Photography by Rob Howard
Aisha, politico: The man who introduced us 10 years ago, both of us knew his mother—and she said to him, “You know, when you get those two together, they’re going to fall in love.” And he’s like, “Oh, no they’re not. Whatever.” Sure enough, she called it.
We were both coming out of relationships and so we kind of just planned to be friends, to have a lesbian buddy to hang out with at the clubs. That lasted about maybe one or two outings... well, we fell in love at first sight. Danielle came into my life and taught me to stop taking myself so seriously. She’s not afraid to dream, and not only does she participate in my dreams with me, but she dreams for the both of us and encourages me and helps me to do so.
Not too long ago, we were at a bed and breakfast in Napa for a couple of days, and met a lovely couple. The husband was a middle-aged Republican white guy, and we were having a nice breakfast with these people. Since the year we got married, we talk about our wedding and honeymoon all the time. So one morning at breakfast, the gentleman finally asked us, very delicately, “So which one of you got married?” And we were like, “Oh! We got married to each other!”
Because we are both “gender-conforming” women, even if we’re holding hands or cuddling together, the last assumption on people’s minds is that we’re gay. At this point, even though we are some of the most public gays, we still come out every time we meet someone new. And we’re not offended and we certainly don’t recoil over this kind of stuff. I think that’s where we really realize the power of who we are.
Danielle, politico: The next morning in Napa, we come down for breakfast, and the man’s face is red and his wife is rubbing his back. And he says, “You know, I just want to apologize for the fact that it didn’t occur to me that when you were speaking about marriage, you were talking about being married to each other. I’m very embarrassed about that, and I’m very sorry.” And he is choking back tears, and it was clear that, for the last 24 hours, he’d been beating himself up. So I looked at him to lighten the mood and I said, “You don’t have to apologize to us for being a Republican!” And he started laughing. It was in that moment we were like, Wow, that’s really powerful. Now his view is forever changed, to have dined with these youngish black women who were so fun. We all had a great time, and it turned out we were lesbians and married, too?
If you don’t know Aisha, you feel her when you walk into a room and she’s there. She carries this immense presence and power that is so addictive that you just want to be around it. One of the reasons why I married her and fell in love with her is because she’s not a talker. She’s not smoke and mirrors, and I think that’s why we are a good team: I can dream, and she will actualize it.
I say all the time that out of seven billion people on this planet, I’ve found someone that makes me feel like I want to live, and not just live, but live out loud and love out loud. I want to shout this out from the rooftop. Aisha is like my heart outside of my body; there is something powerful that beats there that I know gives me life.
“Out of seven billion people on this planet, I’ve found someone that makes me feel like I want to live, and not just live, but live out loud and love out loud.”