Photography By Benedict Evans
We started talking last January, and two weeks later I proposed. Everybody said, “You’re crazy.” My parents were like, “You don’t know this girl.” But when you love somebody, I don’t think time or space matters. In the queer community, it’s how we love, how we build our relationships, how we build families. There’s no rule book, so all of these traditional ideas about this timetable, about this sort of [interval] until you know your heart is protected with another person, are a bunch of crap.
One of the first things that caught me was, whenever she opened her mouth, I was so inspired. Just talking to her makes me want to learn more, do more, be more. She made me want to grow. And she made me believe from early on that she was the person who was going to support me in life. She made it very clear: “You stick with me, all your dreams are gonna come true.” I never had anybody say anything like that to me before. That’s when I knew. I knew she was one of the best things in my life, and I was going to spend the rest of it taking care of her, protecting her, investing in her as much as she was investing in me.
Our life is a very queer type of life. But we live in the Bronx, in a working-class neighborhood. It’s very diverse: lots of immigrants, lots of brown folks, lots of kids. Everyone just keeps on going. Nobody notices other people. Nobody knows I’m trans. We’re just another couple.
I do a lot of work around visibility for queer and trans young people, and I did this sort of nude photo shoot, and Tiq sent me a message on Facebook. He wrote something like, “I know people probably tell you that you’re beautiful on the outside, but I’ve been watching your work, and I know that you’re really beautiful on the inside, and I would just love to have an opportunity to get to know you.” At the time, I was in another relationship, so I didn’t connect with him. But once we started talking, we loved each other right away. He proposed last Valentine’s Day. I got a ring on my birthday — March 9 — and we were married on May 5.
I have dated a lot of women. For a while, I was transitioning out of identifying as a lesbian and started identifying as queer, and it changed the kind of relationships I was having. At the beginning, it was also about proving to other people that I was queer. As a femme I think my queerness gets conferred on me by my partner. I think that coming into a relationship with Tiq was about being very honest with myself in a way I hadn’t been before, about really wanting to be with him specifically.
First, people were like, “You just met each other.” I said, “But we’re super in love and I don’t really care.” I’ve had people say I “copped out” — that I left being a lesbian to be a straight girl.
Tiq always says he realized he loved me when he asked about kids and I said I wanted to have a community. We want to have four kids. I can’t wait to be pregnant. But we’re looking for a donor, which has been a difficult process in our relationship. Plus, because of the way that people read us as a heterosexual couple, having that conversation with donors usually requires that they be a part of our community. It’s difficult to try to explain everything.