Marathon Love: Kim and Brenda Haven’t Fought Once in Their 30-Year Relationship

Brenda and Kim wore matching tuxes at their civil union ceremony in 2011.

Brenda and Kim wore matching tuxes at their civil union ceremony in 2011.

Kim (52) and Brenda (55) have been together for going on 30 years. They have married each other three times, have raised a daughter together and have two grandchildren. Below the Plainfield, Ill., couple share more about their marathon love:

Black Lesbian Love Lab (BL3): How did you two first meet?

Kim: We met in 1984. We became a couple in March of 1985. We [worked] at the same printing company. We had lunch with coworkers one day, hit it off talking and Brenda asked me if I wanted to go out for a drink. Then all of Brenda’s “friends” said, “You do know she is a lesbian, right?” And Brenda was like, “Okay.”

Brenda: I went after Kim. I’ve just always been me. I never denied or admitted anything to anyone. I’ve always just been who I am. If people figured it out, cool; if not cool.

Kim: We went out for a drink and we just had a great time talking. Nothing happened that night. Then we just started hanging out in early March of 1985.

 

BL3: What intrigued you about each other?

Brenda: It was refreshing to meet someone who I could actually have intelligent conversations with, somebody who wasn’t trying to impress me by being something that she wasn’t. She was real.

Kim: It was pretty much the same thing for me. The ability to have an intelligent conversation wit someone was rare. There are so many phony people out there. She was not one of them. She understood me; she got me pretty quick.

 

BL3: When did this become real for you?

Kim: I knew it was real when I was out of town and needed a ride back and none of my friends and family could pick me up. I was stranded [at the airport]. I took a chance and called Brenda and said, “Help!” Brenda said, “I don’t know if I’ll be able to come because my car might not start.” She went outside and her car wouldn’t start. She didn’t come pick me up, but the fact that she was willing to come, resonated with me.

I was dating someone at the time and it was one of those relationships where you break up every week. Brenda and I weren’t even dating at the time but there was something there. I remember that I had a birthday party and wanted her to come, but because she was in the military, it was her drill weekend. My girlfriend at the time didn’t want to come, but Brenda woke up at the butt crack of dawn, came to my house and stayed and then drove out. We wound up being there for each other very early on and that works.

Brenda: I had been previously married and divorced and had been single for a couple years. When Kim and I met, I was dating on and off and my daughter was four. (My daughter is 33 now.) She understood that if we were going to have any type of friendship or relationship my child was part of the package. We never had any issues with that and Kim kind of adopted her earlier on and over the years.

I hate the phone, but we would talk on the phone for two, three hours some nights and eventually realized it would be easier if she came over. For the first few months of our friendship, we just talked before we actually dated. We spent a lot of time getting to know each other and found we had a lot of things in common and a lot of things not in common and still seemed to gel together.

And when we did start dating it wasn’t weird; it just worked. Friends said how strange and weird we were because we got along so well. [In our previous] relationships there was so much fighting and making up I had gotten to the point where I was so sick of it. We were able to communicate with each other and have never had a fight.

Kim: We don’t always agree on everything. We literally just talk about it. The yelling and screaming and throwing things? We don’t do that. Life is too short and time is too precious to waste on BS like that. Our mindset is, “We said we wanted to do this, so let’s do it. Let’s not fight; just work it out.” It’s counterproductive to fight. We are pretty laid back. I’m probably the more excitable of the two. If I get mad, it’s very short lived. We don’t take it out on each other, there’s just no need for it. When problems arise, I tend to ask myself how big is this problem and is this a deal breaker? And 99.9999 percent of the time, it’s not a deal breaker. I also ask the question, “Do you love her? Is what we have worth saving?” And for me the answer is always, “yes.”

8 Love Habits You Should Never Live Without

Written by Z. Amara Perri
I confess. I went on a blind date this week. It was just okay. There was nothing really magical about it for me or for her. Needless to say, a second date will not be in the works. Why? She talked about herself the entire time, and during that time, she revealed several other unattractive character traits. Her rambling monologue, a recipe for boredom even if she had the most exciting life ever, (she didn’t) completely turned me off. I guess the glazed look in my eyes wasn’t a clear enough hint.

Anyway. That got me thinking, it is never too early in our relationships and love careers to form good love habits. So I thought I would share some good, non-negotiable habits to develop in a loving relationship. Click through the following pages for eight love habits that you should never live without:

L WORD MISSISSIPPI: HATE THE SIN

1. Listening. How can you get to know someone if you never take time to listen to her fears, concerns and even joys? Practice active listening by first listening and second asking some questions.

Can a Militant Black Lesbian Fall for a White Woman? Short Answer, Yes

Story by LezIntellect/Diary of a Black Lesbian

This couple met on the set of Orange is the New Black. Samira plays Poussey, one of the prisoners, and Lauren actually discovered her latent lesbianism while writing for the show.

Interracial lesbian celebs Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli met on the set of Orange is the New Black.

I’ve been thrown a curve ball in life. It’s something that I never saw coming. Perhaps it is some type of cruel poetic justice for my racist views and hatred. It’s also probably the MAIN reason I took such a harsh tone with my brother about his family.

What’s the curve ball?
I have fallen in love with a white woman … and it’s killing me on the inside!
I certainly didn’t see it coming. I met her in a gay/lesbian bookstore. I was reading the back of a book when she came up and began browsing the bookshelf next to me. I was about to move out of her way when she said, “It’s okay … you’re fine.” Up until that point I hadn’t paid the woman much attention. When she spoke I looked up from the book and I was met with one of the most striking women I’ve ever seen. This wasn’t a plain Jane white woman. This woman was a 10!
The thing that startled me the most was her eyes. She has the most striking pair of sapphire blue/gray eyes I’ve ever seen. In fact, the only time I can recall ever seeing eyes similar to hers was on a character from Dallas. Her name on the show was Katherine Wentworth …
I honestly wonder if her eyes are some type of genetic mutation … but then that’s neither here nor there …

Anyway, for the purpose of this blog and all future blogs this woman will be nicknamed Sapphire.

That day Sapphire and I started a conversation. That conversation led to an exchange of phone numbers. The exchange of phone number led to several late night conversations. Those conversations eventually led to dates. Those dates led to a kiss that took place Sunday. And now here I am … feeling some kind of way because I feel some kind of way about this woman.

I’m a hypocrite.

Part of the reason I blasted my brother is because he married a white woman. I was also blasting myself internally for falling for one. I’ve tried to justify my feelings for this woman by telling myself, “Well she’s not an American white woman. She is a Canadian….” which she is by the way.

I’ve told myself, “Her ancestors didn’t own slaves and they played no part in Jim Crow.”

I’ve told myself, “She’s not like those other whites …”

But no amount of justification can possibly explain how or why I ended up falling for a white woman.

The uncomfortable truth is I’m falling in love … and it feels good. Maybe this is God’s way of trying to tell me something. Perhaps I need to change my views on race. I don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t want to let this woman go.

I like her … I like her a lot.

Meet Two of the LGBT Couples Suing the State of Missouri

Days before Valentine’s Day, the ACLU of Missouri filed its court case in Kansas City on behalf of eight couples. This lawsuit does not seek a repeal of Missouri’s 2004 ban on marriage for same-sex couples.

“Instead, we are asking Missouri to recognize each couple’s legal out-of-state marriage,” explains Tony Rothert, the ACLU of Missouri’s legal director. “It is as if they are handed involuntary divorces every time they set foot in a state that ignores their marriages. No other right evaporates and reappears depending on the state you are in.”

Back in June, The Vital Voice, a midwestern LGBT news site and magazine, shared the stories of the eight couples suing the state for their civil rights. Below are two of those couples:

 

Beth Drouant & Julikka LaChe

Beth Drouant and Julikka LaChe

Beth Drouant and Julikka LaChe have been together for 10 years.

Married: March 12, 2010 in Iowa City, IA

Together for: 10 years

Location: University City
Occupations: Beth is a teacher and Julikka is a sign-language interpreter.

Beth Drouant and Julikka LaChe married to celebrate their love and commitment for each other. “Marriage is the next logical commitment you can make to your partner in our culture,” Drouant says. “It is a rite of passage into a realm of adulthood as well as a more binding and concrete level of dedication within your relationship.”

What they didn’t anticipate was the stronger bond and deeper level of commitment. “Our friends and family took our relationship more seriously and started to see us as equal and deeply dedicated partners,” she adds.

Even so, Drouant and LaChe have noticed the negative effects of living in a state that doesn’t recognize their union. “As much as you try not to let it affect your life, it does,” LaChe says. “We worry about visitation in the hospital, major health and financial decisions, taxes, insurance, joint property, starting a family and the rights of our children, survivor benefits, retirement, and family leave. We feel an immense burden and stress associated with the lack of benefits and our future financial and overall stability.”

 

Patricia and Adria Web

Patricia and Adria Webb have been together for six years.

Patricia & Adria Webb

Married: March 12, 2010, in Iowa City, IA
Together for: Six years
Location: St. Louis City
Occupations: Adria is an artist/musician and Patricia is a pharmaceutical product inspector.
The couple is raising a 14-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter (who think it’s really cool that they have a bonus mom!)

Patricia and Adria Webb agreed early in their relationship that marriage was the most faithful of commitments and that it would be the only natural progression for two people who love each other as much as they did.

“I feel a deep sense of sorrow at the injustice of being ignored and forgotten for something so much a part of who I am as a citizen of Missouri,” Patricia Webb says. “I want to spread the great news that I found someone to love for the rest of my life. Welcome us with our equal share of respect and responsibilities.”

All the stories are amazing! Click here to read the rest of them at The Vital Voice.

 

 

 

 

First Same-Sex Couple to Be Married in D.C. Featured in Photo Book

Barbara Proud photographed Sinjoyla and Angelisa for her new book, First Comes Love.

Barbara Proud photographed Sinjoyla and Angelisa for her new book, First Comes Love.

Sinjoyla and Angelisa, who have been together for 17 years, are among several same-sex couples featured in a new book of photographs celebrating long-term LGBT relationships. The book, called First Comes Love, is by Barbara Proud and will be available September 26. The book is important of course because it is another way to document and give voice to our relationships.

Sinjoyla and Angelisa’ story is especially interesting because they were the first same-sex couple to be married in the nation’s capital. They met in 1997 in a Constitutional Law class and grew closer while working on class projects together. Angelisa bristles at the term “same-sex” marriage. A traditionalist at heart with great respect for the institution of marriage, she prefers to think of it as “human beings” getting married. “I just want the same rights that my brothers and sisters have. I don’t want anything extra so you don’t have to put ‘same-sex’ in front of it. No extra words. No extra anything. I just want to be able to live in a union that has been sanctioned by law.”

 

Sonny & Jazzie Take a Stand for Marriage in Georgia

Jazzie and Sonny Jones-Smith celebrate their legal marriage in Washington, D.C.

Jazzie and Sonny Jones-Smith celebrate their legal marriage in Washington, D.C.

The South is one of those places that some of us don’t think will ever achieve real, lasting social justice markers, but just this week a state judge struck down the gay marriage ban in a state well below the Mason Dixon Line—Louisiana. I share this to say that change happens in places we least expect when regular people stand up and demand their constitutionally guaranteed civil rights. That is what Sonny and Jazzie Jones-Smith did earlier this year.

On May 1 of this year, this black lesbian couple approached the counter of the county clerk’s office in Henry County, Georgia, even though they knew they would be denied a marriage license to celebrate their years of commitment to each other. They knew that no matter how long they had been together—no matter how deep their love for each other—they would not be able to receive a marriage license because of laws in Georgia that restrict marriage to different-sex couples and deny all respect to same-sex couples legally married in other states.

In sharing their story with Freedom to Marry, Jazzie said:

“For us, marriage is important because it’s the outward symbolization to the world of our love. It opens doors for two people to receive honor as a unit and to be respected as a couple. To be able to have this freedom as a human being in a state where we live, pay taxes, work, play, build homes, and raise families. It shouldn’t even be a question or a legal issue: Marriage should be a right for all Americans.”

The couple ended up legally marrying in Washington, D.C., however, they took a stand in their home state of Georgia because they  knew how important it was to stand before the county clerk and provoke this denial—to demonstrate what it looks like when marriage discrimination is enforced and make the case that it’s time for marriage in Georgia, across the South, and beyond.

Click here to read more about this couple’s powerful stand on the Freedom to Marry website and see more of their wedding day photos. 

 

Is She Your Hersband, Studsband, Partner or Wife?

There are so many adorable terms to call your wife. As long as they are filled with love, who cares?

There are so many adorable terms to call your wife. As long as they are filled with love, who cares?

You married her. Yay! You’re in love. Double yay! She’s your boo, your sweetie, your everything, your life! But those are just pet names. When you meet someone for the first time, how do you introduce them to your other half? For serious relationships, most lesbians just go with the term “partner.” But what do you call her when you’ve officially exchanged vows and become married?

For most studs it’s easy to call her femme partner, “wife.” But what about the women considered to be more masculine of center, dominant or studs? I loved Audrey and Gail’s video on Youtube. Clearly, Audrey who is more feminine, loves to call her more masculine partner, “wife,” while Gail calls her feminine beloved her “life partner.”

But not everyone likes the term “wife.” I’ve seen femmes call their wives, “hersband” or “studsband.” Or when it comes to weddings, some have also used the terms “bride and broom” or “Mr. and Mrs. Married Name.”

When Anna and Nakiema got married this summer, we shared their wedding photos. Ana, a femme, told me she called her beloved, “husband.” I was taken aback and asked her to explain.

“We kept all of the regular wedding traditions except for the ‘speak now or forever hold your peace’ part.  [She] and I decided in our minds that we had no problem with [messing up] of our pretty outfits if someone thought they had an objection! Lol.”

Ana and Nakiema married this summer.

“I don’t actually look at it as a gendered term,” She said. “We don’t expect others to approve nor understand, but it works for us as a family. Nakiema doesn’t mind it at all … In public I refer to her as my ‘wife’ because it’s easier that way, but in our home she is my husband, and it is very comforting to me to know that I have a husband and a wife in one person.”

Gallery: Tayo & Tara Merge African American & Jewish Traditions

Tayo and Tara jump the broom. Photos courtesy of Amy Ann Photography

Tayo and Tara jump the broom. Photos courtesy of Amy Ann Photography

Ohio newlyweds Tayo and Tara fully embraced both sides of their cultures in at their recent wedding celebration in Ohio.The couple first performed a hand washing and signed ketubah. For the larger ceremony outside, guests faced first one way then the other as they listened to quotes from African-American authors and a traditional Jewish ceremony under the chuppah. The couple finished the multicultural ceremony by jumping a broom and breaking a glass. And for the reception? Everybody was on board for The Cupid Shuffle and for breaking the Hora!

Enjoy these photos of this adorable couple. They look completely in love!

See more gorgeous photos at Offbeat Bride.

LaShay & Bakari Marry in a Baltimore Park

LaShay and Bakari Jones jump the broom in St. Mary's Park in Baltimore. Photo by Renee Hollingshead

LaShay and Bakari Jones jump the broom in St. Mary’s Park in Baltimore. Photo by Renee Hollingshead

Lashay Harvey and Bakari Jones recently celebrated their wedding in the same place they got engaged–St. Mary’s Park in Baltimore. They chose a summer celebration because  wanted their “future summers to be filled with celebrations” (LaShay’s birthday is in June and Bakari’s is in August). They shared their love story and wedding photos with Elixher

ELIXHER: How would you describe your special day?

BAKARI: I decided that I wanted to feel like a prince the entire day so I’d describe it as “princely.” [Laughs.] Seriously, the day was completely covered in Black Magic; it unfolded like a flower. Plus, it rained that morning (good luck in our culture) so it was as if our ancestors had given us the “cherry on top” before the sundae. 

ELIXHER: What’s been the best part of being married so far?

LASHAY: There is something so magical about looking at your best friend every morning, and knowing that you are about to build a wonderful life together. Bakari and I started building something in our past lives so it feels amazing to start manifesting our dreams together now. Hearing folks call us “The Joneses” doesn’t hurt either! 

Click here to read more about this lovely couple’s Love Jones Meets the Lion King wedding day

 

Bakari and LaShay exchange kisses at Penn Station in Baltimore. Renee Hollingshead

Bakari and LaShay exchange kisses at Penn Station in Baltimore. Photo by Renee Hollingshead

Marathon Love: After 24 Years, Rose and Wendy Are Still a Team

Rose and Wendy say living in a small town doesn't stop them from being affectionate.

Rose and Wendy say living in a small town doesn’t stop them from being affectionate.

November 6, 1990 marked the day that Wendy and Rose met. They have been together ever since. They live in the small town of Princess Anne located on Maryland’s conservative, rural Eastern Shore. We talk with them below to learn more about them:

Black Lesbian Love Lab (BL3): How did you two meet?

Wendy: Rose was a new teacher in Baltimore and had just moved there from Connecticut. She was teaching downtown when some of her friends took her to a club on Lexington Street. When I got to the club, it was closing. We hadn’t met yet. Both of us were headed to an after party and she was parked behind me. She walked by my window, her coat flapping in the wind in slow motion and I told my gay friend, “She’s the one. That’s the one I’m going to end up with.”

I’m the kind of person who is used to walking into a club and everyone noticing me and ordering me drinks. She didn’t notice me, which made me very upset. When we got to the club, I asked my friend if she noticed me. He said no. And I said, “I’ve got to fix this.” I walked up to her table, asked to sit down and told her I have 10 questions for her and to not say anything but yes or no. I was a bouncy, tiny 25-year-old then. I asked her if she had a car, her own place, if she drinks, if she had a career. The last question I asked her was if she had a girlfriend. She said, yes. And I said, “Get rid of her. It’s my turn.” I wrote my number down for her.

The next day she didn’t call me, so I called her. She said she did try to call me. In any case, she asked me to come over where she was living in Towson and I never left. She got up to go to work the next day, and I asked her if she was going to drop me off. She told me to stay until she came back. The first night was our first date and we never left each other. It was instant love, it wasn’t just attraction. After our first kiss, I said, “I love you.” I had to grab my mouth because I didn’t mean to say it.

Rose: Yes, it was instant love. It was like we fit like a hand in a glove. We both knew it. When the right one comes, you know it and you don’t want to be without them.

Wendy: I moved in after the first night. I went and got my clothes from my apartment and officially moved in two days later. We were together after the second time I saw her.

Rose and Wendy pose for a picture on one of their very first dates back in 1990.

Rose and Wendy pose for a picture on one of their very first dates back in 1990.