhI'm an elopement photographer. uhyes. Perfect. Amazing. And it sounds like you traveled quite a bit. Yes. Okayuhcool. And so it sounds like toouhyou went through a period of shooting bigger weddings for a minute. Is that correct? Yeahuhand I still have a few of this yearuhbut I'm finally getting enough of that. uhI just had to be honestuhbut likeuhI meanuhI just believe in elopement so muchuhhonestly. and that's what my heart is really grinning for. Yeah. Yeah. So I know you touched on it like a little bituhbut likeuhwhat about elopement do you like so much? What makes you happy? What do I love about elopement? uhI mean everythinguhit's so experience based. Hmm. I meanuhlike you saiduhyou get to do what you want. uhyou knowuhI've had so many couples and. whispered to me on the sideuhHeyuhyou knowuhhalf these people are here just cause I feel obligated to uhyou knowuhinvite themuhright? Yeah. And I don't knowuhthat's just sort of shitty. Yeah. Can Iuhcan I swear on the show? Oh yeahuhyeahuhplease. Otherwiseuhas far as low min gouh uhI am a dramatic bitch. I do love my epic scenery. uhI mean there are some really beautiful venues out thereuhbut they are going to cus so much Yeah. And really I just don't think any venue can compare to the majesty of natureuhhonestly. Uhuhwhether it's the coastuhthe Redwoodsuhnational ParksuhI think just something about being in nature and just being connected to like where we all come from as well when you're getting married. Mm-hmm. That is just incrediblyuhincredibly special. I feel like that whole paragraph was like the podcastuhlike Okayuhwe're done. Yeah. uhyou know how nowuhnowuhuhuhyeah. Just a whole overall experience assign so welluh uhyou knowuhif you're nerdyuhlike I am going out to Iceland for an A elementuh uhin. and we're doing like the epic outdoor nature stuffuhbut they're also huge nerds. So we're going to end the night enduhthe escape roomuhyou knowuhit's that sort of thing. You knowuhI have elopement where people like get to like take a nap in the middle of the day. Mm. Mm-hmm. uhyou're not gonna take a nap at a normal wedding day. Some people should probablyuhbut yeah. You knowuhyou can have breakfast in beduh uhyou can do politically whatever you want. Go backuhgo back to likeuhlike when you were a kid. Mm-hmm. uhif youuhyou knowuhbefore all you went through all that social conditioninguhwhat would you want on your wedding day? Sure. Likeuhyou knowuhan ice cream palace may not be feasibleuhbut you could go get ice cream. Yeah. Just like be honest about like what would be awesome and what would be really enjoyable for you and your partner. I don't think that I've ever heard it phrased like that. Like when people are thinking about their elopementuhlikeuhor I guess wedding dayuhlike tapping into. Child self basically. I've never heard that. Really? That's really cool. Yeah. Yeah. uhI mean I think that's where a lot of our happiness comes from. I think we kind of come into the world fully formeduhhonestly. Mm. uhwith our own interests and opinions and likes and dislikes. uhsome of it is influence the course fire environmentuh uh natureuhnurtureuhbut some stuffuhI meanuhstuff that you love as a kid are probably still going to love in some capacity. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Does anything come to mind for you when you think about that? Like what your child's self and what would make you happy? Ohuhshit. That deep uhwe don't have touhwe don't have to I meanuhhonestlyuhI'd say theateruhbut that doesn't really apply to low men's. I love film as well. IuhI do like a Los Angeles wedding. That'd be fun. Mmuhmm-hmm. married under the halluhHollywood sign or something. Okay. YeahuhI could see it. And alsouhI don't know if your interest in outer space in such applies to that too. No. A little bit. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. The group of observatory like four times. So yeahuhthat checks out Wow. I love that. Thank you for saying that. YeahuhI think that's such an interestinguhbecause I think that sometimes the question is posed to couples of likeuhwhat do you want? And they're kind of likeuhall that comes to mind is are likeuhohuhI want a wedding. But if you're to like phrase ituhlikeuhthink of SpongeBob and the best day everuhwhat is your best day ever? Because you got to create that for yourselves. That would be my answer. Oh my gosh. That should be your new tagline. Stay ever I've never seen SpongeBob. Oh nouhI wasn't allowed to watch it. uhso at myuhso I went to a fundamentalist Christian schooluhand then we couldn't talk about SpongeBob behavior. Whatuhwhat was it? I don't understand. There was one episode where SpongeBob and Patrickuhuhuhraised a baby clam togetheruhso they're promoting homosexuality to the children. Okay. What See that's the stuff that when people like come up to me and they're likeuhwe've come so faruhlike blahuhblahuhblah. I'm likeuhreally though? Have we Because Yeah. uhI mean I thinkuhyou knowuhwith Gen Z and everythinguhit will eventuallyuh uhhopefully become better Yeah. Mm-hmm. Let's put in a lot of hope into the TikTok generation. Nouhbut you're right. Yeahuhyou're right. They'll grow up. Yeah. Okay. So you like elopement? Yes. And is that something that you ask your couples ever theuhat bringing them back to their child's self? Mm-hmm. Okay. Yeah. Have that in my elopement guide. uhalong with like different activities they can think of. Okay. Yep. That's really cool. It's also sort of something I aim foruhuhuhwith client experience of likeuhyou knowuhtrying to just have fun. Mm-hmm. uhgo back to those playground fieldsuhif that makes sense. Yeahuhyeah. Just likeuhyou knowuhheading out into natureuhhaving funuhhaving a grand ass time. I love that. Okayuhsouh uhpart of the reason I wanted to have you on here is because first of. There's not a lot of like queer photographers here in Minnesota. Mm-hmm. And then even beyond thatuhthere's much fewer like queer elopement photographers. So I think it's really cool that we get touhyou knowuhkind of connect on that side of things. uhdo you think that there is some kind of connection there as far as us being in that community and also being drawn to elopement? YeahuhI know. Absolutely. uhas queer peopleuhyou knowuhwe haven't really been able to get married until recentlyuhso there is no established tradition for us. Souhyou knowuhpeople are alreadyuhyou knowuhsort of doing whatever they want. It's a natural fit. You knowuhyou can walk downuhyou knowuhtheuhuhuhaisle with your parents. You can walk it aloneuhyou can walk it with their doguhyou know? uhI meanuhthat's just one example of millions of different things I've seen people do. Mm-hmm. So when it comes to like elopinguhit just sort of a no-brainer because that'suh we're different. Mm-hmm. uhyou knowuhthat is sort of what queer means. Yeah. In a way. Yeah. You knowuhodduhdifferentuhstrange. Right. Fuck yeah. We're strange. Yeah. and awesome. And we fucking love it. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Very true. Yeah. We do not fit intouhyou knowuhtradition in the established normuhand it's what we do best. Yeahuhthat's so true. Do you think that there's. uhany element there as far as like being nervousuhwhat the rest of the world might think? Oh yeah. Yeah. Personallyuh uhI will probably elope because while I do love my parents mm-hmm. you knowuh uhand likeuhyou knowuhmy mom specifically says thatuhohuhyou knowuhI still love you even though you're gay. If it's likeuhI know that she would like do black flips if I came out as straight or something. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So it. Okay. Iuhyou knowuhI love youuhbut it would just be uncomfortable. Mm. And I don't think I'd be able to enjoy myself if she was there on my day. Hmm. We could have like a reception later with like photos and family membersuhyou knowuhthat's fine. But just for like the day we're actually likeuhsay my vows and pledge myself to my person. LikeuhnouhI don't want that. Yeah. uhso that sort of thing. Or you knowuhany family membersuhanybody who might make you feel uncomfortableuhwho. outrightuhhomophobicuhtransphobicuhqueer phobic. uhif you just don't want to deal with thatuh uhthat's definitely a reason to elope or if you douhis just have your own like little found family ofuhyou knowuhlike maybe 10 or so people and you just wanna be them to be there. You knowuhthat's an incredibly beautiful experience as well. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. I love that because that toouhI think the more we can show people it's an optionuhthe more. uhthey can be likeuhohuhit's okay if I don't wanna invite my mom. Mm-hmm. uhlike you said. uhcuz yeah. It's just so sad to think about that. Like you couldn't show up as your full self Yeah. On your day. Like I have to imagine that's kind of a little bit how some people feel for like big weddings. Yep. Because it's like a show in some waysuhyou know? Welluhnouhabsolutely. Yeah. SouhI meanuhI guess we like already touched on it a little bit. Mm-hmm. But like on the opposite side of the spectrumuhwhat aspects do you think could potentially like deter queer couples from bigger weddings? uhI meanuhwedding vendors in general. I meanuhthey're getting better Yeahuhfor sure. But it's also like bride focused. Yep. The language. It's not there. uhyou still go to all these venues and it'suhthey're groom suite and the bridal suite. Just likeuhokayuhlike it's 2023. People can be likeuhnot. Thank you Mm-hmm. Oh my gosh. and how like even just like the way theyuhthey're decorated too. Mm-hmm. uhit's likeuheven if the venue's likeuhokayuhyou knowuhlike we'll try to be cool or whatever and likeuhhave you bothuhit's likeuhwell one of them still ends up in like a darkuhdingy room with probably like a deer head coming outta the wall or somethinguhyou knowuhlike pool table. Yeahuhyeahuhyeah. And they're likeuhokayuhwell why can't they just both be nice spaces? Yeahuhyeah. Yeah. So vendors for sure. that ends. Yeah. I mean family as well. And then really you have to talk aboutuhlikeuhthere may just be people there who you don't really want to be there based on their beliefs or how they treated you in the past. AlsouhI've noticed like a recent trend where like people treat queer weddings is like an eventuhlike everybody wants to gouhoh my gosh. It's likeuhyesuhit's like a thing. It's like pride all over the fuckinguhit's alluhit's alluhit's like pride all over again. It's likeuhoh my goshuhthis is goshuhtwo people's wedding day and it's not something for you to sayuhoh yeahuhI went to a queer wedding. It's likeuhshut the fuck up. Chan Oh dudeuhyou are just calling out. So many good things. I'veuhI have for sure heard people say that likeuhOohuhit's my first gay wedding. Like that. And likeuhI mean this is more about weddings and specificuhyou knowuhin general. uhbut people just treat them like an event or a night out anyway. Like Yeah. Than a number of weddings I've shot where people have just spoken over people's wedding speeches and shit. Ohuhyep. Mm-hmm. uhit's likeuhhave some respect pleaseuh. uhI dunnouhmy rule that I tell couplesuhyou knowuhisuhor that I used to tell couples is likeuhif you haven't talked to'em in five yearsuhdon't invite them. Mmuhmm-hmm. And some people would be likeuhbut we were like best friends in like middle school. Likeuhokay. Very different. Yeah. Have you like experienced or heard people. sharinguhlike how they found ways to not invite people to their elopement. A lot of people keep it secret. Okay. Mm-hmm. uhhonestlyuhI haven't delved into that too much. uha lot of peopleuhat least my couples have been supportiveuhtheir family members. uhthat's good. Yeah. I had like oneuhlike during Covid where they had to uninvite a bunch of people. Right. Which was understandablyuh uhnot a great situation. Yep. uhuninviting I feel like would be really hard actually. Maybe not getting invited in the first place would be worse. I'm not quite sureuhbut I feel like uninvited Yeah. Like you didn't make the chap and block. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. uhyou have already been sharing some really great lessons like WelluhdanginguhI'm glad you gotta get something from this Oh my gosh. Do you feel like now that you have obviously been in the bigger wedding spaceuhbut are now primarily in the small wedding elopement spaceuhlike are there lessons you feel. We can take from Elop and like kind of carry that energy into big weddingsuhbut your authentic self. Yeah. Don't let other people tell you what to do. Mm. Don't let other people tell you what you want. Mm-hmm. uhyou know what you want. They don't Mm Alsouhjust the importance of simpleuhmeaningful things that are meaningful to you. uhyou knowuhdon't skimp out on those. If youuhas a kid always wanted to get ice creamuhyou knowuhat your weddinguhhave ice cream at your weddinguhyou knowuhthat sort of thing. Mm-hmm. I don't let other people to tell you what is and isn't. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Which I think that can totallyuhthat needs to be applied to like the coupleuhand also vendorsuhright? Mm-hmm. uhbecause like I could see a scenario where the couple's likeuhokayuhlike we're thinking this. And a vendor's likeuhyeahuhbut that's not how we usually do thingsuhyou know? Mm-hmm. uhand then they're met withuh. Ohuhokay. WelluhI guess we'll just do what everybody else does thenuhyou know? Yeahuhyeah. Even with like people oneuhI've heard people who are likeuhthis has been surprisingly a big one I've heard where they're likeuhwe like having breakfast for dinner on special occasions. Yeah. And like cateruhA lot of caterers will either like charge double for thatuhor they'll just be likeuhohuhwe don't do that. So dumb. Yeah. Dumbuhdumbuhdumb. Maybe we just did more breakfast wedding vendors. Yeah. Are there any breakfast wedding vendors out there? Find me. uhyeah. I love that. So your authentic self and do what you want. Do what you want. Okay. uhand then yeahuhalso just like make time for in spaceuhuhuhfor intimacy as well. uhmake sure you have time aloneuhyou. uhmake more than five minutes for your first look Mm mm-hmm. uhand be able to have a little bit of a separation between likeuhthe big wedding and you mm-hmm. Yeah. Uhuhif you need to get away mm-hmm. that makes sense. Yeah. No. Yeah. Have you seenuhlike what woulduhwhat would be like an example of something you've seen couples do to do that? uhjust not being afraid to likeuhyou knowuhstep away during the dance. Sure. You knowuhif you. uhyou knowuhif everybody's dancinguhyou knowuhyou canuhyou knowuhgo outside and just talk for a little bit and then come back in and dance again. Yeah. Yeah. That sort of thing. You didn'tuhyou were not obligated to talk to every single person at your wedding thereuhthere for you. You were not there for them. Yeah. Yeah. Oohuhanother mic drop right thereuh. Ohuhthat's awesome. Okay. Okay. Yeahuhso this is now that we've kind of like touched on the differencesuhif you were talking to a couple and they're likeuhHarryuhwe're thinking about elopinguhbut I don't knowuhmaybe we want a big wedding like lop for sure. Obviously. How would you help them land on that decision? I'd sayuhokayuhif the thought of eloping has come up more than like two or three timesuhuhthat's your subconscious telling you that you want to elope and that you do not actually want a big wedding. That is your subconscious telling you something you do not want to actively accept. Mm-hmm. because you have a conscious mind who wants to go with the flow and whatuhyou knowuhsociety wants us to do. And there's your subconsciousuhthe real you who's likeuhyeahuhnouhI actually don't want that. Mm-hmm. It's your wedding day. You usually only get one. Once get into what you want. Yeah. What you actually likeuhreally want what you know would actually like really excite you and bring toy to you. Yeah. Ooh. It sounds like you know a lot about the mind. I was a psychology major. Okay. That checks out. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Hmm. What if they're. Not that I was a good oneuhbut you know. Yeah. uhI know about the conscious and subconscious uhwhich is biguhyou know? Yeah. And like obviously you found a way to apply it to your job now. Yeahuhyeah. So basically if they keepuhif it keeps coming to minduhyou're kind of likeuhokayuhyou might already know what you have to do. If you had to flip a coin in the. and do you think you would know the answeruhyou knowuhto what you want the coin to be? Mm. If you flip point sayuhokayuhyour heads isuhwe elope tales is we have a big wedding. And if you know you want heads mm-hmm. uhwhen it's in the airuhthen yeah. Okay. That's a gooduhthat's a really good exercise. The sad thing isuhis that sometimes I have to do that with just like small things. Ohuhall the time. Like this movie or that movie. Who works for big stuff too. Yeah. Hmm. Wow. We gonna get married. IuhIuhIuhI honestlyuhI'm one of those people who's likeuhtrust the universeuhbut Yeah. Yeah. That goes into it as well. I guess this is sort of my own personal sort of path or the way I do things. Yeah. Have you ever had that conversation with a couple and like successfully convinced them? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. It doesn't take too much convincing. Doing all the conversions. the good kind. The good kind. Sorryuheverybody. That was bad. It's what happens when you put gay people in a room. Okay. Ohuhbad uh yeahuhI meanuhjust basically telling people you know toouhwhat actually excites you and you knowuhif there's something that you're worried aboutuhmaybe don't do it. Yeah. Mm-hmm. uhyou don't have to. uhyou have free will Yeah. And like you've already touched on several timesuhlike there's always that option to have a bigger party later. Yeah. Whatever that looks like. So nouhlikeuhyou don't have to leaveuhlet people feel like they're entirely left out. You knowuhput up your ailment photos on a slideshow and invite everybody over foruhfor a potluck or mm-hmm. you can do something fancier toouhyou knowuhor just have likeuhyou knowuha big backyard party. That'd be so wholesome. I meanuhyou got to do things your wayuhyou know? Right. What's like the most amazing. or amazing way of doing things that you can think of and knew that. Yeah. Yeah. uhokay. I feel like this isuhthis question just popped into my mind. Yeah. uhthat we may have already likeuhtouched on earlieruhshoot. But I think for meuhlike when I think about my identity that has like shapeduhuhuhas a queer person mm-hmm. shaped so much of. How I show up in my business and like what I value and now toouhlike how I view elopement and like why I could see that as being like a really like almost sacred experience for couples. Do you feel or are there ways that your identity has shown up in your business or impacted? Definitely impacts how I treat people. uhcuz I don't know about youuhbut you knowuhI was treated a certain way because I was the way I was. Mm-hmm. uhnot just cause I'm gayuhbecauseuhyou knowuhI'm autistic. Mm-hmm. uh uhneurouhneuro divergentuhall the fun things. All the great millennial things. uhyeah. Mm-hmm. uh uhSouhnouhI really care about my clients. uhI'm very in tune to their needs and their happiness. Mm-hmm. uhand I meanuhreally that's like the most important thing for me. Like I will defend them against like family membersuh. Ohuhif I have to Yeah. That's reallyuhthat's like a huge comfort. IuhI try to be for other people. What I don't want people to be. For meuhthat's theuhthat's the. That's the goal. Yeah. Wow. Oh my gosh. Againuhlike I feel like you just put words to like a feeling that I've had. That's really great. Ohuhwow. uhyou should put that on your website. Like I'll be theuhI'll be like theuhI'll fight off your momuh parent bearuhyou knowuhprotecting you from everybody. Okay. Cool. Welluhthanks for rolling with that. Yeahuhjust I was likeuhI feel like I have to ask that. Nouhof course. Is there anything else that like we haven't touched on that is really important to you or you wanna share on? I meanuhI feel like we've already touched on this. Mm-hmm. uhbut reallyuhif you're going to elopeuhI meanuhthere's a chance you're going to piss people off. That's fine. Mm-hmm. uhthat's okay. Mm-hmm. eloping. It's not disrespectfuluhit is not shameful. It is not selfish. Mm-hmm. uhit is day about you too. And if you think by including other people you would not be able to have a day to yourselvesuhthen do not invite them. Mm-hmm. uhif family members or other affluents are invited to be a part of someone's wedding dayuhthat's something that they should appreciate and not something they should just expect as a given. Mm-hmm. uhlikeuhit's like a. Not a right. Yeahuhyeahuhyeahuhyeah. Okay. That's for vibe. Yeah. Wow. Okay. Can you say the first one again? I think people need to hear that louder. Eloping. It's not bad. Eloping is not selfish. Eloping is not disrespectful. It is your day. Yeah. A day for you and your partner. If you do notuhthank you. Can have a good day with you and your partner with other people there. Do not have them there. If your family and that loved ones really love you on your wedding dayuhyou knowuhuhthey should be so appreciative and glad to be there. It shoulduhyou knowuhthey should feel like a gift. It's not right or something that's inevitable. They should be glad to be there and be ableuhglad to have the chance to be. That's the vibe. That's the vibe. Okay. You might have heard that the first timeuhbut I just feel like people needed to hear that again. Like so good. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah. Wow. Okayuhso one of our last big questions is likeuhmy first episode was kind of around this whole idea on why every wedding should be a little bit queereruhbut I'm curious if I were to ask you that. what would come to mind? I meanuhwe have the best music and fashion taste So obviously everyuhevery wedding should be a little queer True that musicuhfashion. Have you ever been to a straight wedding and you heard the music they have on their dance floor? It's got awful. Like Jesus Christ Yeahuhit can. It can be rough out there. SeeuhI love that. Like everybody has such different answers. It's amazing. What are the other answers you've heard? uhSouhokay. Someone was basically just likeuhqueer is cool anduhyou knowuhwe wanna be cool. Mm-hmm. uh uhIuhI used to say that in Germanuhuhuhthe word for gay in German is So you could say is cooluhgay is cool and it rhymes in German But it also kind of sounds like you're saying fooluhwhich is a little bit funny. Spoon. Yeah. Fool. No. Yeah. I don't know. Yeah. I don't know what it sounds like to somebody who doesn't speak German. You do you still speak it pretty well? Yeah. Pretty. Okay. Scuz. There you go. Another lu pain fact right there. I love it. Okayuhso are you ready for a lightning rounduhwhich I'm guessing you also prepared for I'm autistic. Okay. Yeah. I need to prepare for these thingsuh. Yeahuhnouhfor sure. For sure. uhall right. My first question isuhdo you have a favorite queer icon? Welluhwe're both Minnesotansuhright? Yeah. Yeah. So likeuhI have to sayuhJudy GarlandsuhI meanuhshe was born here in Grand Rapids. Have you ever heard the phraseuh uhor the term friend of Dorothyuhthat was like an old way to say that somebody was queer back in the. What? Yeahuhsouhoh yeahuhhe's afraid of Dorothy. That was like the slang back in the day. I had no idea. Yeah. So anywayuhthat's sort of fun and like rainbows and likeuhI meanuhwho can't relateuhwhat queer person cannot relate to the song over the rainbow? Who doesn't want to be somewhere where they're accepted and be themselves Ohuhyou knowuhthat'suhit's a longing foruhfor something else. uhI think that's why we're all so all like into musical theater as well. uhthere's always that I want song Yeah. So yeahuhthat would be my queer icon. Okay. OtheruhpersonallyuhI like Lady Gagauhbut Ohuhmm-hmm. No. Judy Garland. A classicuhclassic gay icon. Okay. I had no idea. You're teaching me so much today. Wow. Is that why people would say a friend of Dorothy is because of the song or because. Guess case. Just loved the Wizard of Os and Judy Garlanduhshe had a huge gay fan base. YeahuhI had no idea. I haven't seen that movie either. Wizard du Oz. You have to. It's like the greatest movie of the whole time. Ohuhokay. All right. YeahuhI'll go watch it. Because I meanuhit's the first like colorer movieuhif you knew thatuhright? Yeah. It's the very firstuh uhtalking film they had color. Dang. Mm-hmm. Okay. and like had a queer icon in it. Perfect. Yep. We love it. anduhand there were rainbows and rainbows. Yeah. Yeah. Cool. uhdo you remember like who or what was your gay awakening? I feel like I wasuhI was one of those people who always knew. I think even back in kindergartenuhI remember like having like a crush on another point in class. Aww. So my gay awakening was likeuhfearuhhonestly. uhplease say more. I don't know what that as in the bad kind. Likeuhlike growing up in a fundamentalist like Christian environmentuhsomeone like being gay and thinking I was going to helluhor that something wasuhuhuhfundamentally wrong with meuhor that I once be accepted or loved by my family members. It the facts that likeuhI was always like questioning and like wondering. It was sort of all I needed to know aboutuhlikeuhyeahuhI'm gay Mm-hmm. uhuhuhI remember in middle school there's this show on Cartoon Network. uhso for a little bit they tried to douh uhlike shows with actors instead ofuh uh justuhyou knowuhcartoons that like live action. Okay. And it was one show called Tower Prep. It was only one seasonuhbut it was likeuh uhall these hot peopleuhhot kidsuhyou knowuhgoing to this fancy. Mysterious sporting schooluhso it'suhohuhthis hot guy just like wakes upuhyou knowuh uhin a dorm room one dayuhno idea. You knowuh uhhow he got there and Zach's like an underwear model anduh uh yeahuhyeah. uhand that's all I need to say. I meanuhthe story was intriguinguhbut also like he was hot Ohuhokay. So you're likeuhyeah. And of courseuhlike I loved high school musical like Saffron. Who doesn't love Zeph? Ron? I never found him attractive. I'm attracted to women. Yeah. But I feel like IuhI can still like look at a dude and be likeuhOhuhso in not even that regarduhyou're likeuhohuhthat's a good looking dude. I'm pulling this up. Okay. Okay. Yeahuhplease do that. Or neighbors? AhuhnouhZachuhI've seen a long time day watch. That's just like what? That's second frog real. Yeah. You could like lose some TV remote between those ab cracks. Okay. Okay. Just saying different vibes then from high school musical. Ohuhfor sure. Yeah. Welluhhe just had a pretty face. Okay. Yeah. Alluhwelluhmaybe you'll see Mount Hollywood sometime. Nouhno. Probably actually kept like married out in Iceland or somewhere. Welluhsomewhere moody you the No. And MayauhI guessuh uhanother big part about myuhuhuhgay awakening was actually like through the Sims. uhI would say absolutely obsessed with the Simsuh uhin middle school and high school. And there was this one expansion pack where they had prom and. Firstuhwelluhlet me backtrack. I would always spend like way more time making the male sims than my female sims. Likeuhyou knowuhthe girl Sims just like stick a dress on her some lipstickuhcall it good. Yeah. The guys I would like be like in there like perfecting every little thing and they'd always be likeuhyou knowuhconventionally hot because I'm basic uh anywayuhyeahuhin the Sims three there was this expansion packuh uh generations anduhuhuhyour sims could go to. Hmm. And sometimes autonomously they would be asked outuh uhby another sim Oh. In the game. And so like this oneuhem once prom and through no actions on my own was askeduhasked out by another guy Sim uhuhand generate inuhyou knowuhmy Sims game. And I was likeuhthis makes me feel things I feel like you manifested that too. I did Yeah. uh so anywayuhfrom thatuhthat point on that gave me permission to like have like all my sims be gay. And I guess that was just sort of a part of it too. It was likeuhokayuhwhy does this feel so good and why does this feel so rightuh. Aw. Uhuhand yeahuhto this dayuhlike all my sims are still gay. We love it. That's amazing. Okay. There you go. There there's your tidbit. There we go. Yeah. uh uhokay. Yeah. Speaking of Iceland. Yeah. Do you have a favorite spot to date that you've done? Obviously you don't have to share. Mm-hmm. exact places. Here are the coordinates. Yeah. uhuhuhPacific Northwest West Coast in general. I love it all. I love Joshua Tree. I love Oregon Coast. I love forks. uhyeahuhI don't know if Iuhit's hard to choose a favorite cause I love them all so much. I'm sureuhyou knowuhafter a couple years after I've shot all those placesuhyou knowuha bunch. I'll have something I like more than others. But as it stands right nowuhI love'em all equally. I think they're all fantastic. Okay. Cool. Cool. Yeah. Joshua TreeuhOregon Coast Forks area in Washington. I feel like those are very different. Those are my top three. Okay. WelluhI like Joshua Tree because it's desertuhbut it's like light colored sanduhso it's workable. Whereas like Moabuhit's like Red Rock and I just look atuhyou knowuhkind of a paint to edituhfrankly. Mm-hmm. Yeah. uh but you knowuhJoshua Treeuhlikeuhyou knowuhit's light sandsuhyou knowuhit reflects the light. uhJoshua trees are just a vibe in general. I love all the Airbnbs out there. I just like this really fun like eclectic desert community as well. Yeah. And Palm Springs. Palm Springs. I meanuhwhat's more to say about Palm Springs uhif you don't knowuhPalm Springs is like a, I don't know. It feels very gay. It's very gay. Yeah. uhit'suhit's very like Pink Flamingo. Gayuhyeah. Perfect. Yeah. Pink Flamingo. Gay in the Desert. Okay. Yep. Mm-hmm. Pink Flamingo. golf course. Desertuhgay. Yeah. Like walking around. I'm just likeuhooh. Another classy gay. Another one over there. Yeah. It's a whole vibe. Yeah. Classy gay. Yeah. Classy century gay Yeahuhwe said gay enough. Yeah. Gay. uh all rightuhlast question. Do you have a favorite fact about like aliens or outer space? Cause I know you like it. Oh Goduhthat'suhthat's another autistic thing too. Fun fact. It's really common interest. uhuhuhaliens. I meanuhhonestlyuhjust like what's going on in the government right now with like the U F O or the u a puhuhuhresearch teamuhlike the government openly admitted that these things exist and that they don't know what they are. So I think that's big enough asuhyou knowuhas for whether it's like aliens oruhyou knowuh uhpotentially adversariesuhlike we don't knowuhbut just the fact that likeuhthey actually like said thatuhlike there are these things flying. uhwe don't know what they are. They defy our known laws of physics. Uhuhthat's justuhyou knowuhmind blowing. Yeah. Yeah. That's crazy cuz I didn't evenuhI didn't know that eitheruhso. Wow. So yeahuhthe world's getting stranger every day. Great. uhanother reason to escape out into natureuhyou. Get away from it all. Yeah. WelluhJoshua treats a U UFO hotspotuhso just pray for me. Okay. Yeah. Honestlyuhmaybe they're cool though. Maybe you wanna go with themuhhonestly. Yeahuhyeah. Get me. Get me away from here. Yeah. uhget me away from the conservatives. I meanuhI'm hitting waves. Ohuhwell Lukeuhthank you so much for being here. It was a pleasure. Thank you so much for helping me. Yeahuhand of course I'll take you in the show notesuhbut you can find Luke at Luke Payne photo on Instagram and. I hope everybody has an amazing day. Take careuhguys.