Dear Lesbian Love & Advice: My Girl’s Homophobic Family Uninvited Me to Thanksgiving Dinner

Should you choose between your partner and your family during the holidays?

The holidays can be so difficult for gay people who want to spent time with their families AND their partners.

Dear Lesbian Love & Advice: My girlfriend and I have been together over a year and decided it was time that I meet her family. She met mine this past July. So, we made plans to go to make that happen this Thanksgiving. Two hours before we were supposed to leave, she gets a phone call from her mother saying it wasn’t a good idea and that “people” would be uncomfortable.

She was told that we could still come to Cleveland but she would have to leave me at the hotel when she came for dinner. Needless to say, she was crushed, hurt, pissed, confused.

It’s easy to say they have to accept or we just move on in life without them, but that’s her family. They have been there for her always.

I have no idea what to do from here. My family and their views are very different. I come from a very accepting and open-minded family and they welcomed her and I with open arms. How to do navigate this situation?

 

Aryka’s Advice: Go to Cleveland! Enjoy your trip. She can go have dinner with them, let them know how she feels if and then come back to the hotel with you. It’s not what was planned or what you want but stuff happens, and we can’t control other people.

Just make the best of the situation. Her being angry at them or refusing to see them isn’t going to do anything but make it harder for them to eventually accept you, and eventually they will. If they see she loves you and that you are happy, they’ll soon want to meet the person helping brighten up her life.

 

Dani’s Advice: Rebel standpoint: F**k their comfort level. They’re only worried about the image it will portray about their family– their daughter’s gay. They need to deal with it.

Don’t let them control your relationship, it’s like being in the closet. I would go and eat four plates. I’m sure you’ve come to far to be silenced.

 

Nia’s Advice: I would be highly upset if I were left behind in the hotel room while my partner went to spend Thanksgiving with her family. I would not even travel to their town.

 


Dear Lesbian Love and Advice  shares the most interesting questions and advice from Facebook.com/LesbianLoveAdvice. The questions and responses have been reprinted with permission.

Alana and Lori: “Matching Tattoos Are Overrated, Let’s Get Matching Scars”

Lori and Alana selfie

Written by Zamara Perri

Lori and Alana's Tinder profile pics were used to announce that their kidneys matched..

Lori announced that her kidney was a perfect match for Alana by mocking up their Tinder profile pics.

This holiday season at least one lesbian is receiving the best gift ever. The video of Lori Interlicchio announcing to her girlfriend, Alana Duran, that not only did their hearts match but their kidneys as well has gone viral and for good reason—it’s reminding us of what true love is all about.

The video shows Alana going through a sweet gift box with all of Alana’s favorite goodies. Lori wrote on one of the cards in the gift box, “I’m making you choose between me and that damn dialysis machine. Tattoos are overrated. Let’s get matching scars.” At the very the bottom of the box were pictures from their Tinder profiles announcing that their kidneys were a perfect match. Alana’s emotional expression was priceless:

 

We talked to Lori and Alana on the eve of Thanksgiving while they spent the holidays with Alana’s family. This is what they told us:

It was the end of summer when both Lori and Alana were looking for someone to hang out with so naturally they turned to the Tinder dating app. Lori had just moved back to New York and had been hanging out with her sister and her sister’s girlfriend. Alana had also been looking for friends and maybe something more.

Little did they know what that something more would be. Alana, a college student studying psychology, has struggled with Lupus pretty much all her life. The autoimmune disease has meant extensive hospital stays, near heart failure, a hip replacement and dialysis for the past four years.

An Accidental Meeting

Lori and Alana pumpking picking

Alana does not let her illness get in the way of being active and enjoying life

Alana had a corny message on her Tinder profile that immediately made Lori chuckle. Lori messaged Alana and they began texting. They officially met Labor Day weekend while they were on Fire Island in New York. Due to a communication break down the two had no idea that they would end up in the same bar at the same time. They were so excited to run into each other. The two would take breaks from the dancing, loud music and drinks to chat.

At the end of the day as Lori and her sister were leaving to catch the ferry, Lori asked Alana for a kiss “It was a pretty good kiss,” Lori said.

Alana asked Lori she wanted to go on another date where they didn’t have to yell at each other. They ended up going to a cheese restaurant and played video games afterwards, which Lori admitted that she was terrible at.

Alana never hid the fact that she was sick. Lori remembers that Alana casually brought it up on Fire Island.

“I do dialysis at home,” Alana said. “It’s a lot of equipment and I can’t hide it.”

Lori said, “When she brought it up, she didn’t fit the bill of someone who was sick. She goes tot the gym all the time and she’s fit. I super respect the fact that she never let her being on dialysis be an excuse or hold her back from doing anything she wanted to do like travel or hiking.”

Lori, a former Human Rights Campaign coordinator and a regular blood donor who coordinated blood drives, was big on helping anyone in need. So when Lori heard that Alana had been on a waitlist for a kidney for four years, she wondered what she could do to help. Alana had finally gotten a kidney in May but because she was in the hospital with the flu, she couldn’t accept the kidney. That had been a major disappointment.

“I asked my friends if it was crazy that I had been on four dates with this girl and wanted to donate a kidney,” Lori said. “I also asked myself if this was someone else and not the person I was dating would I be comfortable doing this? I talked to Alana about getting tested and the rest was history.”

Getting tested for a kidney is a long process and even though they may match, other health concerns could prevent the process from going forward. So until she was absolutely certain that there were no hiccups, Lori did not want to get Alana’s hopes up again.

What Happens if They Breakup?

Lori and Alana selfie

Lori and Alana met over Labor Day weekend and will forever be part of each others’ lives.

“It’s a weird dynamic,” Lori said looking at her girlfriend. “You’re still allowed to break up with me. I still have to do dishes. I feel like any relationship where you’re getting an organ from someone can throw things off.”

Alana said, “We were laying in bed one day when we talked about that if something were to happen between now and February. She said, ‘I still want to give this to you.’”

Alana said, “Even if doesn’t work out and we do break up, she’s still willing to give me a kidney and that’s amazing!”

Lori says, “I feel feel like this is going to bring us closer. I feel like it’s nice to know that she’s literally always going to be part of me. It makes our relationship pretty real.”

 

Alana’s Family Welcomed Lori With Open Arms

Alana says her family automatically loved Lori. They had watched her go through hard times and saw her almost die so to have a perfect stranger willing to donate a kidney so her quality of life could be better was the best gift ever.

Lori’s family was also a bit skeptical, but once they met Alana, they loved her too and supported Lori giving her Alana the kidney.

 

The surgery is scheduled for February 2016.

Stop Making Up to Break Up: 9 Reasons To Bounce, Permanently

Giving up is hard to do.

Stop the make-up-to-break-up cycle. Photo courtesy of Black Naturals.

Written by Femme Noire/Get Your Life Girl

We all know someone (or we are that someone) who is caught up in the rapture of make up to break up. You find yourself examining the conditions of your relationship and your love life becomes a repetitive mantra of you saying statements like, ‘I love her, but then again I’m not IN love with her’. “She said she would change but I just know she won’t.’ ‘Maybe things will get better if I stick it out’; and a laundry list of more miserable thoughts about your partner.

 

At one time or another we have all been in the conundrum of figuring out if the relationship we are in is even worth the effort and fight.

The running joke is lesbians love the make-up-to-break-up monotony and it takes them a long time to actually break up. (I don’t know why people always use us as the prime example of make-up-to-break-up scenarios when plenty of straights and gay men do it too, but I digress).

 

Admittedly there are plenty of lesbians who do practice this dating cycle. Knowing when to let go is quite the battle. We always hear that love is worth fighting for and relationships take work. If this is the case, how does one decipher when the work has crossed over into “this is tew murch” territory? Below are nine ways that will help you know when to cut your losses and get gone for good:

 

  1. She’s a cheater and she begs you to take her back, you take her back and in six months it happens all over again. Is it worth it to sacrifice your sanity just to appease your mate in the hopes that one day she will see your value and decide to commit herself wholeheartedly to you? The answer is based on an individual basis. It’s simple, some chicks will deal with complete fuckery and some won’t. If you know you deserve better you will be with someone who will do better. We’ve seen ourselves, friends, and family members dragged and trodden by love. As cliché as it sounds, love should never hurt. If it hurts and you are single one week and booed up again the next, then maybe you need to think about permanently having shorty put everything she owns in a box to the left.

 

  1. Did you move into the relationship too fast? Don’t let them pretty ass teeth and them cute bowlegs with a perfectly pert ass sitting right on top fool you. When you meet someone new, she is pulling out all the stops to prove to you why you should choose her. It’s like a job interview. Only a fool would go into an interview and let the interviewee know that while they will start the job giving it 100%, in two to three months they will be lucky if they give 20%. The same applies with new love interest. You are both enamored with each other and admiration causes those eyes to go blind to the early “not so cool” signs you may see in a person.  While you may be sincere you have no way of proving whether her intentions are genuine. If stories don’t add up and your gut is telling you that you may be dealing with a complete looney tune, you better take heed. Before you know it you can be in love and in a relationship that may take you on hellish emotional roller coaster ride.

 

  1. Have you been in the relationship for so long and feel stuck? This is tricky because long term relationships have up and down moments. Sometimes you are madly in love and can’t stand being away from her for one second. And other times you may go in the bathroom and just sit on the john and use your phone for an hour just to be away from her. All courses in life have phases. There is a big difference in being in love but going through a slow patch and being out of love and just staying with her because it’s been a decade. If you two are regularly feeling like you are trying to find ways to get back to the love but it’s just not working (counseling, vacations, date nights) then maybe it’s time to access the possibility of moving on from what may feel like a pseudo-relationship. Stop living in the same house together and taking “breaks” to try to rekindle the flame.

 

  1. Does the relationship bring more pain than joy? Sometimes we are blinded by the past happy moments. If you feel frustrated, upset and unhappy all the time, then perhaps this is not the right person for you. Maybe their current actions towards you are different and they are not treating you the same. You keep relying on the past and hoping they will change back to the person they once were. You are hurting and they could give a shit less. You are being taken for granted and they continue to manipulate you for their own personal gain. Stop breaking your own heart and move on.

 

  1. You keep expecting each other to change. Change comes from within. If an individual doesn’t see a problem in the way they are doing things then your words will fall on deaf ears. If you are staying in a relationship and expecting someone to change, then you are in the relationship for all the wrong reasons. You are trying to make them fit your expectations rather than accept them as they are. Stop the make-up-to-break-up song and dance because they won’t change to appease you.

 

  1. Any abuse (verbal or physical)? You need to bounce. Simply put. Ain’t no hotline bling for someone who is supposed to love you yet they are abusive towards you. Don’t work it out; get out. Avoid her like the plague.

 

  1. Do either of you put any effort into the relationship? Chile when she ask you to eat her out and it feels like an absolute chore and all you can think is it must be tangy twat Tuesday than you know it’s a done deal. Ha! I kid, I kid. Relationships take constant work–full of romance, communication, and spontaneity. Women love the element of courtship and surprise no matter how long you have been together. All women always want to feel special. Making someone feel special takes effort. It doesn’t have to extravagant measures to let your partner know you care. It’s the little things that count. With the busyness of life we may not always show our lover enough attention. It’s bound to happen.  If you are continuously communicating that you don’t feel valued or loved, or you feel like you are the only one who puts forth the effort and she still does not meet you half way then maybe it is time to reevaluate if she is the person for you.  You leave her, she does better to get you back but after she gets you back she reverts back to her old habits and now you are unhappy again. Move right along.

 

  1. Does the relationship hold you back from individual growth? ‘Nah boo don’t go to school.’ ‘Why you want a new job when the one you are at pays the bills.’ ‘You probably can’t do that.’ A lover should constantly push you to be a better you. Life is constant evolution and as we get older and wiser our brain seeks new ways to improve where we stand in life.  If she isn’t your biggest cheerleader then who else is? She should have your ass feeling like Kim Possible out this mother. Jealousy can exist in relationships too. If she never supports any new goals you have set for yourself, which will ultimately improve your unit as a couple, then you probably need to leave her stagnant ass right where she is at. Stop breaking up with her every time you sign up for college courses and then taking her back after she’s convinced you to drop out.

 

  1. Do you both just feel the same way?  Do you find you have to replay the happy moments of the past to convince yourself to prolong your relationship? Your relationship exists in the current moment. Your decision to stay with a person should be based on your current feelings and the present state of the relationship. Things change, people change. If the feeling are gone, they are gone. Sometimes we stay in situations for companionship but what is a house if it’s not a home? Love and partnership is supposed to feel like home. Just because you love the person, does not mean you have to be with the person. Giving up is so hard to do, but it might be the only way you two can truly be happy.

 

Don’t get caught up in a permanent make-up-to-break-up wheel. If you are constantly splitting up with your boo it’s time to get serious with yourself and question if the seesaw love is worth it. Time is something you cannot get back. Time stands still for no one. You can do bad all by yourself.


This article was first published on November 17, 2015 by Get Your Life Girl and is edited and republished here with permission.

Dear Lesbian Love & Advice: I’m Too Grown for Scrubs

No scrubs.

I’m I asking for too much by wanting a woman on my level?

Dear Lesbian Love and Advice:

I’m in my mid 30s. I’m grown, make good money, established and confident. I recently realized that I want my partner to bring as much as I do to the table or I’m not happy. I’m talking $45,000 a year plus, responsible (pay her bills first), caring about her partner’s feelings/wants/needs, sacrifices and compromises, amazing sex and makes me feel like a Queen. I have no issues making her feel like my King. Is it wrong of me to expect so much from my partner?~No Scrubs

 

Andrea’s Advice: No but the financial part always kills me. No two people are equal. You my friend will never be happy. What happens when she starts making more than you and you’re all “I’m love” and she makes YOU kick rocks? Love someone for them. They can be independent and still pay their bills.

If my wife was like that when my cancer got bad and I had to quit working and she bounced, man o man I would have been crushed.

Be single is my advice for you. What happened to the world where people were in love and that’s all they worried about?

 

Shay’s Advice: If someone made 9 dollars an hour, genuinely loved me and I never felt like I had to question them, they accepted everything I came with, then that 9 dollars an hour is out the window. Money come and go but real, loyal people are hard to find. I can carry my own, period. So, I’m not counting anyone’s coins at the end of the day. If I really love you and I’m rocking with you, wherever you fall short I got you.

 

Treena’s Advice: Only $45k though? Shoot I’m asking for $60k plus, but I guess that depends on what region of the United States you live in, right? Lol.

I don’t see anything wrong with setting your standards to having someone who brings just as much as you to the table. 

We all do love an independent woman, right? But at the same time, don’t cheat yourself because they fall short from it. You have to weigh it out. You can get with someone who makes $100k and they end up unemployed, you feel me?

Nicole’s Advice: Meet and exceed me and we can grow from there. You can never be wrong for holding yourself as valuable. People need to understand if she built herself to a level she deserves someone on it! I am with ya! Except that king and queen stuff! I am just married! Lol.

Lynda’s advice: Nobody wants to HELP raise a grown woman.

Don’t drop your standards sweetheart. Most of these women that are crying about money shows you their worth.

They have the latest Jordans but no life insurance, fronting on social media in their homie’s cribs, riding in the passenger seat of someone else’s ride.


 

Dear Lesbian Love and Advice  shares the most interesting questions and advice from Facebook.com/LesbianLoveAdvice. The questions and responses have been reprinted with permission.

Following Society’s Rules Kept Me in an Abusive Relationship

Temeka and Carol never stopped loving each other
Temeka and Carol met and fell in love in college.

Temeka and Carol met and fell in love in college.

Written by Temeka Burton

In 2001 was a freshman at a small historically black Christian college in South Carolina and she was a sophomore when I first met her. I watched Carol for about two months and I made the first move on her. It was her walk, talk, and natural beauty that had me love struck, and I showed up everywhere she went until she noticed me.

I fell so deep in love until the only thing I did was breathe, sleep, and eat this chick. We were together for about six months. At the time we both met, we each had one child.

My son’s father got mad because I stopped coming home, and he told my mom that I was dating a female and that’s why no one could ever find me. After about a couple of months, my parents stepped in and threatened to never see me again.

I’m my daddy’s little girl and the only girl, so he said if I’m going to be with a woman, I can count him out of my life. If anyone knew me then, they can tell you that I valued that man’s opinion above all else. I couldn’t go on without having my father in my life and at the time I was only 19.

I went to Carol’s dorm room and told her once I left school, I was not coming back. She was devastated, she cried and begged me not to leave. The hurt in her eyes felt like a dagger in my heart. (We still discuss this 14 years later.) She tells me her whole world crumbled that night.

I left school and pretended like this never happened.

 

My Children Need Their Father, Right?

I started dating a guy who I stayed with for 10 years, and for the last 8 of them I knew it was not for me. By the end of those years, I had four babies and my motto was, I didn’t want my children to be raised without a dad.

I first met my kids’ father when we were in the 6th grade. So when I left Carol, I just went back to a familiar place, that was him.

The first two years were okay. I managed to suppress my feelings for females until I almost fooled myself.

My kids’ father knew I had been intimate with a female and knew I wanted Carol back. In 2005 I told him I was no longer happy, but we could stay together for our kids’ sake.

I endured physical, sexual, and mental abuse from him. He made me feel like if I left him, no one would want me because I had four kids, so I stayed.

He started staying home more and I found myself flinching when he touched me or tried to kiss me. When it was time for bed, I would fall asleep on the couch; and if I was in the bed, I was up by the time he came to lay down.

My Mother Gave Me Permission to Leave

In 2010 I was so depressed my mother was like, “I see you are not happy, so leave or go to therapy.”

I started being angry and I started preparing myself mentally, physically and financially to leave. I started talking to my kids telling them that, “mommy and daddy will not be living together.” I never dressed up or did my hair so I started pampering myself so I could feel like I was beautiful.

How I Reconnected With Her

Married Black Lesbian Political Strategist Makes OUT Magazine’s OUT 100 List

Aisha Moodie Mills made Out 100 list of LGBT people

Aisha Moodie-Mills made Out Magazine’s list of top 100 LGBT people

Aisha Moodie-Mills is a trendsetter in many ways. She and her wife, Danielle Moodie-Mills were the first lesbian couple to be featured in Essence magazine in 2010. After working together to bring same-sex marriage to the nation’s capital, they were also the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in Washington, D.C.

Earlier this year, she became the first black and first black lesbian to become CEO of the Lesbian and Gay Victor Fund, the nation’s largest resource for lesbian and gay public officials.

Aisha tells Out magazine that she accepted the position because, “I believe that the key to equality is representation. If you are not at the table, then you are on the menu.”

 

No wonder she made Out Magazine’s top list of 100 fascinating LGBT people! Check out this video of Danielle interviewing her wife! Aisha talks about the importance of coming out to her family and in her professional, political circles.

 

Kerri & Neicha: From a MySpace Friendship to a Soul-Driven Love

Kerri and Neicha smile happily.
Kerri and Neicha Smith-Osei smile big.

Kerri and Neicha Smith-Osei got married on News Year’s Eve in 2013.

Kerri and Neicha remember December 31, 2013 as one of the best days of their lives. It was not just the beginning of a New Year, it was also the beginning of their married lives. Three months after they realized they had fallen in love with each other, Kerri and Neicha became lawfully wedded wives. It may seem like they were moving way too quickly, but for these two life coaches, their wedding was right on time. Below Kerri shares how she met and fell in love with her wife, Neicha:

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

Kerri Smith-Osei: We met on Myspace a million years ago … OK, over more than 10 years ago to be more technical (remember Myspace … ha-ha!). Neicha friended me back then and we communicated as friends for all of those years.

Then fast forward to the later part of 2013, it was then that everything SHIFTED. We had become close friends over the years before we pursued a relationship. We were clueless we would actually end up together. We were both scared of losing our friendship should a relationship be a disaster … It happened very organically with us.

Our conversations changed over time, the way we looked at each other (literally) started changing. And, honestly the best way we know how to describe it is, “we didn’t see each other until we saw each other” — we had gone to the beach (my favorite place) like we normally did from time to time and it was that fateful day that we both felt a little spark, but didn’t immediately say anything. It was sort of odd. We didn’t know what to make of it.

We didn’t talk about it at first, but that FEELING seemed to grow and VERY quickly. It grew to the point that we just couldn’t ignore it. We would stare at each other and then get all shy. Then, finally we had a conversation about what was happening and how undeniable it seemed to be…….then we decided to take the plunge. And, the rest, as they say, is OURstory!

BL3: Tell us about your first date. Who asked the other out and where did you go?

Kerri: The word “date” feels so formal and it’s really hard to pinpoint the “first time,” but, if we had to choose an actual day it was yes, another day at the beach and it was me who asked her to go. There were no BIG plans in store, simply let’s go and just be and enjoy each other. Sort of reminiscent of our life … We just go with the flow and enjoy each other.

 

“We Knew We Wanted a Forever Kind of Love”

BL3: When did you know that you were in love and wanted to make a commitment?

Kerri: We knew we were in love pretty quickly. There was no hard and fast timeline for us of how long we should wait to make a lifelong commitment.

Life is just too short and we had already been in relationships that we once thought were “the one” so after looking at what was most important to us, we went from being in a “relationship” to getting married within a short period of time.

Again, because we had all this history, we already knew the most important things about each other and we had similar relationship and life goals, which was and continues to be so important. Many people like the idea of love or falling in love but never stop to think that unless you continue to put in the work daily and are prepared to do that consistently no matter what life throws at you, that “love” can fade. We knew we wanted a forever kind of love that could withstand any test and so we pursued that once we said the words out loud.

BL3: Why was it important to you to get married?

Kerri: It was important for us to get married because we both knew that was an end goal for both us. It was also important that we were legal in every way possible so we had equal rights. We wanted to start a family, make financial investments together and plan for our future and getting married legally would afford us the right to do all of those things without worry that one of us would be denied any benefits. Plus, Neicha has some health challenges and we wanted to make sure that I would not be denied access to her for medical reasons, hospital stays, etc.,  and that I could make pertinent medical decisions should anything happen. Finally, we just didn’t see a point in waiting no matter what anyone else thought. We wanted to be married and so we got married.

Learn more about their wedding day.

Transformation Tuesday: A Diabetes Scare Put Her on the Right Track

Sharon Hume's before and after photos.

When Sharon Hume committed to taking better care of her self she saw significant weight loss.

Sharon Hume knows a thing or two about relationships. The most important one for this single woman living in Oxon Hill, Md., is the one with herself. Sharon has committed to loving herself more by taking care of her health. Below she talks about how she loved herself to a healthier weight:

Black Lesbian Love Lab (BL3): You recently lost a significant amount of weight. How much did you lose?

Sharon: I lost around 55 pounds. It may not seem like a lot but it sure felt like it.

BL3: Had you always been overweight?

Sharon: I have always been bigger, but it’s never been to my satisfaction. The last time I’ve weighed less than 200 pounds was over 17 years ago. It’s very uncomfortable to gain weight like that, and then … life! You’re too busy to do anything about it, and the pounds continue to pile on.

BL3: I know you mentioned that you recently became single; some people say you gain weight in a relationship. Was it true for you?

Sharon: Many people gain weight in relationships. You go out, dine, drink together, and not to mention, some home cooked meals. Next thing you know, you’re 10 pounds heavier than six months ago.

BL3: Do you remember when you realized that you needed to do something about your weight gain?

Sharon: It was right after my mom passed away in 2010. My weight ballooned to 286 pounds. At my doctor’s visit, the doctor said that my A1C level (a test for diabetes) was off the charts. I had never heard of that before, but the moment she said “diabetic”, it opened my eyes. I immediately started changing my eating habits.

BL3: How did you feel being overweight? Did you feel limited in anyway?

Sharon: I felt tired all the time. I also smoked cigarettes, ate a lot of carbs, and I didn’t know it at that time, but I also had Sleep Apnea, which was contributing to the weight gain. Because my sleep pattern was interrupted when I stopped breathing periodically while sleeping, I would wake up exhausted, which would make me always hungry, for I was eating for energy.

BL3: Did being overweight negatively/positively affect your relationship?

Sharon: Most of the time, I was told that I snored loudly. Other than that, there was no impact that could be viewed as negative.

BL3: What was the first step you took towards being healthier? How difficult was that for you?

Sharon: The first thing was removing ALL complex carbs from my diet. I researched the ATKINS diet and the program said to only consume 25-30g of carbs a day for 2 weeks. That’s very strict. You’d be surprised as to what you can/cannot eat. However, I was so pleased with the results that I continued the program for six weeks. After that, I went back to the gym. When I started going to the gym, I was already down 12lbs from the diet, and the remaining came off after going to the gym.

BL3: What was your motivation for being healthier?

Sharon: I was not interested in taking insulin for the rest of my life.

BL3: What kind of support did you get from your then-partner, friends and family?

Sharon: I always received positive reinforcements. My girlfriend always made meals without carbs for me, being that I wouldn’t leave work until the evening. Friends are always supportive.

BL3: What would you like women interested in dating you to know about your new healthy lifestyle?

Sharon: I’ve always been a picky eater. It’s just a little worse … lol

BL3: Any advice to other women looking to lose weight and becoming healthier?

Sharon: The key is your eating habits. It’s 20 percent exercise and 80 percent eating habits. You must limit your carbohydrate intake and burn as many calories (if not more) than you consume. Drink lots of water. Your body needs to sweat. You also cannot go wrong with cardio. Take your time and don’t get discouraged. Once you get in the groove, you will be unstoppable!


We would love to share stories of other black lesbian women and black lesbian couples making an effort to live a healthier lifestyle. To share your story, send an email to editor@blacklesbianlovelab.com.

6 Ways Black Lesbians Can Stay Black and Proud When Your Partner is Not

Written by Amy Abugo Ongiri

white woman embracing her black female lover

Dating a woman of another race can be beautiful but also come with some challenges.

Dating is hard these days and if you’re dating interracially, it can be harder to stay true to you. In an interracial relationship, normal relationship issues can be compounded by the stress of difference and discrimination.

Just ask Roca, a stud from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, who is open to dating any type of woman, but sees discrimination as something that has to be negotiated in these interracial relationships.

She says, “The hardest part about dating in interracial relationships is still defending yourself as a person. As a person of color, you’re judged, just for being different in color, race, and sex. People believe when they see a Caucasian person and a person color, automatically the Caucasian one is being taking advantage of and the colored one has to be up to no good. You find you’re defending yourself just to ask a simple question. Even paying a bill at a counter, you’ll give your hard earn money, but the change or even the polite conversation that you have started has now been shifted to your Caucasian counterpart because for whatever reason in their little world you’re not deserving of that respect. I guess in a way respect is really the hardest thing about dating in interracial relationships. Whether it’s from your counterpart or in society.”

Binky, a biracial queer identified woman from Oakland, California, has a different experience. She says, “Coming from a multicultural family in the Bay, the best part (about interracial dating) is it feels natural and honest. Like two humans relating to one another.”

Shana, a femme from Washington, D.C., dates women of other races to keep her options open. “There are lots of great things about dating black women,” she says. “I don’t think I’d recommend interracial dating automatically to every friend. But since Black women get fewer online dating responses than any other group, it makes sense to be open to dating smart, caring, sexy women who fight for black lives, even if they’re not actually black. What doesn’t make sense is settling for anyone who’s not good enough for you, no matter their race (or gender).”

Shana adds, “I am never more Black than when my lover isn’t.”

So, how do you as a black lesbian stay rooted in your blackness when dating a woman of a different race? Try these six tips:

Shana and Eva have been together for more than a decade.

Shana and Eva have been together for more than a decade.

1. Stay True to You. This is good advice in any relationship, but in relationships where there are a lot of differences you can be tempted to lose yourself and your own values too much. If the person that you are dating belongs to the dominant culture, things can be even harder. Shana says that “working through internalized racism and practicing self love” is the hardest part about dating interracially.

She says: “Loving someone who looks like you, can reinforce your own sense of self worth as a black woman. Loving someone who’s not black, especially a white woman, requires me to work harder to remind myself of my own beauty and value when confronted with a society that constantly tells me that I am neither beautiful, nor valuable.”

Dating involves a lot of compromise but don’t ever compromise on the truth of who you are.

2. Keep Your Connection to Your Community. Whether its friends, biological family, or chosen community, it is our communities that tend to make us who we are. In the midst of the excitement of a relationship, it is vital to maintain a strong and consistent sense of who you are, so don’t lose track of your community ties. Attend your family reunion, call your gay cousin on the phone or volunteer at your local community center to keep those connections strong.

Ashley and Karen have been married six years

Ashley and Karen have been married six years.

3. Celebrate Your Culture Every Day. Don’t wait for Black History Month or Kwanzaa to enjoy being Black and share that joy with others. We’ve got thousands of years of culture to enjoy and share, so make sure to do it even if your partner wasn’t born into our culture.

Shana says, “I’ve grown to appreciate how much I’ve learned about my own relationship to my culture and identity by seeing how someone else relates—or doesn’t—to theirs. As a bonus, you might have some new experiences and grow.”

4. Remember Your Ancestors. They didn’t struggle and survive so their struggle could be forgotten. Take lessons and heart from what your grandma and grandpa taught you. Remember those we’ve lost recently and those whose names have been lost to us. Even if you don’t have any family connections or good family memories, African American lesbians have a long and strong history of s/heroes to honor from Audre Lorde to Gladys Bentley. Spend some time building an altar to honor your ancestors and you will also honor yourself.

Amy and Leah have been married for five years

Amy, the author, and Leah have been married for five years

5. Don’t Let Sexual Stereotypes Guide Your Relationship. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of weird ideas about African American sexuality in mainstream culture. (Anybody who has ever been on any predominantly white dating site probably knows what I mean.)

A lot of people will be interested in you to fulfill some fantasy they have about Black people.

Binky says, “The hardest part about dating as a mixed person is, worrying that you’re being fetishized. I have been fetishized by people from many different races. I don’t wanna be anyone’s first experience with a different race or especially first time with a black woman.”

Don’t let yourself fall victim to the idea that you have to meet someone else’s preconceived notions about how or who we fuck. Binky’s advice? “Relate to the heart, not the skin” and your partner should as well.

6. Take Space for Yourself. In addition to spending time with your love, spend time with yourself. You can’t love someone else if you don’t start with a healthy dose of self-love first! Remember as Audre Lorde said: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.”


Amy Ongiri is an African American genderqueer stud who is a professor and director of film studies. She has published in a variety of academic publications including in The Journal of African American History and American Literature and also published Spectacular Blackness, a book about the Black Arts movement.

I said Yes to the Dress and to Our Imperfect Love

Desiree shows off her average wedding dress

Even though she is no where near average, Desiree chose an average wedding dress.

Written by Desiree Brandon

As a little girl, I never dreamed of getting married. Marriage was for people like my mom and dad. They met on a blind date that snowballed into 19 years of beautiful bliss.

I think I never dreamed of marriage and weddings, because at the time when most little girls would be daydreaming of their future, my family was fighting an uphill battle in the very real present. My father had pancreatic cancer for most of my childhood and passed away a few days before my 10th birthday. And while that may sound tragic, I learned two things from my parent’s relationship: love is unconditional and imperfect.

As a teenager, I watched my mom move on with her life, and I had an epiphany: Love and marriage don’t always go together. You can love someone wholeheartedly, and never marry her. You can also marry someone you don’t love. I didn’t want either scenario to become my life.

I knew if I were ever going to get married, it would have to be a love like what my dad had for my mom. But as I started the process of coming out to myself as a lesbian, I was met with the reality that (at the time) marriage was NOT an option. I dealt with that fact, and moved on. And while I wanted to get married eventually, it wasn’t as important as the love.

 

While I was a sophomore at Howard University in Washington, D.C., I found the love of my life. And after spending two years developing and building our lives together, we found a tiny rose garden in Philadelphia, said our own vows, and never looked back. Or so I thought.

 

Last November on a trip home to Arizona, my other half asked me to marry her officially. She was met with an emphatic “YES”, as I knew I have what my parents had: love that is both unconditional and imperfect.

 

Wedding planning is hard IF you care about the feelings or aesthetics of your guests that will be attending. Wedding planning for us was fairly easy. Finding the dress was not.

 

 

How I found My Wedding Dress

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I started my search at the cattle call of all brides, David’s Bridal. I hated EVERY dress I saw. I was a bit discouraged. My partner, Marisol, who sat through hours of me trying on dresses, called the store her own “personal purgatory.”

 

I realized that maybe a big store was not for me. I also realized this wedding dress adventure was not her thing either. I found a nearby boutique and vintage shop. I tried on dresses and found some I liked, but nothing that stood out to me.

 

I found a dressmaker and described what I wanted. She immediately sent me pictures of a dress that she had already made that kind of fit my description, and I was IN LOVE! Don’t be afraid of alternative stores. I found more dresses that I loved in the smaller boutique stores than in the big chain stores. I also would say to know what you want before going in to look at dresses. Know the style you want, and also know your budget. Try to stick to both of them. This will save your time, money, and sanity.

 

Where did I finally find THE dress? Online. I know. It sounds absolutely INSANE to buy a wedding dress online, but if you know your current measurements, buying a dress online is perfectly safe.

 

My Dress is Average But I’m Not

 

For me, it’s not about the dress. I hate pomp and circumstance, so I ended up choosing a tea length dress with no train and no veil.

 

I chose a tea length dress to be comfortable and to be able to party with friends after the ceremony is done. And while the ceremony will be a sight to behold, my dress is pretty average.

 

I can do that because I know that my dress is everything that I am not. I know that an average dress made me stand out. For my shoes, I chose Converse.

 

You read that correctly; I am getting married in my Chuck Taylors. That, as my friends and family will tell you, is exactly who I am. An average dress with Converse for a bride anything but average.

 

My other half doesn’t share my average sentiment. She opted for a navy blue suit, blue gingham shirt, orange tie, succulent lapel pin, and brown shoes. But this outfit fits her personality perfectly.

 

And while I was excited about our September wedding, I was more excited that I finally got to put on the comfortable dress and party the night away with my friends and family. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my imperfect and unconditional love.