2017’s Couples We Love, Part 2

GO’s annual celebration of inspiring partnerships in love and life.

Photo by Nicki Fietzer/ De Nueva Photography

MJ & IRA – Manila, Philippines & New York, NY
MJ Yap, IT Service Manager
Ira Briones, Activist

MJ and Ira met through mutual friends at a speed dating event in early 2010. Ira had just begun exploring queer activist communities in Manila, which MJ had been part of for years. Their friendship turned romantic when they began dating a few months later.

Despite their living in separate time zones, the couple made the decision to get married while MJ was visiting New York.

“Five days later, we were in front of the Stonewall Inn at sunrise doing it!” MJ said. “The fact that it was exactly a week after marriage equality was passed in the United States is unforgettable, too.”

The couple has come to realize that there’s no one-size-fits-all for relationships and they have come up with their own style. “In our current long distance set up, we’ve been told it’s important to carve out a specific schedule for calls, but we’ve learned that being spontaneous with this works better for us,” MJ said. “We even ended up talking to each other more often than we would have if we followed a strict schedule.”

Currently, the couple is working on immigration plans so they can be living together in New York “thriving… with our cats.”