Black Butches Cry Too

Is Temper sad? Who knows.
Is Temper sad? Who knows.

I don’t know if super hot rapper Temper cries, but she looked sad AND hot in this pic.

Written by Zamara Perri

“A real butch doesn’t wear dresses. A real stud doesn’t wear make-up. A real tomboi doesn’t date other tombois. A real masculine woman pays all the bills. A real tomboi doesn’t cry—only bitches do that.”

 

Hanging around the black lesbian community, I’ve heard all of these things and more. And these ideas are dangerous and harmful. They are pretty much the same ideas that are central to the strong black woman myth and pretty much do the same thing to black lesbians who are more masculine—deny them their femininity, womanhood, humanity and agency.

I think black lesbian butches have it the hardest of any other minority group on the planet. They often cannot hide who they are. Because of their appearance, they daily deal with racist and homophobic harassment from men and women in the workplace, streets, our own communities and in their own homes.

 

Yes, we in the black lesbian community add to the stress that black butches face everyday. And sometimes the guiltiest offenders are those of us who are their femme partners.

 

My partner and I shared an intimate moment over the weekend where she told me that her six-year long relationship with her ex was pretty much a fraud. Why? Her femme partner wouldn’t allow her to be anything but the strong provider. As a tomboi who loved working out, she was seen as the “male” presence in the relationship. She wasn’t allowed to be soft. She wasn’t allowed to be weak, be sensitive, or hint at having feminine needs. In short, as a butch she wasn’t allowed to be woman.

 

When I met my partner, we acknowledged that we most likely would not have been attracted to each other had we both not changed. I wanted someone sweet and sensitive. She needed a woman who would let her cry. We both wanted comfort and softness and that’s what we have in each other.

 

The Expectations

If your partner cannot be herself with the person who supposedly loves her the most, how can you build true intimacy?

We force our black masculine of center women to conform to certain “male” standards and basically give them the hard side eye when they deviate from the script. I see it all the time and I’ve also participated in the shaming and side eyeing. This concern is central to the recently released documentary The Same Difference.

Black butches are weighed down by our expectations. We expect black dominant lesbians to only date feminine women, god forgive them if they date another dominant woman, wear make up or a dress. If a black stud decides to carry a child, then she must not be really gay.

Black butches just can’t win.

We sometimes expect them to do all the giving because they like wearing pants or can rock a Caesar. We think that they couldn’t possibly want anything in return except maybe sex and the satisfaction of having a pretty femme on her arms. And don’t let me get started on how she should like sex.

 

I had a friend, Angela, who was new in the life. She was quite feminine until she started dating women. She was hardly recognizable when we went to her wedding. Angela’s fiancée required that Angela dress in male clothing and provide for her and her four kids. And this woman who was new to the lifestyle and still figuring herself out, did it. Privately she told me that she wasn’t entirely comfortable dressing that way, but knew this was the only way to keep the woman she loved.

 

But like I said, I’ve participated in expecting previous aggressive partners to act only in the way I deemed sufficiently butch.

 

I’ve also dated a woman who was an absolute tomboi. She wore make-up and I found that so strange. I also dated a woman who was struggling financially even though she worked every day. She was embarrassed that I made more money than she did. Part of the embarrassment stemmed from her being a butch and feeling like she should pay for everything.

I have a friend who is a butch who is currently dealing with cancer. I’ve watched several people I love deal with this disease and it ripped their lives apart. But my butch friend is barely acknowledging that this is a scary time for her. Instead she is acting like it’s no big deal because she needs to be the strong butch. But I doubt that’s how she is feeling on the inside. Then again I have no right to tell her how to feel or act.

 

Overall, I would love it if we simply gave each other a freaking break instead of projecting ridiculous gender expectations on each other.

 

Most importantly, I would love to see more black lesbians accept the butches we love for who they are—100 percent women.

 

Let’s stop the madness, y’all.

Now This is a WNBA Couple That Knows Something About Love

LaTaya Varner and Seimone Augustus kiss at their May 2015 wedding.

LaTaya Varner and Seimone Augustus kiss at their May 2015 wedding.

 

“I never thought I would get married. A lot of women have that dream — wearing a white dress and walking down the aisle. I never did.”

 

That is how Seimone Augustus, 31 , a WNBA player started her first-person story in The Player’s Tribune about her eight year relationship with LaTaya, 27, who became her wife in May. The five-time WNBA All-Star, who plays for the Minnesota Lynx, had 15 guests at her wedding.

Augustus shares how she came out in junior high school and has been honest about her sexuality ever since. She says, “When you’re happy with your career and your environment, but most importantly, with yourself — when you’re your authentic self every single day, without shame — life sort of falls into place.”

This piece was critical because, “That’s how I met the woman who would become my wife.”

Seimone only had one request of her wedding ceremony to LaTaya: That she wear sneakers and there be red velvet cake.

Seimone only had one request of her wedding ceremony to LaTaya: That she wear sneakers and there be red velvet cake.

The two met at a night club in Minnesota and Seimone who describes herself as painfully shy, says she finally worked up the nerve to ask LaTaya to dance and for her number!

Their first date at a theme park was, “Perfect. If I lined up all of my days in my short life, I’d still pick that one as one of my favorites, every time. Just two nervous girls — one quiet and shy, and one bubbling over with personality — navigating something new together.”

Soon the couple fell in love and a few years later started talking about marriage. At the time gay marriage wasn’t legal in all of the states and they worried about not having their relationship recognized if they should move or one of them got hurt.

Seimone proposed in 2010 on the beach in Miami around Christmas.

Read the rest of the story here. 

 

 

16 Practical Ways to Never Fight With Your Partner Again

TheLoveGoddess

Written by Giselle Bella

Communication can break or make a relationship. This is the fourth in a series of articles sharing how we can improve the way we communicate with the women we love.

 

Your Communication Blueprint

In part 1 of our Never Fight With Your Partner Again: A Black Lesbian Blueprint, I talked about how you can transform the way you think about conflict with your partner. In this article, I’ll share some practical examples, which you may find supportive if you and your partner are in the midst of communicating and it leads to an argument:

1. Time out: When you notice things heating up, one of you [if not both of you] calls a time out. Create a signal that works for you when you get in that situation. Then from there, you will continue to discuss how you feel.

2. Grab pen and paper. When your partner says something and you feel the urge to immediately address it, instead of interrupting, write it down. This is to stop you from rudely interjecting with, “Wait a minute…”

3. Set a timer:  If you want to set a time for each to make a point then do so for when you first begin to speak. So, you may want to each start with five (5) minutes. Once you’ve each had your equal time, you will find it easier to take turns speaking.

4. Question: When the situation seems more than you can handle, arrange for a time out signal and immediately say: “question.” As soon as one of you does that, the other person must instantly stop and be ready to answer yes/no questions. The idea is to ask questions that will support you in knowing whether you or she was misheard and misunderstood.

5. Refrain from bringing up past disputes. Treat this disagreement as its own entity.

6. Be wise and sensitive with your choice of words and phrases.

7. When your partner speaks, look her in the face, in the eyes. Refrain from looking away in disinterest and making surly faces.

8. Leave your condemnation outside and listen with an open mind and heart.

9. Leave the scene. If you need to stop talking or need to be left alone for a moment, DO NOT announce that you’re leaving and walk away. Look your partner in the eyes, tell her, you are upset, and need to take some time in order to gather your thoughts. Respect her time if she is the one who says that to you. You display that respect by stating you understand and you do want to finish expressing your discontent or your emotions. It may go something as such, “I understand, but when you are complete with your time, I do want to communicate through our disagreement.”

10. If you do not agree with something she says that is ok. You don’t have to, but be remember that that is how she feels. Therefore, be respectful. If you disagree with a comment or statement, simply say “I disagree…” Refrain from saying things such as, “Uh-uh, no, that’s not what happened, if that’s how you feel, you don’t understand…” The truth is your partner may understand but simply not know how to convey it.

11. Be patient. Do not rush and certainly do not rush her. Allow yourself time to gather your thoughts and allow the same for her. In gathering your thoughts, you will find that you convey what you feel in a more sensible manner and with less aggression.

12. Breathe. Remember to breathe. Next time you are get frustrated, monitor your breaths. You may be surprised to learn that at certain levels and vibrations, we tend to hold our breaths. So take some deep breaths. If your partner makes note of this, tell her that breathing allows you to be in touch with your emotions and not block them. That’s right, when we hold our breaths, we block emotions and become clouded. A lucid mind makes for a healthy processing mind.

13. Love her, love you and love your growth through your rough time. No matter what the situation or the quarrel, show love to each other. After you’ve talked out or settled your row, express your love to each other.
14. Do not go to bed with a heavy or angry heart. Even if you can’t resolve your issues on the spot, agree to continue working toward a resolution at a later date.

15. Be compassionate to your partner and her feelings. Remember, she is not the enemy. This is someone you love and she is learning and growing everyday, just like you!

16. Most importantly, express your gratitude to each to each other for listening and working through it together.
Things happen. Things happen that are out of our control and out of normalcy and these things matter. However, what matters more is how we handle these things. Communicate with love and communicate with truth. Communicate with each other. Then you will notice, not only do you not fight but your disagreements are understood more and you build a fondness, respect and admiration for each other.

 

To fairness in love.
My Love to you,
-Giselle

 


Giselle “Gia” Bella is a 30-something woman living in Baltimore. As The Love Goddess for Black Lesbian Love Lab, she happily shares her ideas for finding and keeping your lady love. She wrote the Autumn Falls web series for Topp Bottom and published several books, including Gietic: Erotic Poems/Kinky Love Stories and Gietic II: Love and Loss

Never Fight With Your Partner Again: A Black Lesbian’s Blueprint

TheLoveGoddess

Written by Giselle Bella

Communication can break or make a relationship. This is the third in a series of articles sharing how we can improve the way we communicate with the women we love.

 

Every couple has quarrels, disagreements, disputes, clashes, arguments and even fights. What sets a healthy relationship apart from an unhealthy one is, how they fight. Take a moment and think about the word, ‘fight.’ What comes to mind? Immediately you are thinking something negative and probably even something combative. Actually, if you stop using the word, “fight” and replace it with another word, then you may see a different effect. Doesn’t it sound better when a friends asks, “What is the matter?” and you simply reply, “we had a disagreement?” Sounds even better and lightens the mood.

So, yes, I believe you don’t have to fight to be fair. Isn’t that some sort of oxymoron? Fair Fight. If you are fair, you won’t have to fight. I know it sounds simple but difficult to do. Or so it seems. The best way to avoid quarrels and clashes is to understand your partner and most of all, understand you. Here are some tips on how to fight fairly:

Learn what your triggers are in a relationship, any relationship. Be observant and aware of what your partner’s triggers are. Triggers can be anything that cause upset and are different for everyone. If you are able and willing to get into a relationship after knowing what each other’s triggers are, then you must be willing to do the work to avoid hitting those hot buttons. Once you are aware of what triggers you, then it is time to communicate together and put in place plans that will support you if ever and whenever boundaries are crossed.

Ah, yes, boundaries. Have them. Keep them. Respect them. Importantly, respect the boundaries of your partner. Be knowledgeable of what crossing a boundary with her looks like. Once you are familiar with each other and know each other’s dos and don’ts, then you have a lucid comprehension of your boundaries. Therefore, when one of you says, “you’ve crossed the boundary with me.” Stop (both of you) immediately and process that. Be still for a moment and then take your time speaking in turns.

When speaking in turns, make your point and allow her to make hers then respect her point of view. Just because your glass is half-full doesn’t mean it’s not half empty to her. Therefore, comprehend that your differences include your way of viewing things. If you find that this is more rough than easy to do, then put in place a timer system. When you notice that making your point is going nowhere or going somewhere harsh, set a time. You both must agree to this. As your relationship grows you may outgrow the timer. Then you will notice that you actually ‘take the time’ to hear each other out and listen and wait your turn before jumping in. Also, when she becomes aware that you are listening to her, she then begins to pay attention, even to herself.

Pay attention. Pay attention to what she says to you and most importantly pay attention to what you say and what your response is. You will notice that in being still and listening to her rationale, you may be presented with a third point of view and even a common ground. Pay attention to her body language. Did you just say something that made her shut down? How is her body moving and positioned? How did her facial expression change? Paying attention to these things and more, will give you an insight on where the disagreement is going and how to proceed. Shutting down may look like sudden silence, crossed arms, mood change and others alike. It may be something said or done or just the situation, but watch how she interprets the emotions and be aware of your emotions.

Emotions may be falsely interpreted. Therefore, do not get wrapped up in playing volunteer or victim. This means, say what you really mean. Do your best to speak from a place of love rather than fear and anger. You can be honest without being condemnatory and callous. Speak without being fainthearted and coy.

Ask for permission. If you have to convey to your partner how you feel about her and a specific situation, ask for permission to be honest. When you ask for permission, not only is the person allowing you to share your feelings but also they are opening themselves to receive it. When you ask for permission, you become aware that you are sharing honestly, therefore you remember to share from a place of love.

When your partner honestly shares something with you, do your best not to let it to consume you. Remember that this is her interpretation and/or point of view. The more you listen and the more you communicate in turns, the more you will know and figure out if it is something you must work on as a couple or individually. If it requires personal work and not couple work, then allow yourself the time you or your partner needs alone. Do not impose on her if she requests time alone. Once you’ve expressed your emotions, allow her time to process.

You allow her time by letting go and letting love direct you. Don’t be pushy about what you want and don’t want. Refrain from repeating yourself. You definitely will not be heard if you keep saying the same thing over-and-over. As cliché as this may sound, communication is supportive to a healthy relationship. That includes all supportive forms of communication such as talking, writing, body expressions, facial expressions and hand and body gestures. Communicate with love and from the heart. Communicate together rather from wanting to be heard. Communicate honestly.

Choose your words wisely. Refrain from saying, “I am not trying to fight with you.” Replace that with, “I want to communicate how I currently feel/view the situation or what I currently understand.” Instead of, “you make me feel…” use, “I feel…I view…My emotions.” Change phrases such as, “What you said was…” choose, “What I heard you say is…” Do not point the finger, remember that your perception is your interpretation of what happened, not necessarily what happened.

Stay tuned for part 2!

My love to you,
Giselle


Giselle “Gia” Bella is a 30-something woman living in Baltimore. As The Love Goddess for Black Lesbian Love Lab, she happily shares her ideas for finding and keeping your lady love. She wrote the Autumn Falls web series for Topp Bottom and published several books, including Gietic: Erotic Poems/Kinky Love Stories and Gietic II: Love and Loss

I Gave My Ex an STD

Living with an STD is  hard enough, but add in dating and it's near impossible.

Living with an STD is hard enough, but add in dating and it’s near impossible.

Written by Jaleesa West*

I have High-Risk HPV. I was diagnosed three years ago. I’ve shared my story with those closest to me.  My exes know.  At times, it feels like I’ve had to come out all over again.  It’s especially difficult to deal with because my ex recently received an abnormal pap smear. Horrified didn’t begin to describe my feelings.  Because of me, there is no longer a clean break between us. We’ll forever be tied by this.

In 2012, on my first visit with a new gynecologist, I was told I had it.  I went to get a second opinion from my regular family doctor and was told nothing showed up on the pap smear.  I assumed that this was the correct diagnosis and kept it moving.

I met my ex later that year and life went on. During my annual visit with my family doctor in 2014, she found that I did, in fact, have it. I was upset and confused. How did last year’s test miss it?  A few weeks later, a colposcopy was performed and I was diagnosed with mild cervical dysplasia (Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia – CIN I).

A few months later, the ex and I parted ways. It was hard because I really wanted things to work.  We went to counseling, answered relationship questionnaires, and scheduled “us time.”  All the things you’re supposed to do to make the relationship work.  But when it’s done, it’s done. We ended it after a year.  Even after the break up, we lived together for an additional five months.

I want to provide her with some answers, but all I have is a lot of regurgitated information from the CDC, the NIH, and whoever else decides it’s the hot topic of the day. More than anything, I wish I could share with her how to live with this disease. Problem is, I haven’t figured that much out for myself.

At the moment, there is no sure fire way to avoid getting it other than abstaining.

 

And even then, there’s a chance of contracting it by skin to skin contact.

How will this affect my already non-existent love life?  I’m not seeing anyone. I haven’t even tried to pursue a relationship after her. Some might say that’s probably best.  Honestly, I’m not ready for the rejection. I’m not ready to have the talk.  So in the meantime, I’m looking for a cure.  I’ve had two painful biopsies and I pray there won’t be any more in my future.

Mostly, I hope that love won’t look past me because of this. I know that there will be gloves and dental dams in my future, but I can handle that.  I just hope my next lover can too.

There aren’t many stories from lesbians (black or otherwise) giving their day-to-day accounts of living with this disease, so I’ve started a Tumblr account.  I need to know how to move forward.  There’s a chance that my body will fight it off, and I am working on taking better care of my health.  But what do I do in the meantime?  As you can see, there are more questions than answers.  My hope is that we can open communication and remove the stigma, considering 80% of us either have it, have had it, or will have it at some point in our lives.

If you’ve been diagnosed with HPV and would like to share your story with me or have questions, please check out http://lifereconsidered.tumblr.com or email me at lifereconsidered@gmail.com.  All information shared will be kept confidential.


Jaleesa West is not the author’s real name. She preferred to remain anonymous. 

Black Lesbians, Get Your Money Right Before You Make a Commitment

Beyonce doesn't play about her money.

Written by Zamara Perri

I’m sure by now we have all heard that Glory Johnson is requesting $20,000 per month in spousal support from her wife, Brittney Griner. Brittney asked for an annulment three weeks after they married. Most of you have the same reaction, which is they weren’t married for all of 20 hot seconds, why does Glory think she deserves that much money!?

It may seem preposterous to some, but it’s really not all that unusual. In fact it makes sense. Why do you think that Brittney wants to have the relationship annulled? She’s trying to protect her assets! And that’s an ass backward move, but this was probably the only way her lawyer could think to keep Brittney’s money in her own pocket.

The two fell head over heels in love and proceeded to get married despite all the major warning signs. (Getting arrested weeks before your wedding for domestic violence is normally one major clue to slow down). Don’t judge them. We’ve all done the same thing. We have wanted something or someone so much that we ignored everything that we know is wrong with the scenario.

Had either of them thought with their heads instead of their punanis, they would have signed a lovely little document called a pre-nuptial agreement.

Pre-nups stipulates who should get what and how much in the event that the relationship ends. Brittney and Glory are both businesswomen with a brand and a career that should be earning them a healthy living. To have to give some of that away to lawyers because they didn’t sign a prenuptial agreement is a silly mistake.

I don’t blame Glory for making this request as preposterous as it sounds. If she and Brittney agreed that Glory would get pregnant right away and then Brittney changed her mind, Glory is now stuck. She’s pregnant and can’t work as a basketball player. (And please don’t say Walmart is always hiring.) Why should her standard of living change because Brittney finally saw the light and decided to get the hell out of there? They are both doing what’s best for them each because they are no longer a couple, and that’s what sane people who are no longer blinded by love do—look out for their own best interests.

 

Black Lesbian Couples Are Just Like Straight People

We are no different than straight people. And we are no different than famous lesbians. Brittney and Glory may only make a little bit more money than the average black lesbian (it is the WNBA after all where these ladies make far less than those in the NBA), but we need to be just as careful.

How many of us quickly move someone into our homes without talking about who is going to pay the bills? Or how many of us move in repeatedly with a different partner without thinking about how that impacts our finances in the long term? Or how many of us play captain save-a-hoe where we take on the responsibility of someone else’s children without question because we have a big heart?

Or what about the woman who does not earn a full-time living but relies on you to pay for everything because you love taking care of your boo? I’m giving you the side eye my dominant, tomboi, stud and masculine of center sistas.

How long are you going to be okay carrying all the bills while a grown ass woman with no disabilities does nothing to ease your combined financial burdens? It’s not going to be cute for very long.

And for my femme sistas who love being a kept woman, please be real. There are some studs who really love protecting and providing, but that generally comes with strings. Nothing in this world is free.

And for the stud who is with a woman who works but you pay for everything and she lets you, think hard about that. Is it really appealing to have a woman who can’t help out your family if need be? Or to have someone who expects you to pay all the bills while she banks her entire check? What are you really getting out of that situation? The pussy can’t be that damn good.

And it’s not just about making sure that you’re both making the same amount of money. The fact is …

 

If a grown woman is not financially independent or at least grinding every day, then she is not ready for a relationship.

NEXT PAGE

Why Athletes Make The Sexiest Studs

sexy stud slacks white shoes black lesbian

Written by Zamara Perri

I’ve finally decided to lose these stubborn extra pounds that have been hanging around me like a stalker for the past five years. And every day when I go to the gym, I have fun playing “is she or isn’t she.” You know the game you play when you’re not really sure if a woman who is an athlete just has straight girl swag or if she’s actually a lesbian.

Clearly all female athletes are not lesbian and not all studs are athletes. But sometimes the sports bra and long basketball shorts really make you go, hmmm. So for all you black lesbian femmes (or studs) who are having a hard time finding the stud, tomboi or masculine woman of your dreams, go to the gym or a sporting event. I promise you, she’s there. You’re welcome. In any case, I won’t try to deconstruct the stud mystique here. But what I will do is point out some of the attractive things that athletes and studs have in common:

Swag (aka confidence)

Her swag is evident in how she carries herself. Photo courtesy of Orin Fleurimont | Vanity-Exposition

Her swag is evident in how she carries herself. Photo courtesy of Orin Fleurimont | Vanity-Exposition

You don’t generally have to convince an athlete that she is the shit. Why? Because she already knows this. Athletes love to win and therefore have a winning mentality. And she doesn’t have to announce it to everyone. Some of the sexiest female athletes and studs exude a quiet confidence that says, I can show you better than I can tell you and that is what is responsible for dozens of panties dropping whenever a stud walks by.

Next: The walk

Nikki & Amena Talk Wedding Budget and Reveal Their Most Expensive Item

Amena and Nikki's paid for their September wedding through compromises, DIYing and side hustles.

Amena and Nikki’s paid for their September wedding through compromises, DIYing and side hustles.

Nikki and Amena have been planning their wedding for about a year. For this couple, their wedding day is about  celebrating their love for each other and the love and support they have received from their family. As we get closer to the big day, we asked the couple one of the most important questions for planning a celebration of this magnitude: How much does the big day cost?

Black Lesbian Love Lab (BL3): How did you settle on a budget for your wedding?

Nikki & Amena: We both looked at each other perplexed about how to answer this question. It is difficult to answer. At the start of this planning process we knew we did not want to spend a ton of money on our wedding but we did want to have the wedding that we wanted. We started with $5,000, but as the process went on we had to increase that number for several different reasons. Eventually we decided on a list of must haves, things we could do without and things we could DIY. After doing some research, we came to a budget that we felt was manageable and would get us the wedding that we wanted.

 

BL3: What do you believe should be the most important part of your wedding day? And how much did you budget for that?

Nikki & Amena: When we talked to married people they have all told us, “The day goes by so fast.” When we had our engagement party, I remember thinking that it went by in a blur. For this reason we wanted to make sure that we captured as many special moments of this day as we could. Photography was very important to us and we were not willing to skimp on this part of the wedding. We budgeted $2,500 for this expense. This is an example of having to decide between a must have and a thing we can do without. We had to decide between photography and videography because we could not afford both.

 

BL3: If money were no object, what would you do differently in planning for your wedding? 

Nikki & Amena: We would have a band, a classic car and a videographer.

BL3: What item (s) did you have to cut from your wedding to accommodate your budget? How much did that save you $ wise?

 

Nikki & Amena: We cut a videographer because good quality videographers start about around $3,000. This was simply not in our budget.

 

BL3: What were you not willing to compromise on to make your wedding special and memorable? 

Nikki & Amena: As we said before we knew that not having a photographer was not an option. We also knew we wanted a wedding cake. The alternatives to cake did not appeal to us.

Marathon Love: Towana and Jonette

Written by Towana Bacchus-Yates

My wife Jonette and I met in college, but it wasn’t love at first sight. As we got to know each other, things changed. For our first date, we went to a Mexican restaurant. It was also my birthday so she made them sing to me as I stood in a chair with a huge sombrero on.

Over the years, we’ve collected many special memories and grown more in love. I love that we like to travel, that we can laugh at and with each other. I love that we are the strength for the other when one is weak and that we truly are best friends.

One of my favorite memories was when we got married after being together for 16 years! We went on vacation with Olivia Travel to the Dominican Republic where our friends from England met us. I was turning 40 the next year and each month, J would give me a gift. The month was May and on the last night of the trip, J asked me if I wanted to open my May gift. Of course I said, yes! She had made me a photo book with pictures of our different travels. On the last page was a picture of the Statue of Liberty and it read: “I look forward to taking you to my birthplace tomorrow.” (J was born in Manhattan). I was dumbfounded.
J’s birthday is May 20, so I had taken the day off as I always do, but this year we were going to New York. Unbeknownst to me, she arranged with my bosses to give me a few extra days off. New York was the first state we had visited since marriage became legal in some states. “Sooo,” J asked. “[While] we are there, do you want to get married?”

That was all she had to say. As soon as we landed in New York, we started our journey of picking out a dress, registering for a marriage license, and looking for flowers. On May 21, 2014 we were officially married!

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What made this day special is that it was just us. I know that sounds crazy, but it was intimate. We had 100 percent of each other’s attention. The day before we married, (J’s birthday) her mom called to wish her happy birthday and when J told her we were getting married, she gave us her blessings and wished she was there to share it with us. After we married, we went to Central Park and enjoyed the park.
The only wedding tradition that we kept is we both wore white. A southern girl with dreams of a spectacular wedding was thrown out the window. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!


 

As of January 6, 2015, Towana and Jonette’s marriage was legally recognized in their home state of Florida and as of June 26, 2015, their marriage is recognized nationwide.

Six Men Every Black Lesbian Needs in Her Life

 

Written by Zamara Perri

Every black lesbian needs a good black man in her life!

Every black lesbian needs a good black man in her life!

For the past few months, I’ve had some of the best experiences a black lesbian could ever hope to have with several men. People like to stereotype and say that lesbians don’t like men. I like them fine. I’m just not interested in sleeping with or making a life with one. The most important thing about these men is that I don’t have to hide the fact that I am a lesbian or feel uncomfortable around them. I also don’t have to worry about them hitting on me because it is clear that I’m in a relationship and with whom.

So, yes, I’m happy to know these incredible men. They are not family but some of them come pretty damn close. Here are my six favorite men, and I believe that every black lesbian needs to have these guys in her life too!

  1. The Mechanic: My car has issues. It’s old and paid for and I’m cheap. My mechanic came highly recommended and is a hard working brotha who is kind, honest, respectful and flexible. He tells me what is critical and what can wait.
  1. The Handyman: This tall, handsome drink of water, is also respectful and a good communicator. He’s very polite and has a great attitude. My honey and I are not particularly handy people so when we need things fixed like a leaky faucet, a fan that doesn’t work, etc., the handyman is our guy.
  1. The roofer: This gentleman is also really cheerful, understanding and flexible. What got me is when he said, “You don’t have to pay for anything up front until you are happy and if you’re not happy, I’ll come back until you are!” I like that! He is a man that stands by his work. He took me out on our roof and showed me what he was doing and why he recommended what he did and he spoke English. And while he was up there, he cleaned our gutters. I liked dealing with him because neither my partner or me know anything about roofs. It was important to us to have someone we trusted, guiding us.
  1. The barber: My partner loves a nice, clean cut without being hassled for being a woman or a lesbian in a shop full of men. She has a great barber who is not only a barber, but a big brother. They met through church and remained good friends. I love this big, cuddly teddy bear of a dude. He treats everyone with respect and gets respect just from being a truly decent guy. We never feel uncomfortable being the only lesbians in a barbershop full of guys. And it’s not just about us being his friends, he makes sure everyone feels appreciated and respected when he is around.
  1. The co-worker: My co-worker is a handsome, alpha male type. He’s very passionate, but also very kind and sensitive. When the Supreme Court ruled to support gay marriage nationally, he was the first to let me know. He was so excited and said, “It’s about damn time.” He also gives great advice and support.
  1. The gay guy: Some people say that gay men and lesbians don’t really get along because they have so little in common. Mainly lesbians are interested in women and gay men are interested in men. Regardless of the theory, for some reason I’ve always had close gay male friends. When I’m with my gay friends, I can be very open and free to be myself. They understand the struggle of being an anomaly and what it means to stand out as a black homosexual in the overwhelmingly Christian black community. There are certain things that I can talk to about that my straight BFFs will never really understand. They also understand white male privilege in a way that white queers will never understand. In turns they serve as counselors, confidantes and since we tend to have a dark sense of humor, we often end up laughing hysterically.

Of course this list is not exhaustive! I’d love to hear from you! Who are the men in your life that you rely on for support and regularly cherish?