Two Russian “brides” have defied official disapproval and tied the knot in a Moscow registry office, it has been revealed.
Despite receiving abuse from officials presiding over the ceremony, the pair – both of whom wore flowing white bridal gowns - were successfully joined in matrimony.
Groom Dmitry Kozhukhov, 23, who prefers to be known as Alina Davis and describes himself as "androgyne", says he feels more comfortable as a woman.
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His bride's real identity is not known, though her first name is Alisa, 19, and she is better known in Moscow by her alias Alison Brooks.
"In May, we filled in the application in registry office, and our appearance did not cause any questions at all, which surprised us," explained Dmitry.
"But just a couple of weeks before the wedding they started to call us. When they could not reach us, they called my mother."
The officials were apparently concerned both parties would arrive in white bridal dresses, as indeed they ultimately did.
"The head of the register office asked her to instruct us that we should not appear 'both in dresses', because 'in Russia marriage is between a man and a woman, and no other way', and threatened that she will not allow us to come in such clothes.
"When I called her, she threatened me with an administrative punishment, saying something about the insult to the feelings of believers, and so on - although we did not marry in church."
Eventually the register office "surrendered" since there is no legislation on couples marrying with both dressed in white bridal dresses.
Dmitry said other registry offices were ready to welcome welcome them "with open arms" because they liked the idea of the publicity," but we arrived at the appointed place at the appointed hour.
"The head of the office hurried into the room where we had to sign documents. Next, she told us insulting things that we shame the concept of family and we need to be treated.
"Alisa rightly explained to this woman that she looked no better than us."
"Finally, they let in the guests, and a film crew, and they declared us husband and wife, and we exchanged rings.
"All the staff of the register office, the couples waiting to marry, and people on the street gave us amused glances."
Dmitry claims their wedding has sent an important message to people in Russia, where there is widespread official and public disapproval of the Western trend of permitting gay and lesbian weddings, and where there can be hostility to "non-conventional" couples.
"I believe that we have created an important precedent for such a wedding in Russia, for we are not alone in having such problems.
"I have written to couples who are planning similar marriages and are afraid of failures with registration. Be aware - you can not be refused."
Alisa insists the couple are deeply in love and want to have "not one child but at least two".
She said that she took the first step in the relationship and knew her partner was androgyne.
"I came up to her and said she is very beautiful," she said.
Asked how she would explain to her children that their parents were both "female", she said: "Why do we need to explain? It's how it is."
Previously, Dmitry - or Alina - has explained: "I'm a guy with a normal orientation and, accordingly, I like women's beauty. And it should be clear my desire, to some extent, is to conform to my ideal.
"After all, girls are the fairer sex. They are beautiful. So if a guy looks like a girl - it's wonderful.
"This means that at least he is a cute guy. My idea is that a man should be just as sweet and beautiful as a woman. After all, it's terrible when beautiful, slim, gentle girl is with a rough bearded man.
"I am for the beauty for all of us. Girls nowadays are often more beautiful than men, although initially boys as well as girls have an attractive appearance, but guys do not pay attention to their beauty.
"It's sad. Girls, for example, learn something from men, develop activities that had previously been a purely male and they are clever.
"Guys can also learn a few things from girls, such as beauty and grooming, empathy, emotional warmth.
"And it has nothing to do with being homosexual. Ideally, the person will be combined with both male and female features. And this is the highest level of personal development."Suggest a correction