Gabrielle Gibson never expected to get married, let alone be picking out a wedding dress at Kleinfeld’s on Say Yes to the Dress. But now the transgender bride is making history as the first to appear on the original version of the show (a transgender bride was previously featured on Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta).
“This whole wedding, and getting engaged, and dress shopping with my mom — it’s been such an amazing feeling for me, because as a trans woman I never thought that I would ever get married,” Gibson, 33, tells PEOPLE ahead of her history-making episode on Saturday.
After her fiancé Jaden proposed, Gibson set up an appointment at Kleinfeld’s, and found out they were looking for new brides to feature on the show. She submitted her application, and a week later she was in.
“I was like, I have to get my hair done, I have to get a haircut. It was so crazy,” Gibson says. “Me and my fiancé were just in shock, and it still hasn’t worn off. We’re so excited about everything.”
The New Jersey-based hairdresser brought a few friends along and most importantly, her mom, which made the moment even more special.
“Seeing her say over all these years, ‘Oh mom, I’m never going to find anyone, I’m never going to get married.’ And with how people have treated her. I’ve seen her cry so much, and it’s been a long journey to get to this point,” her mom, Frances Colon-Gibson, says in an exclusive clip from the episode.
“I’m just so happy that I have such a supportive family,” Gibson tells PEOPLE. “They treat and respect me like the woman that I was supposed to be. They don’t look at me any different, and my mom loves me unconditionally, and I’m so happy that she was able to experience [dress shopping] with me.”
Gibson is also thankful for her fiancé Jaden, a transgender man.
“I never thought that I would ever find a man who openly wants to be with me, and share a life with me. Because as a trans woman, we tend to be treated more as a sexual desire, or treated as an object or a fetish. My fiancé shows me off to the world, and treats me like his queen, and shouts from the mountain tops that he’s with me, he doesn’t care that people know that I’m trans.”
While Gibson says she wasn’t initially seeking attention, she now hopes telling her story will help the broader transgender community.
“I just wanted to have an experience, and to show that we as trans people can love, and be loved, in a normal setting, and do things that are not out of the norm,” she says. “I’m such a fan of the show, and I’ve seen people’s dreams come true, and I wanted my dreams to come true.”