Lea and Nastassja went to the same college, but didn’t really get to know one another until they were assigned roommates at the 2012 NGLTF Creating Change conference in Baltimore. Now engaged, the couple said they want to “queer the gendered foundations of the institution [of marriage] through our union.”
“We wish other forms of relationships weren’t so marginalized,” Lea said, “but we are each other’s family, and we want that to be recognized in every sense possible.”
The couple recently celebrated their five-year anniversary and said that so much of their relationship thus far has been about “imagining and building the life we want together and the change we want to create in the world.”
“We’ve faced a lot of rejection and trauma from society, which has put us in situations of poverty and housing instability,” Lea said. “We needed to overcome our tendency to blame ourselves and turn on each other in order to learn to be our own support system. We embrace everyday forms of trauma healing and self-care and are accountable to ourselves, not to others’ expectations of us, in our strategy for survival,” they continued.
Lea and Nastassja say that they are brought together by any challenges they face.
“To us, love means supporting someone in their process of becoming; to respect their individual autonomy and choices and commit to supporting them in that journey while also taking accountability for any harms inflicted,” Nastassja said. “It means embracing the person they are, not just valuing the partner you want them to be.”
The couple can be seen here recently performing a TedX Talk on Cultivating A Culture of Consent.