In their latest Netflix stand-up special, Something Special, lesbian genderqueer comedian Hannah Gadsby revealed that they were intent on having a Christian bakery provide their wedding cake. Of course, that required a little trickery.
Gadsby married producer Jenney Shamash in January 2021. In an April 2021 social media post announcing their union, the couple said they felt “chuffed about it.” (Chuffed is British slang for “very pleased.”)
“For the record: this is me gushing,” Gadsby wrote in the caption. “I am full of very positive feelings. This is a nice story.”
In their new special, which Gadsby describes as “a feel-good show,” the comedian shares more details about their wedding, including the story behind their hilariously non-traditional novelty wedding cake.
“We wanted to trick a Christian baker into making a gay wedding cake,” Gadsby explains in Something Special, “and it worked.”
Gadsby recently shared a photo of the cake in question on their Instagram. It features a massive shark about to devour two adorable otters swimming serenely side-by-side.
“I was like, ‘Nah, mate, that’s not a wedding cake. I’m turning 10,’” Gadsby recalls in their special. “Easy. So gullible. Will believe anything, Christians.”
Cakes have, of course, become one of the most unexpected battlegrounds in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality. (Just imagine what Harvey Milk or veterans of the Stonewall uprising would’ve said if you told them that, in 2023, we would be suing bakers over cakes.)
In probably the most famous instance of cake discrimination, Jack Phillips, the anti-gay owner of Colorado’s Masterpiece Cakeshop, sued the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) in 2015 after it told him that his refusal to provide an LGBTQ+ couple’s wedding cake violated the state’s law prohibiting businesses open to the public from discriminating against customers on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Phillips, but did not rule on the question of whether he had a First Amendment right to refuse to make a gay wedding cake.
Phillips was sued again in 2018, this time by a trans customer for whom he refused to make a cake celebrating both her birthday and her anniversary of coming out as trans. In 2021, a Denver judge ruled that Phillips illegally discriminated against Autumn Scardina when he refused to make the cake. Earlier this year, the Colorado Court of Appeals again ruled against Phillips in the case.
More recently, in Florida, a Publix grocery store refused to write “Trans People Deserve Joy” on a cake for a trans nonprofit organization. The company later apologized, claiming that employees at the Orland-area store were mistaken in believing that writing a trans-affirming message on a cake was against corporate policy.