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Coming Out, Finding Love, Being You
carly & Cinde's StorY
How long distance love led to forever
In the fall of 2015, I (Carly) was a single mom who also happened to be a lesbian. Though I had been out since 2005, the thought of dating was nerve racking, especially now with a young child. Despite my hesitation, I renewed my membership on match.com and after searching over many profiles, I came across one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen. Her name was "Sweet Pea" and she was gorgeous. Beautiful brown long hair, see through blue eyes and a smile that was contagious. But furthermore, she was a single mom (previously divorced) of two young children, living in New Jersey. She had a career and was driven, came from a loving family and was looking to find her soul mate. The clincher was that she was also Jewish. I couldn't believe my eyes. So, out went the first email over match.com. I waited and waited, and no response. Surprised, as we had so many common interests and desires, I let it go and continued my search. But Ms. Sweet Pea's profile never left my mind and after a few other dates, I reached out again and this time, she replied! Simply put, her response led to the start of the rest of our lives. We began emailing and then moved to late night hours long phone conversations and after a few weeks, we decided to meet in person. On October 25, 2015 we met in New Hope, PA and the rest is history!
The following year, In November 2016, we planned a trip to Las Vegas. The night before we left, we had dinner in New Hope, as we often visited to recreate our first date. A famous landmark in New Hope is the bridge that connects PA to NJ and there is a marker half way. We always took a photo at this spot because we would say, 'one day we will be on the same side of the bridge'. On this night, in that very spot, Cinde surprised me and proposed! It was quite the night! Since we were both Jewish, we felt strongly about getting married by a Rabbi and in a synagogue. We reached out to my Rabbi and he was overjoyed to marry us in the temple. This was a big deal not only for us, but for my Rabbi and congregation, as we would be the first gay couple to be married in the synagogue. More importantly, this temple would become "our temple". The place we would marry and all our kids would have their Mitzvah's. On June 9, 2018, we celebrated under the Chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy). We celebrated us and our synagogue, we celebrated with our family, friends, community and also with the world.
Our road hasn't been a smooth one, but our love is stronger than anything and we have learned together, we can conquer anything. In the first year of our marriage, we suffered the loss of a father and endured a fierce battle with pediatric cancer (our son). Now, stronger on the other side of these battles, we have purchased a new home, changed jobs and even got a puppy. We know how lucky we are to have found one another and we don't take anything for granted.
Our wish for everyone is to find love like ours.
Nickie & Britt's Story
How long distance love led to forever
My fiance' Britt and I began talking when Britt was away serving our country on a deployment with the United States Army in Kuwait. With 7,000 miles and several time zones between us, we initially were just very good friends. We talked about everything under the sun; from God to family, from our pasts to our future hopes and dreams. We seldom slept (truly) and often stayed up for hours on FaceTime just connecting and getting to know one another. It was then that Britt began writing me daily handwritten letters and I began documenting our blossoming love story through daily journals.
When Britt returned to West Virginia after her deployment, our love story was taken to the next level. We met in person for the first time and it was as if our souls collided, like we'd known each other our whole lives. Britt instantly fell in love with the kids, and they adored her, too. Since then, our family has been inseparable (except for those pesky Army missions which take Britt away for weeks, months at a time!) On October 20, 2020, with the help of our children, Britt proposed to me! It was a magical day, all captured through photos by one of our close friends. Our wedding date was soon set for September 4, 2021. We have been surrounded by supportive friends (our "chosen family") and can't wait to celebrate with those people on September 4, the day our family will finally share a name and become one.
I'm more than my sexuaity
I knew I felt different about women from a very early age. I come from a very religious family and a society that continues to condemn LGBTQ+ humans. The internalized homophobia that lived in me was super strong and that is one of the biggest reasons it took me time to actually come out.
I started exploring my sexuality as soon as I left for college. I went to New York for college and joined the tumblr community. There I met many women loving women like me that made me feel at home. I met my first girlfriend there and finally understood why it had never worked with any men. In 2011 I decided that I was going to go back home for Christmas and tell my family. Unfortunately I was outed by someone in my family and that became a mess. They had seen a picture I liked on my facebook and decided to tell other family members including my grandma. My mom was blamed for my sexuality and we decided to take a "time out" from my family. My mom didn't fully accept me at the time but she understood that what the family was talking about me would really affect me. It was years before they accepted me and I accepted me.
I am now married to a woman and my family loves her but it took many tears to get where I am, especially to finally love and accept myself. I would probably have found happiness way before if I hadn't needed my families approval. I realize now the only approval I needed was mine and I had to work a lot for it. I am now happy, healthy and proud to be a lesbian woman. The society I live in continues to view LGBTQ+ humans as taboo and I wish I could somehow help people understand that there is so much more to me than who I love. I am a great human, teacher, friend, daughter, sister and so many more things other than my sexuality. The most important thing I have learned is that it is super important to listen to one's needs and desires above any others. We have to be able to love and respect ourselves first and not rely on others. I can definitely say it gets better...
Growth is Possible
At 16, I was outed by my mom's coworker. She saw me holding hands with my then girlfriend at a movie and told my mom. My mom came home from work in a rage. I was doing homework on the computer and was in a rolling office chair. She asked me if I was gay and I started crying and nodded yes. She lunged at me and rolled me into a wall. She proceeded to hit me, with closed fists. To protect my face I threw my arms around her allowing her to only hit my back. She was spewing hateful words that I won't type out because it hurts. She kept hitting and telling me that I didn't love her. All I said was "I love you. I love you." Over and over again until she ran out of steam. My back was bleeding because of her rings. She left for 3 days after that, leaving my younger siblings and me with her boyfriend at the time. My sister, 13 at the time, was furious and blamed my girlfriend for the turmoil in our home. My brother was 10 and he sat on my bed after my mom left and I will never forget his words, "I will always love you, no matter who you date."
A few years later, at19, I tried to prove to my mom that I was gay by sleeping with a man because she would always say, "How do you know your gay if you haven't been with a man." I ended up pregnant. She told me that it was God telling me that I wasn't supposed to be gay and I believed her for a few years. I met my ex on MySpace and we started dating almost immediately. Unforuntately, I found out the hard way that she was addicted to pills. I thought I could save her and tried to for 4 years.
After I left that relationship I was introduced to a man that I thought I could live with forever. He was also one of my best friends. We were together for 3 years and got married. My mom was thrilled. I begged her to tell me that I didn't have to marry him and she told me that I had cold feet. Two months after I got married I reconnected with my now wife. She gave me the courage to live my truth. So I did. I had to break someone's heart to live my truth. My mom knew my wife before we got married and because she liked Ashley as a person, it changed her whole outlook on us being together. That was about 4 1/2 years ago. My wife and I were married in September and my mom was there! She held my bouquet and bought our wedding cake!
Lastly, six months ago my child came out as trans and I was terrified of what she would say however, she has surprised us all! Growth is possible!