Celebrate pride with love stories


Li Cohen / CBS News


Joan Hepsworth and Tammy Perone-Hepsworth

Joan Hepsworth, who is not binary, and their wife Tammy Perone-Hepsworth, 55, grew up a few miles apart in a small town in Ohio. They went to the same schools and Joan even had a crush on Tammy in high school – so much so that they made her a piece of pottery in art class, but never had the courage to give it to her. .

“I asked her if she remembered who I was and she didn’t,” Joan told CBS News, “but I could tell her how she walked.”

So it wasn’t until years later, when they were in their mid-twenties, that they bumped into each other again at a local bar.

“I remember calling my best friend and telling her, how does it work? Is this a date or are we just dating because she said we were going to high school together,” Tammy told CBS News. “… To this day, I’m 55, and this is the best date I’ve ever had. She was cooking chicken. I was on a diet at the time, and she was like: ‘Well, I’ll make some green beans for you.’ She fried these things in oil. It was so beautiful. And she plays guitar. And so after we ate, she sat at my feet and played guitar and sang. And I don’t think we kissed on day one. On day two she kissed me, but it was one of those long, drawn out things that just makes it just better. “

After dating on and off for years, they tied the knot in a gazebo in New York’s Central Park on November 11, 2011 at 11:11 a.m., one of the few states that allowed same-sex marriages at the time.

Four years later, on the day same-sex marriage was federally legalized, they went to a big party in downtown Tampa, Florida – their new home – and remarried. Today, they run a bustling little bookstore in Florida.

“I’m not the same person I was when we were in middle school or high school or even about to be after that… And I think it was probably a good thing that we weren’t together for. a few years, “says Jeanne. “It instilled in the fact that we had all these different experiences, and we were able to come back and make our experience even better and more grounded and more mature and better for both of us.”

Paul Bradford and Paul Martin

Paul Bradford and Paul Martin

Li Cohen / CBS News


Paul Bradford and her husband, Paul Martin, have been married for two years, but due to the coronavirus pandemic and issues with immigration processes, they were only able to be together three months ago.

The couple, affectionately called Paul Squared, met in 2016 via a Facebook group. One day Bradford, who lived in Florida, was accidentally kicked out of the corresponding group chat, and when Martin, who was based in the UK, went to add him again, they struck up a conversation.

“At first it wasn’t that bad. It was just about correcting the time zones because they were five hours ahead. And then it got to where we were chatting every day. was several times a day, ”Paul Bradford told CBS News.

A few months later, they decide to spend a week together, and quickly realize how much they enjoy being together. The problem with starting a new relationship, they explained, was that they lived an ocean apart.

“You’re not talking just about flying over… you’re talking about an expensive plane ticket back and forth. You’re in a different country,” said Paul Bradford. “… We were just going to see each other every three months, but we had problems with my work. It ended up taking another three months before we could see each other again.”

An exhausting process with immigration ensued. There was a lot of paperwork and the pandemic forced talks and meetings to be postponed. Then, just before midnight on March 20, Paul Martin finally arrived in the United States to live with her husband.

“It took forever. We were married for two years then. We got married, we went ahead and had our honeymoon. We had to wait for the marriage certificate to appear. , then we turned in the papers to try to get it here. It took two years because the pandemic hit and it stopped everything, “said Paul Bradford.” It’s the first time we’ve been living together. We never spent more than two weeks together at a time. So we face the little quirks, the little peculiarities of the other. He likes to do things like that. I like to do it like that. way … I really like him here … I have no regrets. “

Nina Borders and Diana Shanks

Nina Borders and Diana Shanks

Li Cohen / CBS News


As Nina Borders and Diana Shanks like to say, they’re like “a yin and a yang”. Nina, 35, is a medical firefighter with big dreams and a love for parties and travel, while Diana, 24, is a community organizer for a racial justice and prison abolition organization that thrives on logistics planning, reading and learning.

Borders told CBS News that one of the things she loves most about Shanks is that she’s one of the few people who challenges her.

“I keep growing,” she said. “I grow up and then she grows up and then we grow up as a couple. And it’s really very beautiful.”

The couple met in 2018 when Diana applied to work with the Pasco Pride organization. A year later, they became a couple. Now, almost three years later, Diana has gone pansexual, and she and Nina – who is now the CEO of Pasco Pride – are working to ensure that all LGBTQ people in their community have access to resources and support. that they need.

“It’s really powerful to be in a relationship where you’re building something together that’s bigger than you,” Shanks told CBS News. “This relationship is very much about both of us and our love for each other, but also, we’re building something together that will outlive us and leave a mark.”

“To be out there and proud today, to be completely, to just live in our lives there, it’s amazing,” Borders said. “And it feels very natural at the same time… And I think that’s how it should feel – liberating.”

Gina and Sally

Gina and Sally

Natacha Larnaud / CBS News


Sally and Regina’s love affair began almost 47 years ago when the couple met through a mutual friend. After their first walk on the beach in Virginia, Gina – who at the time was still Roger – had made up her mind: Sally was the woman she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.

Four decades and two children later, the couple’s bond is even stronger: “I knew right away that she was a very special person,” said Sally. “I’m not going to say it’s always been easy, but I love the person she’s deep in. The very loving person I married is still here. It hasn’t changed.”

Sally recounts the moment her husband Roger became Gina: “It wasn’t easy. I thought it was my fault. Maybe I wasn’t good enough, or I wasn’t. not pretty enough. I have tears in my eyes to talk about But I realized that this was the person inside of her that I was in love with. And I couldn’t be without her. So what to What she looked like on the outside didn’t really matter anymore. It was love in its purest form, “she said.

“You have to do a lot of soul-searching with yourself first. You have to be okay with what other people think,” she continued. It takes a lot. Once you’ve done that and realize that your life is better with your partner than it would be if you were apart, you’ve pretty much made your decision. “

Gina and Sally

Gina and Sally

Natacha Larnaud / CBS News


Gina, who was in the Navy, said she had spent a lot of her life holding back her emotions and hiding who she really was: “When I was a man I saw life as something that I was walking through. But when I became a woman the world went from primary colors to many shades. It made me feel good inside, ”she said. “I could feel a love deeper than ever.”

Sally said that whatever life has in store for relationships, love is always worth fighting for: “I can’t imagine a day in my life without Gina. I’m not going anywhere,” she said. . “Being with Sally makes me fly. I absolutely love her. It’s really pure,” said Gina.

Aisha and Lasharndra

Aisha and Lasharndra

Natacha Larnaud / CBS News


Aisha and Lasharndra met on a dating platform two years ago and have been inseparable ever since.

“At first I didn’t think we were going to live as a couple because I didn’t think my strong-willed personality was going to match well with his generous spirit, but when I started to look inside I started developing a deeper love for her, ”Lasharndra said.

Lasharndra said his connection to Aisha “is like Gorilla Glue: it’s unbreakable”.

“She bridged the gap between my harsh exterior and my softer, deeply rooted side – something no one else had been able to do,” she said.

Aisha and Lasharndra

Aisha and Lasharndra

Natacha Larnaud / CBS News


Lasharndra says that some of the things that make their relationship successful is that they “constantly make the other person talk, have fun, explore and go out like we’ve just met.”

Like any relationship, Aisha and Lasharndra have had their ups and downs: “You have to work hard and keep going through the toughest times and always take care of each other. When it comes to a real one. unconditional love, you should love them for exactly who they are without having any expectations, ”Aisha said.

“We are each other’s yin for the yang. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

About Victoria Rothstein

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