We asked as many couples we can; six pairs sound in
Love is love, indeed. Here, LGBTQIA+ couples share how they found love and kept it, their ideal world, and the struggles in and outside of a queer relationship.
“She’s started looking into our legal rights, like how we can protect our family in the current legal framework”
Names: Niña and Edna
Been together: 5.7 years
Where in the world: Manila, PH
How did you guys meet: Through an old friend
How do you guys stay in love: We barely actually spend time together because of our busy work schedules and family life. But I make it a point to make her feel loved through little gestures. In the morning, I wake up early to make her baon for work, usually enough to last her the whole day. I try to make it special because I also appreciate how she raves about the food I make for her. I also make her coffee every single morning and though we usually only have 5 to 15 minutes to sit down and chat, we make sure to check in on each other through Viber and never forget to say our ‘I love you’s.’
How do you guys rise above problems within the relationship and the challenges of being a queer couple in the real world: I learned throughout the years that communication is the key. I am lucky to have Edna as my partner because she encourages me to speak up (even when I don’t want to) and express myself more. We have learned to adjust to one another and accept each others flaws.
On being a queer couple where we live, I usually give zero fucks and mind our own business. But Edna’s very future-oriented and having a kid of our own, she’s started looking into our legal rights, like how we can protect our family in the current legal framework. If all else fails, plan B is to move some place where civil partnership is an option between two people regardless of gender.
Our ideal world looks like this: Getting married & growing old together, maybe living by the beach, where we run our own hotel & resort. And maybe have another kid!
“In Los Angeles, we do not feel like a queer couple”
Names: Beth and Bernie
Where in the world: Los Angeles, CA
How long have you been together: 12 years
How did you guys meet: Friendster
How do you guys stay in love: Growing old together while traveling and surprising each other
How do you guys rise above problems within the relationship and the challenges of being a queer couple in the real world: In Los Angeles, we do not feel like a queer couple. [But on rising above problems within the relationship], it’s all about compromise. It is better to have peace than be right.
Our ideal world looks like this: Achieving our dreams together, for us and our three kids while visiting a place we have never been to before at least once a year.
“We believe that our God loves unconditionally and we are equal in His eyes”
Name: Cindy and Joan
Age: 42 and 35, respectively
Where in the world: San Pedro, Laguna
How long have you been together: 9 years and 7 months
Where did you guys meet: Lesbian online platform
How do you stay in love:
- Kiss and hug everyday, no matter our mood
- Morning hugs for about 2 to 3 minutes while we declare our love to each other
- Randomly give affirmation, whether the cheesy or silly
- Spend time together doing things we love to do, e.g., eating and discovering new restos, watching our favorite series and movies, watching our favorite sport volleyball
- Get silly together
- Pray and go to church together. We let God be in the center of our relationship, though it may sound ironic for some, but we believe that our God loves unconditionally and we are equal in His eyes
How do you guys rise above problems within the relationship: We try to talk about it and acknowledge each other’s sentiments. Then we compromise on the best resolutions to our issues. We also try to avoid making the same mistakes and be aware of each other’s feelings.
How do you rise above the challenges of being queer couple in the real world:
We are grateful that we have a strong support system from our families. Being a queer couple is not always easy, though nowadays, the LGBTQIA+ are more accepted by society. But knowing our family and friends accept us for us, facing challenges in the real world becomes a whole lot easier. We also try to be mindful of our actions in public since not everyone is open-minded.
Our ideal world looks like this: Equal rights for everyone because heterosexual rights should be homosexual rights as well.
“We are both realists. So whatever life brings, we just face it with courage”
Names: A and R
Age: 37 and 32, respectively
Where in the world: Pasig, PH
How long have you been together: 6 years
How did you guys meet: WeChat
How do you guys stay in love: We keep a balance of bonding together and giving each one his own space (whenever necessary). Also, by treating each other with respect and trust.
How do you guys rise above problems within the relationship and the challenges of being a queer couple in the real world: We think, decide and act as one.
Our ideal world looks like this: We are both realists. So whatever life brings, we just face it with courage.
“Set aside pride and ego, that won't help heal aching hearts”
Names: Tatum & Celina
Age: 37 and 36, respectively
Where in the world: Makati, PH
How long have you been together: 2 years
How did you guys meet: We were literally gifted to each other by our common friend on Christmas day in 2016. Our common friend played cupid through Facebook messenger during Christmas. Tatum first messaged me on Christmas day and we decided to meet on the 27th. On our first date, we talked 'til the wee hours and Tatum brought me to different speakeasy bars in Makati and talked about mixology and spirits, what we do, and what we love. From whisky to cocktails we ended up having coffee until 6AM. We didn't think anything would come out of it but we stayed in touch. By 2017 we had our second date after New Year and the rest is ‘her'story.
How do you guys stay in love:
Fights and misunderstandings are part of any relationship. What works is after a fight, we draw ourselves back and remember how we first fell in love with each other. Reminding yourselves about the person you fall in love with always trumps the bad.
How do you guys rise above problems within the relationship and the challenges of being a queer couple in the real world: I guess being open to everyone in our lives, from family to friends, even in the work place. We never really see ourselves as outsiders. Relationships will have its problems, if anything it always stems from miscommunication, so we try as much as possible to tackle and talk about our problems and come up with solutions to resolve it. Communication is key. Set aside pride and ego, that won't help heal aching hearts.
Our ideal world looks like this: Adventure travel around the world and coming home to fresh produce from our home garden away from the city. A home-cooked meal, watching our favorite TV series, a whole day of spending time with our baby dogs, Achilles the Shih Tzu and Thakoon the Pom, and both of us having the luxury of time to paint on canvas.
“I guess the only challenge that I can think of is the fact that our marriage/union is not recognized in the Philippines”
Names: Cal & Katie
Age: 34 and 39, respectively
Where in the world: Manila, PH
Been together: Since 2013. Got married in California in 2016
How did you guys meet: We met in a beach event outside of Manila that I randomly accepted to DJ in (back when I was still Dj-ing). I asked her out to dinner and we continued to date even after I returned to Manila.
How do you guys stay in love: We make sure we do stuff for each other and spoil each other in whatever way we can. It can be as simple as preparing food for the other and supporting each other when it comes to our hobbies and interests.
How do you guys rise above problems within the relationship and the challenges of being a queer couple in the real world: I think it's all about communication, understanding and compromises. We both know that we have areas for improvement and we both understand what they are. Early on in our relationship, I made sure that she knew what my triggers were. Say I'm pissed about something, I told her that she would need to give me some space because I am the kind of person who would get annoyed for a few mins or so, but once I've processed it on my own, I would revert to my normal self.
With regards to the challenges of being a queer couple, I would say we are lucky that we haven't really encountered any major issues. I honestly don't think we have been discriminated against (or maybe we have been but I just ignored it, haha). Seriously though, I guess the only challenge that I can think of is the fact that our marriage/union is not recognized in the Philippines.
Also people love to ask: “So, who is the guy in this relationship?” I am still in search for the best classy and sassy answer to this question. I mean, we both have vajayjays…
Our ideal world looks like this: A world that has no hatred or judgment, where you can be yourself and radiate that inspiration and happiness. A world without labels. A world that acknowledges individuality. A world that supports and helps one another with what they can to see another grow (coughs crab mentality). A world that gives less fucks on egos and more on puppies and kittens…and more motorcycles.
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Art Alexandra Lara