Joan Hepsworth and Tammy Perron-Hepsworth
Joan Hepsworth, who is non-binary, and his wife Tammy Perron-Hepsworth, 55, grew up in a small Ohio town just miles of art. They went to the same school and in high school Joan even had a crush on Tammy – so much so that they made her a piece of pottery in art class, but never dared 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-20s, that they crossed paths again at a local bar.
Tammy told CBS News, “I remember calling my best friend and saying, How does this work? Is this a date or are we just going out as friends because she said that? We went to high school together.” “… even today, I’m 55, and it’s the best date I’ve ever had. She cooked chicken. I was dieting at the time, and she was like, ‘Okay, I’ll make you something green beans.’ He fried these things in oil. It was so beautiful. And he plays the guitar. And after we ate, he sat at my feet and played the guitar and sang. And I don’t think we kissed the first day. The other day he kissed me, but it was one of those long drawn out things that just makes things better.”
After dating for years, they married on November 11, 2011 at 11:11 pm in a gazebo in New York’s Central Park, one of the few states that allowed same-sex marriage at the time.
Four years later, the day gay marriage was federally legalized, they attended a large celebration in the Florida city of Tampa—their new home—and remarried. Today, they run a small, but bustling bookstore in Florida.
“I’m not the same person I was in junior high or high school or even close to being after … and I think it was probably a good thing that we weren’t together for a few years,” Joan said. said. “It led to the fact that we went through all those different experiences, and we can 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 her husband, Paul Martin, have been married for two years, but due to the coronavirus pandemic and issues with immigration procedures, they couldn’t be together until three months ago.
The couple, who affectionately call themselves Paul Squire, met in 2016 through a Facebook group. One day, Bradford, who lives in Florida, was accidentally kicked out of a related group chat, and when Martin, who was based in the UK, went to add her back, they started a conversation.
“In the beginning, it wasn’t that bad. It was just correcting the time zones because they were five hours ahead. And then it got to where we were just chatting every day. And that was several times a day ,” Paul Bradford told CBS News.
A few months later, they decided to spend a week together, and quickly realized how much they loved being together. The problem with starting a new relationship, he explained, was that they lived in an ocean art.
Paul Bradford said, “You’re not just talking about flying… you’re talking about an expensive plane ticket. You’re in a different country.” “…we were going to see each other every three months, but there were things going on in our work – it took us three months before we could see each other again.”
With immigration began a grueling process. Widespread demonstrations and the pandemic forced the postponement of interviews and meetings. Then, just before midnight on March 20, Paul Martin finally arrived in America to be with her husband.
“It took forever. We had been married for two years at the time. We got married, we went ahead and celebrated our honeymoon. We had to wait for the marriage certificate to come out and then we tried and got it. It took work to get. Over here. It took two years because the pandemic hit and just shut everything down,” said Paul Bradford. “This is our first time living together. We’ve never spent more than two weeks at a time. So we’re dealing with each other’s little quirks, little quirks. He puts things like this. Kind like to do. I like to do that. By the way… I really like her to be here… I have no regrets.”
Nina Borders and Diana Shanks
As Nina Borders and Diana Shanks like to say, they are like “yin and yang.” Nina, 35, is a firefighter medic 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 the one thing she loves most about Shanks is that she’s one of the few people who challenges her.
“I keep growing,” she said. “I grow and then she grows and then we grow as a couple. And it’s really beautiful.”
The couple met in 2018 when Diana promised to work with the Pasco Pride organization. A year later, they became a couple. Now, nearly three years later, Diana has come out as pansexual, and she and Nina — now the CEO of Pasco Pride — are working to make sure all LGBTQ individuals in their community have access to the resources and resources they need. Have access to the support they need.
“It’s really powerful to be in a relationship where together you’re building something that’s bigger than yourself,” Shanks told CBS News. “This relationship is so much about the two of us and our love for each other, but at the same time, we are creating something together that will keep us alive and that is going to make an impression.”
“To be out there today and proud, to be fully, just to be in our lives, it feels amazing,” Borders said. “And it feels so natural at the same time….and I think it should feel like that – liberating.”
Gina and Sally
Sally and Regina’s love story began about 47 years ago when the two met through a friend. After their first walk on the beach in Virginia, Gina – who was still Roger at the time – had made up her mind: Sally was the woman she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.
After four decades and two children, the couple’s bond grows even stronger: “I knew right away this was a very special person,” Sally said. “I’m not going to say it was always easy, but I love that person deep inside. The gentle man I married is still here. He hasn’t changed.”
Sally recalls 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 pretty enough. So to speak. Brings tears to my eyes. About. But I realized that it was the person inside her that I fell in love with. And I couldn’t live without her. So, how she looked from the outside, she really mattered 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 if you were art, you’ve made up your mind.”
Gina and Sally
Gina, who used to be in the Navy, said that she had spent a large part of her life capturing her feelings and hiding who she really was: “When I was a man, I thought of life as a thing. I saw what I went through. But when I became a woman, the world changed from primary colors to many, many colors. It made me feel right inside,” she said. “I could feel love deeper than ever.”
Sally said that whatever life takes on relationships, love is always worth fighting for: “I can’t imagine a day of my life without Gina. I’m not going anywhere,” she said. Gina said, “I am blown away by being with Sally. I absolutely adore her. It’s really pure.”
Ayesha and Lashrandra
Ayesha and Lasharandra met two years ago on a dating platform and have not parted ways since then.
“At first, I didn’t think we were going to make it as a couple because I didn’t think my strong-willed personality was going to pair well with her extra giving spirit, but as soon as I looked within I began to develop a deep love for him,” said Lashrandra.
Lasharandra said that his bond with Ayesha is “like Gorilla Glue: it’s unbreakable.”
“It bridged the g between my tough exterior and my deeply hidden soft side—something no one else could do,” she said.
Ayesha and Lashrandra
Lashandra says that some of the things that make their relationship successful is that they “constantly make it about the other person, having fun, exploring, and dating like we just met.”
Like every relationship, Ayesha and Lasharandra have their ups and downs: “You have to work hard for it and keep going through the toughest of times and always take care of each other. When it comes to true unconditional love Ayesha, you must love them. Who are they really who are without any expectations,” Ayesha said.
“We are each other’s yin to yang. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Natacha Larnaud contributed to this report.