Alyy & Praanee — Canada
Alyy Patel, Executive Director of the Queer South Asian Womxn’s Network
Praanee Chandrasegaram, Graduate student in Addictions & Mental Health
In 2018, Praanee spotted a t-shirt in the crowd at Pride Toronto’s Dyke March that read “Not all lesbians are white.” Excited by the representation of queer South Asian womxn, Praanee pointed it out to her friends, though she and the woman wearing the shirt didn’t meet that day. Instead, Praanee saw the woman, named Alyy, on a mutual friend’s Instagram story a year later during Pride 2019 and asked for an introduction.
On their first date, Alyy felt “sparkle emojis” and the world around her just stopped while Praanee was telling her a story. “It felt cinematic — unlike anything I had ever experienced in other relationships,” says Alyy. But that was just one of many instances where Alyy felt like Praanee could be the one. When she knew for sure, though, was after their first big fight. “We worked through it by listening to each other and learning from it, and that was our first major point of growth,” says Alyy. “It established a really good theme of growth and health, which has since underpinned our relationship dynamic and allows us to be each other’s support systems in order to become the best versions of ourselves.”
For Praanee, there wasn’t one specific moment that she knew. Rather, considering the couple admittedly had a bit of a rough start, it was the growth through each other’s guidance — both individually and as a couple — that made her realize how deep her love was for Alyy. “She’s helped me understand myself better during rough patches and continuously surprises me with cute gestures,” says Praanee. “I knew Alyy was the one for me because she’s worked through the hard times with me and made the good times even better.
Aside from spending time together and growing as a couple, the two have been busy this past year. Alyy runs Queer South Asian Women’s Network, a national nonprofit that aims to increase the visibility of queer Desi womxn in Canada, while Praanee has been continuing her education. The couple has also been seeing each other long distance and say that lockdown has given them more time to spend together (virtually!). “We truly believe in living in the moment and following our hearts, which makes every day a fun new adventure — even in quarantine!” says Alyy.
Yasmin & Melanie — Wood-Ridge, NJ
Yasmin Walker, Corporate Catering & Events Director
Dr. Melanie McDonald, Management Professor, School of Business, New Jersey City University (NJCU); Freelance DJ (known as DJ PhD)
Yasmin and Melanie’s love story started when they were put into a Facebook lesbian singles group; Yas saw Mel’s profile and friend requested her. The following weekend they ran into each other at a party. A week after the party, Yasmin asked Melanie out on their first date, which culminated in a playful game of pool. “[Melanie] beat me, but the energy was so electric I didn’t mind one bit,” says Yasmin. “Plus, the consolation prize of kisses and hugs were far better, and I realized I had won the real prize after all.”
“Soon after, it hit me that this was different; it felt like the real thing,” says Melanie of their first date. “We connected in a way that felt so natural yet exciting and tender.” That connection only strengthened over time, and Yasmin knew that Melanie was the one. Determined to propose to her on a Halloween yacht party, Yasmin insisted on going as Nick Cannon from “America’s Got Talent” so she had an excuse to wear a suit during the special moment. Melanie, however, had other ideas at what her Halloween would be — and what they would look like, as she wanted a couples costume. “I, as a huge ‘Walking Dead’ fan insisted we go as Darryl and Michonne instead,” says Melanie. “Looking back, it still makes memm laugh, and it shows how accommodating she is! I would have definitely selected a more glamorous character if I had known.”
Luckily, even in zombie fighter garb, Yasmin proposed to Melanie in front of the entire Halloween party. While the pair was originally scheduled to get married in August 2020, the pandemic forced a much smaller backyard event instead. However, the pair also scheduled a tentative new date to celebrate with friends and family. Aside from the rescheduling, the pandemic has also kept Yasmin and Melanie inside, which, fortunately, means more time to spend together. In that time, they began a fashion Instagram, @drstylzz, to show content of their style both individually and as a couple. “Covid has, unfortunately, put a hold on all of our lives, so this has been a beautiful and bonding outlet,” says Melanie.
Yasmin and Melanie plan to continue building their lives together, pandemic aside. Learning and growing together means falling more and more in love, and both are excited at what the future holds considering how amazing it has been for the couple so far. “The universe awarded us with so many blessings in our five years together,” says Yasmin.