Tracy & Tiffany: A Divine Meeting Leads to a Two-Bride Wedding in the Bible Belt

Tracy and Tiffany embrace at a table with bouquets and sand glass.
Tiffany sits on a settee while her bride, Tiffany stands.

Tracy and Tiffany married after a year of planning.

After seven years of love, laughter and friendship, Tracy and Tiffany married in September of 2015. The happy brides, who reside in Greensboro, N.C., share the story of their love and special wedding day below:

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

Tracy and Tiffany: We met at church in another city, and found out that we both lived in the same town. We began hanging out as friends and the rest is history!

BL3: What attracted you to each other?

Tracy: I was drawn to Tiffany’s cheerful personality, and her devotion to church, family and friends. Tiffany: Tracy and I just started out as friends, but as we got to know each other, I saw how hard she worked for what she wanted. She is so goal-oriented!

BL3: Tell us about your first date. 

Tiffany: Because we were friends first, we can’t remember our first date. I kind of like that about our relationship because it didn’t make things uncomfortable. I didn’t have to worry about the jitters of the first date or ordering a salad for dinner (even though I love salads).

BL3:  What do you love about each other?

Tiffany: I love Tracy’s passion that she has for different things in life.

Tracy: I love Tiffany’s cheerfulness and how selfless she is.

 

BL3: Why did you decide to get married, especially after seven years?

Tracey: We both wanted to spend the rest of our lives with someone who loves us for who we are and allows us to love them.

Tiffany: Tracy is also one of my biggest supporters. Who wouldn’t want that for the rest of your life?

Tracy and Tiffany cut the wedding cake.

Tracy and Tiffany cut their wedding cake together.

BL3: Tell me a bit about your wedding day. What made it special?

Tiffany: I thought I would be nervous on the day of the wedding, but I guess since I was so nervous the weeks leading to it, I didn’t have any nervousness left. This day was special to me because everyone there was in support and not judgment. This not only made me happy but Tracy also. If she is happy, I’m happy!

Tracy: Our day was special because we had come through almost a year of planning and we were in agreement on everything (from the flowers to the decorations to the candy buffet). We worked hard to ensure each of us was happy. With two brides, we wanted each of us to feel special and feel like the day was all about each of us!

Another special thing is that for most of our guests, this was [their] first time attending a same-sex wedding. We’re in the south, in the Bible belt. Although we experienced some heartache and loss of relationships along the way, in the end true friends and family were right there supporting us.

We’ve been told that our union has brought the issue of same-gender-loving relationships to the forefront and caused many to have to consciously reconsider their long-held beliefs and determine what really matters most. Love is love!!

BL3: What wedding traditions did you keep and which ones did you get rid of and why?

Tiffany: The night before the wedding, I presented Tracy with something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. I know she was surprised and I LOVED IT!

Tracy: We ditched the traditions like seating guests by choosing sides. We wanted everybody intermingled! We also did not include throwing bouquets or removing garters. It was important to us to keep Christian traditions like having premarital counseling with a Christian pastor, having prayer and the Lord’s Prayer sang during the ceremony.

BL3: Where was the wedding and reception held? At a church or somewhere else? And why? 

Tracey and Tiffany: Neither of us belonged to a welcoming and affirming church at the time. We took extra care to ensure everybody involved (guests and vendors), were in agreement with and supportive of same-sex marriage. So we definitely wanted the venue to have the best atmosphere. The wedding and reception were held at Tracy’s brother’s catering facility–ceremony outside on the patio, reception in the inside dining area. We knew it was a great facility, but when we saw it decorated for our wedding, we knew it was the best place!

BL3: How did it feel to exchange vows? Did you write your own vows?

Tiffany: I wrote my own vows and it felt good to say what was in my heart. I felt like in that moment I could wrap up the feelings and love that I have for Tracy in words. Of course all of it could not be said in a couple of words, but I promise to show it every moment I have for the rest of my life.

Tracy: I knew I would cry! I could hardly finish reading everything without my voice cracking. It felt like everything I feel for Tiffany (all of my love, concern and “lust”) was magnified 100 times in that moment.

BL3: What was the most memorable part of the day?  

Tiffany: The most memorable part of the day is when I came out the doors and saw Tracy standing waiting for me. The closer I got to her the more I felt the love and connection between us.

Tracy: Most memorable for me are two things–the way my baby brother escorted me in and walked away to go and get Tiffany to escort her in to me, and the way Tiffany looked when those doors were opened. She was a beautiful princess! I will never forget it.

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.

Interracial Deaf Hearing Lesbian Couple Shares The Great, The Bad & The Uncomfortable

Kat and Christina

What happens when a black, deaf, lesbian talks candidly with her wife, a white, hearing lesbian about some of the great, bad and uncomfortable moments of their marriage? In this absorbing seven-minute The Skin Deep video, Kat and Christina’s story sounds like every other couple’s. They talk about their happy moments, their son, family misunderstandings and common communication challenges that all couples can relate to.

Christina asks Kat to share three of her favorite things about their relationship. Kat lists all the things that she loves about their marriage from their travel adventures to everyday things like drinking tea together and their conversations.

Kat asks Christina how her deafness impacts their lives. Christina honestly shares that she doesn’t feel like they can go out as much because others don’t sign and Kat ends up being left out.

They then ask each other a really interesting question: Who sacrifices more in the relationship. Both are surprised by each others’ answers.

What I enjoyed most about this couple was just how remarkably well they communicated and I don’t know if that is because having a deaf partner forces communication.

Check out the video below and share your thoughts in the comments 🙂

Interview With A Married Black Lesbian Swinger

For one black lesbian couple, having an open marriage is about having trust.

For one black lesbian couple, having an open marriage is about having trust.

Nikki and Dee Brooks have been together for six years, married for three. When it comes to either of them having sex with outside partners, Nikki explains that the rules are simple: “All parties involved must get regular check ups and prove our results in written doctors reports. We never do anything at our home. We take turns paying for hotels. We must discuss everything with each other before making outside plans. In other words, get approval. No spending the night out.”

The Brookses may seem like a typical black lesbian couple, but their open marriage makes them a little bit unusual. We spoke to Nikki about how they opened their marriage.

Black Lesbian Love Lab (BL3): Tell us about yourselves.

Nikki: I’m 44 and my wife, Dee is 57. We live in Michigan. I’m Muslim and go to the mosque. Dee is not religious nor spiritual and doesn’t go to church. We both love sports and each other’s energy.
BL3: Have you been in open relationships before?

 

Nikki: I’ve never been a faithful type of person and I let people in the past know that I like to dip, so if you can hang, stay.

 

BL3: How did you broach the topic with Dee? Did you make it a condition of marriage?

Nikki: When I realized our sex drives were different, I sat her down and we agreed to be open. And no, this was not a condition of marriage.

 

BL3: Some people may wonder why you got married, if you wanted to have other sexual partners.

 

Nikki: I got married to her because she stole my heart and I wanted to be hers for life. What I do on the outside has no mental or emotional connection like I have with my wife.

 

BL3: But you don’t have to get married to be with someone for life.

Nikki: I don’t play house with nobody and she is my soul mate.

 

BL3: How long has it been since you opened up your marriage?

Nikki: It’s been open for two and a half years.

 

BL3: Does your wife ever engage with other women?
Nikki: We play together or with separate partners. Or we swing but that’s only a couple times a year.

BL3: What are some of the positives of having an open marriage?

Nikki: We have learned a lot about each other this way. It has opened up our communication skills 100%.

 

I can be me with not regrets, no consequences to face.

There aren’t any insecurities between us. Having an open marriage made us trust each other more, because there’s no sneaking and hiding of anything!

Ebony & Krysta Jumped the Gun and Jumped the Broom

Krysta and Ebony met at an airport through mutual friends.

Krysta and Ebony met at an airport through mutual friends.

Ebony & Krysta (Krys) met in the most unlikely of places, fell in love and have been together for two years. They were among the many couples in Florida who got married in January. They share their sweet love story below:

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

Ebony: We met at the Tampa International Airport. We had a mutual connection (her friend and a close friend of my son’s father). This friend, Tiffanie, heard my son was flying back home to Tampa and asked my son if he wouldn’t mind taking a gift to her friend who happened to live in Tampa. My son agreed. So the plan was for my son to meet her friend at the airport in baggage claim. Her friend happened to be Ebony. Ebony is this sweet talkative spirit (and straight woman) and I, Krysta, am the lesbian.

BL3: Tell us about your first date.

Krysta: Our first date was not truly a date; it was merely two friends getting together to go to a wine tasting event, and then we ended up at Mitchell’s seafood restaurant. We both later agreed that at that restaurant it turned from “friends” into thoughts of more.

BL3: What intrigued you about each other?

Krysta: Ebony is the sweetest person, naïve, innocent, kind, and she has a smile that radiates through every dark place of my soul. I was drawn to her very essence.

Ebony: What first intrigued me about Krysta was her beauty and spirit. When we first met, I just began talking as if I had known her forever and we had been friends. I’m a very friendly person, however, I am not normally very talkative initially. I was told that I was talking nonstop when we first met. I felt a connection right off the bat, I wasn’t sure what it was but it was something.

BL3: What do you love most about each other?

Krysta: I love that Ebony loves me for who I am, where I am with no apologies required!

Ebony: I love that we can talk about anything—that we laugh, have fun, enjoy life and balance each other. I love that Krys makes me want to do and be better. Krys loves me for me; she accepts me and my flaws.

BL3: How is your relationship the same and different from any other couple’s?

Krys: Our relationship is one full of love—sincere and genuine love; that’s what most married couples experience. We are the same because we are two people wanting to build a life with one another and spend good times and bad seeing how the end of our lives will be and enjoying the ride the whole way through. We are no different than any other couple. We don’t see ourselves as different. Relationships are about mutual love and respect, devotion and commitment.

I would say our dynamics are merely different. I am in love with a “straight” woman who fell in love with a lesbian woman. If we have labels, those would be the most fitting. To me, it’s okay because we are two women in love and in life together!

Confessions of An R&B Diva: Sexy Songstress Monifah Carter Bares All

Courtesy of Zahra Siddiqui

Courtesy of Zahra Siddiqui

Interviewed by Florence Edwards

Monifah set the music world on fire in the 90s, and her music continues to have a tremendous impact on R&B music fans around the world. There’s no question that no one brings it quite like Monifah. Her seductive, soulful voice can help you overcome a tragic break-up, inspire you to push forward, or make you have explosive mind-gasms that will take you on an unforgettable erotic journey of raw passion and sexual bliss.

A spiritually conscious artist who is not afraid to be herself in a world that wants to define her, Monifah is defying stereotypes about same-gender-loving people, and is teaching the world that love is love. She is redefining what a real black woman is, and is a true example of how we can own our power, transform our lives, and live fearlessly.

Besides starring in TV One’s reality TV hit series, R&B Divas: Atlanta, Monifah is an incomparable entertainer, actress, writer, advocate and entrepreneur who knows who she is, what she wants, and how to get it. Her unshakable faith, profound wisdom and courageous spirit is why she is a true diva and an inspiration to women and girls everywhere. Monifah’s ground-breaking wedding to Terez recently earned her a 2015 GLADD Media Award nomination. She was also honored with the 2015 Vanguard Award from The OutMusic Awards—The LGBTQ Academy of Recording Artist (LARA), and she’s just getting started! Monifah’s ready for her next close-up and is calling her own shots in the entertainment industry.

We recently caught up with Monifah and asked her all of the juicy questions you’ve been dying to know. In this candid article, we discuss everything from her definition of hot sex to her impact as a same-gender-loving woman in Hollywood.

Florence: After marrying your long-time girlfriend, Terez, You were the first African-American same-sex couple to wed on national TV. In an interview, you stated that you did it for a bigger reason. Do you think it made a long-term impact on how the world perceives black lesbians, love and marriage? If so, how?

Monifah: 1A) Firstly, I’d like to clarify how I sexually identify. I identify as a bisexual or same-gender loving woman in the LGBTQ community. People assume that I identify as lesbian because I’ve dated, been in long-term relationships with women, and am now married to a woman. It’s easy for us to paint situations and people with a broad brush and put each other into nicely wrapped boxes of perceptions, stereotypes and judgments that keep us ‘comfortable’ and stagnate in not getting an understanding of the beauty of our differences. Sexuality, although a birthright and important to be expressed and respected equally, is not all of who any person is and how an individual identifies can only be expressed by that individual.

I believe whole heartedly that Terez and I making the decision to share our nuptials with the world was necessary and very impactful long-term.

We’ve received many messages from the black LGBT and heterosexual communities alike, that they can see themselves in our relationship and our proud of our representation of ourselves or that being privy to our relationship changed their opinion, views and perception of same-gender love because all they saw was the love, respect, reverence and partnership between us and it normalized it for them.

Florence: You mentioned that your sexuality wasn’t really a focus for you when you were younger because you had gay family members. When did you first realize that you were bisexual? How were you able to escape the stigma of being a same-gender-loving woman in the African American community and love yourself without taking on the world’s judgment of your sexuality?

Monifah: I experienced my first attraction to a girl at age 18. I didn’t judge it or myself. I just felt it. I have same-gender loving family members and the messages I received weren’t negative, so it didn’t feel like this big bad monster I needed to try and escape. I was just myself. When I met my first girlfriend at 23, I just simply had a girlfriend. LOL. I’ve been blessed with the spirit God chose for me to have and this spirit never felt embarrassed or shameful nor did it care what anyone else thought about what gender the spirits I connected to were encased in. I knew the gender of the person I chose to be with didn’t completely define me and if someone felt ‘a way’ or thought it did, that was their issue, not mine. Maybe growing up and living in New York City which is a melting pot of diversity, afforded me this luxury but I did experience my share of discrimination.

This article was originally published in the Examiner.com. Click here to read the rest of the interview. 


Florence Edwards is a seasoned writer, publicist, author and speaker who loves helping women have passionate sex lives and relationships! She loves writing edgy, sensual and creative material that gets people hot and bothered lol! Contact her with all of your LGBT questions, at Florence.Edwards1976@gmail.com.

YouTube VLoggers Joy & Toy Talk About Eloping Plus Photos!

Joy and Toy are one of the most adorable black lesbian couples whose channel I follow almost religiously on YouTube. They are such a sweet couple and I love how much fun they seem to have with each other.

After watching their video about eloping in 2013 so that they could be together on base in Hawaii (see it below), I thought I would reach out to this couple and find out more about their relationship and special day.


 

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

Toy: We met originally online in October 2010. We only chatted on the phone and few times and things sizzled out. As destiny would have it we pleasantly met again in March 2011 and decided to make things official.

 

Joy: I first officially met LaToya back in 2010 on an online social media site called DowneLink. Then again, in 2011 we ran into each at a party. I later found out that we actually crossed paths at a job interview … 7 degrees of separation I guess 🙂
BL3: When did you know you loved each other? 

Toy: I knew that I felt something very distinctive about her very early on. We all have very different definitions and interpretations of what adoration is but honestly it wasn’t until after marriage that I saw how profound our love really ran.

 

Joy: I knew that I was in love when I couldn’t stop thinking about her. It was something about her that was so different and special…almost “fairy tale-ish”. She sparked in me a desire to change, which I wasn’t afraid to do for her.
BL3: What do you love about each other?

Toy: I love witnessing my wife’s spiritual journey. I enjoy her newfound look on life and its meaning. She inspires me like no other. I love everything single thing there is about her, minus her bad gas. lol

 

Joy: What I love about her is her beautiful imagination. She has a great, almost innocent way of looking at life, which a realistic person like myself can appreciate.

 

BL3: What made you decide to get married? 

Toy: Joy proposed and I said, yes. Simple enough? Lol, no seriously we just knew the time was right. We were in a long distance relationship and just like any other relationship it was time for an evaluation. It was time for answers on where “this thing” was going. We knew we treasured each other, the distance could not go on endlessly, and the best resolution was marriage. And after being together for 2 years, we felt the time was right.

 

Joy: We decided to get married because we believed it was a bond that we already shared with one another. As a military member, we chose not to focus on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act” and focused on what we truly wanted, which was to be together and happy.

 

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BL3: I know you ladies had to get your marriage license in a hurry. Were there any friends and family at the courthouse? Was there any particular moment of that day that was special or memorable for you? 

Toy: My cousin’s wife actually was there along with their son. She was not only our witness for the day but our photographer as well. The part of the day that was most exceptional was the feeling I sensed from within. When Joy looked at me and held my hand under the gazebo within our outside altar, I just knew it was right. That is a feeling that I will never have again and that is what makes it very special. It sealed the deal and from that point on. There was no looking back.

 

Joy: A hurry is an understatement! Lol. We were only expecting the military to approve a few days of leave to travel to a state that would marry us. Needless to say, there was not much time to plan the specifics so we were very grateful to have a family member in the area to escort us to the courthouse. She also served as our witness and photographer. The most memorable moment was just how peaceful the entire day was. Everything seemed to fall into place and although not extravagant, our wedding day was perfect.
BL3: Did you ever have a later ceremony with friends and family? 

Toy: No, and that is not the immediate plan. When the time is right and the Universe places the idea in our hearts we may oblige at that time. Until then, I am completely pleased with our decision to do a mini ceremony. We did what meant the most to us. At the end of the day we are the only two people that matter most in our marriage. We witness the exquisiteness that unfolds within our matrimony every day, not just “the” day.

 

Joy: We contemplated a later ceremony with family and friends but then we realized that the moment would only be for them. We are happy with our union and are even happier to have outlets where we can share countless special moments with the world.

 

For those of you who may be interested in eloping, check out Joy and Toy’s tips below for eloping.

 

Michelle and Karen Come Clean About Their Haute, Messy Love Affair

Karen&Michelle-Porter-Roberts-early-years

When Michelle and Karen first met, years ago, the chemistry was undeniable.

Karen (52) and Michelle (64), who live in Northern California, have the kind of love story that steamy romance novels are made of. Their connection was immediate, and although their story had many plot twists and turns, they always found their way back to each other. The founding couple behind the clothing line Haute Butch, with Karen serving as designer, recently shared with us their fireworks-filled love story:

Black Lesbian Love Lab (BL3): How long have you been together?

Michelle: We always answer that by saying, it depends on how you count. We have one of those relationships where we were together or not together and then not together for decades. We got married in April 2004.

BL3: How did you meet?

Michelle: I was with another woman after Karen just got out of the Navy to be with her lover. My partner really wanted us to meet Karen. We went over and I remembered we were sitting on the couch. Karen walked out of the back and was adjusting her belt. She looked at me and I looked at her and thought, ‘Oh boy we’re in trouble.’ It was instant attraction. She went into the kitchen. Flustered, I followed her! Our energy was just pinging off each other.

Karen: I was going through the same thing when I saw her knowing I was in a relationship. I didn’t want to keep looking at her, that’s why I went into the kitchen.

Michelle: It was one of those really scandalous situations in our community. We were kind of sneaking around and frankly seeing each other. We got busted! Karen got all of her clothes thrown out in the front yard, bleached and set on fire. It was pretty bad. We were together four years after we got busted. And then we split up.

BL3: Why did you break up?

Karen: We were both actively engaged in addiction—mostly alcohol and cocaine. I’ve been sober for 28 years.

Michelle: We followed each other in recovery and I’ve been 27 years sober.

 Click here to read more.

 

Marathon Love: Vann & Chunate’s Love Remain Strong In the Midst of Drastic Change, Part 2

In part 1 of Vann and Chunate’s love story, they shared how they met, fell in love and got married. In part 2, they shared how they managed to save their marriage and adjust to a bombshell—Vann was trans. 

Vann and Chunate remained together even after Vann came out as trans.

Vann and Chunate remained together even after Vann came out as trans.

Chunate: There was no sex. But we were happy that day. But there was also some depression, anger. He turned from this sweet person who used to come see me to love on me and hug on me and when we got home, to this angry person. He was always on the grind trying to get money and didn’t have time for us. I stayed home with the children. My day consisted of cooking and cleaning. We would eat, put the children to bed and then he would go to bed. We were disconnected really badly. At some point we weren’t talking. He was working six days a week from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. There was no time for me and no time for the children. We even stopped sleeping in the same room. He started sleeping on the couch.

BL3: But here you are 10 years later. How did you manage to stay together?
Chunate: We had to get couples therapy because it was getting really bad. There was anger and a lot of emotional stuff going on. I told him a couple times I’m going to leave.

Vann: I wasn’t violent to her physically but I was emotionally violent. When we look back at our relationship, I was withholding of affection. The inability to tend to her in that way was deep.

Chunate: He wasn’t in love with me. I asked him if he was in love with me and he said, no. I asked him if he had been in love with his [ex] and he said, yes. I don’t think I could wrap my mind around that. I started wondering what was wrong with me. We were officially married. We loved each other. We did this big thing. I was in love with him. I remember feeling like oh my building got rocked.

Vann: I know there was a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone. I hurt her and now looking back I can see it. I thought, “I love you. That’s why we’re married.” Now I get the difference. Now I’m in love with her and I love her. I got it. Back then she didn’t feel worthy.

Chunate: He didn’t make me feel worthy either.

BL3: Wow, sounds like you two were going through a lot.

 

Chunate: There was a lot of unspoken stuff he thought he was saying. I wasn’t talking. He wasn’t talking. I was catatonic. At one point I wasn’t talking but eating myself to death. I gained so much weight. I didn’t want to leave the house. It got really, really bad and we really had to bring the counseling in. If we hadn’t, we wouldn’t be here today. We would be broken up and it would have been a bitter break up and some violence going on my end.

Vann: How did we get married in that state? … This was my family but I was not taking care of my wife emotionally.

Chunate: We finally had sex 1.5 years after we got married. Around February we had sex.

BL3: And how did that go?

Vann: She was my first female encounter. I was real green. She’s coming from a space of needing to be loved up and I’m from a place of grinding and not needing emotion. I knew I loved her but like they say, What’s love got to do with it? I then learned about the five love languages and that started us being more aware of each other. We can now recognized when we get out of touch with each other.

When it came to intimacy, it was different for each of us. I didn’t want toys, books, nothing.We both had trauma. I couldn’t connect in that department and she did a lot of work with me around that.

Chunate: We’re still working. 

BL3: And in the middle of all this, how did you topic of Vann being trans come up?

Vann: I asked her when did she realize I wasn’t a full-blown lesbian?

Chunate: Outside of sex, I knew when we first moved together. We didn’t do the girly stuff—there was no interest there. The stuff I was interested in, he had no interest in. It was just different. He always acted like a man. He was a man. I had a man in my house. I didn’t full on know but knew something was different. This was not a wife. This is somebody else. I married somebody else.

You started becoming something else when we were [in our first place]. Before we even got married, before we got together even when we started dating there was a level of girlfriendness there. We would talk and Vann would paint his nails every once in a while and talk about clothing but it was different. Then when we moved in with each other, stuff started changing and he started moving toward heterosexual. I started feeling like, “Okay, where is my wife?” He wasn’t chauvinistic. It’s just his personality changed.

Vann: I started feeling like I got a family and I have to provide for them and I have to protect. I felt possessive especially around the children’s fathers. I just felt that she’s mine. I’m hers and these are my kids. I felt like the world was against us. The climate at that time was negative about lesbians. We had been battered and beaten around “this is a sin and God don’t like that, ya’ll gonna mess these kids up.”

Marathon Love: How Vann & Chunate Transitioned From a School-Girl, School-Boi Crush, Part 1

*In the following two-part post, Vann and Chunate share their how they met, fell in love and how they adjusted to Vann’s gender identity. When sharing how they first met, please be aware that Chunate uses “he” pronouns even though Vann had not yet transitioned.

Vann and Chunate were married August 15, 2004 in Canada.

Vann and Chunate were married August 15, 2004 in Canada.

Chunate was working at a McDonald’s in Baltimore in 1997 when Vann walked in with a friend. Chunate hooked them up with some food, but had no idea that Vann would later become her wife and then her husband. At the time Vann had ever dated a woman and Chunate was somewhat accustom to loving women, however neither had a clue about gender identity. Vann simply remembered thinking Chunate was very pretty. They eventually developed a close friendship and August 15, 2014, marked their 10 year anniversary. Below they share how their relationship evolved:

 

Black Lesbian Love Lab: How did you two become friends?

Chunate: He lived directly down the street from me. [One day] we sat on the curb and talked and talked and talked from there we built a friendship. We would talk daily. I’d go to his house sit and vibe just get to know each other. And then he would pick my daughter up from the school bus for me because I had to go to work. We had a real good friendship.

Vann: She was living with her mom and I was living by myself. We talked a lot about everything.

Chunate: And then … he abandoned me. He started hanging out with some new people and when I wanted to hang around I was the high blower. I didn’t smoke like that. Trying to talk to someone on weed was not working. We kinda drifted apart. I knew I was a lesbian. I knew that I liked women … but I hadn’t pursued anyone just yet. I liked Vann. I did.

BL3: Vann, did you know the attraction was mutual?

Vann: I had no idea she was attracted to me, I really didn’t know what was going on. I knew that I had a caring for her, a protective feeling that I had. She had a friend that did her dirty …

Chunate: That was my first [woman]. The day after we [hooked up] she acted like it never happened. I told Vann.

 

Vann: I was mad (smiling). Cause I liked you I guess. Even now when I look at it, I hadn’t laid claim. We were doing this tango of a dance. Part of the reason I was getting high so often was because I was fighting an internal battle around what I now know as my gender identity.

 

Chunate: While he was figuring out what he was trying to do, I was moving on. I started dating a girl I met while working at a nursing home. By then I knew I was a full-fledged lesbian. I knew what I was and what I wanted but still at the time I was living with my daughter’s father. I was trying to please both.

BL3: What was going on with you Vann?

Vann: Mentally I couldn’t accept the fact that I liked women, period. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it too tough. I had to get okay with it somehow. I struggled with what that would mean for my family and whether God would approve of it but at the same time I would fantasize about being with women.

At that time I’m a professional with a background in social work and didn’t know what to do. I was not in the party scene. I worked in Mount Vernon [a gay neighborhood in Baltimore] but there were no black women there at the time. And I was not a lipstick lesbian so I didn’t even know what to do. When I was high, I thought I was approaching Chunate and coming onto her. I swore I was doing mad game and then she said that I wasn’t, that I was just staring at her.

Chunate: He thought he told me he liked me. We ended up deciding to go to our first Pride festival together. We got dressed up, went downtown after dinner and caught the bus. There was an understanding that it was date in Vann’s mind.

Vann: I felt jittery on the inside. My stomach was turning. It was the first time that I was going out with a girl. She smiled like a Cheshire cat so she knew she was being courted.

Vann: The first time I ever slept in a bed with her was in 1999.

BL3: What happened?

Chunate: Nothing, nothing, nothing.

Vann: I didn’t know what to do. It was at her mom’s house. It’s Chunate and I’m thinking, “Oh my God do I kiss her?” She’s like the apple of my eyes. I didn’t know what to do, I was just scared and so I did nothing.  She was waiting for me to make the first move, I was stuck in park. I left that morning and went home.

Chunate: We didn’t see each other for another couple of years.