This story was initially created as part of the Marriage Equality Movement Family Story Quilt which premiered at San Francisco City Hall on National Freedom to Marry Day in February 2007, honoring the historic Winter of Love and the 40th anniversary of the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court Loving vs. Virginia decision. These family stories -- created in 2007 -- now have many updates, babies have been born, many couples have gotten legally married in California in 2008, some have divorced, some have won historic union battles and so much more ... stay tuned for updates!
Monifa & Maya
- We've been together since 2006
- Maya grew up in the Bay Area and Monifa grew up in Ohio
- We are African American/Black
- We live in Oakland, CA
Monifa: We met at Mango (a dance club) I was feeling good and I had my good shoes on. I went to ask Maya to dance and she said yes. I thought I was in. So I asked Maya for her number and she said no. I gave her mine, but she didn't call me.
Maya: I wasn't feeling myself that day. I wasn't ready to date anyone at that time. I could feel a lot of potential but I didn't want to start anything until I could bring my best self.
Monifa: Two years later I was singing in the Sistahs Singin' in Pride choir and was just thrilled when Maya walked in the door. I was the communications director so I got her email address.
Maya: She didn't ask me for my email address. She just GOT IT off the sign in sheet!
Monifa: I asked her out on a date and she said yes. Finally after all those years we went out on a date. And now we're going to get married!
Maya: I should say that when I first met Monifa and each time I ran into her after that I was happy to see her. I always hoped our time would come. Now that we are finally together and extra in love, a wedding will not make change the way I feel about Monifa. But, it will help my family and friends understand the seriousness of our relationship and stop calling us friends.
Monifa: My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, and my grandparents were married for well over forty years. It's been my life's plan as long as I've had a life to have a partner, a family, and a home. Being gay doesn't in any way compromise that for me. When Maya and I announced our engagement I was always offended when people would say "Oh will you have a ceremony or something?" I'd say "NO. We're getting married."
I fundamentally believe in celebrating our marriage in front of family and friends who bear witness to our ritual. A wedding is a universal symbol of marriage. I do want the legal rights and I know that we deserve them. But, we are coming from a place of God given rights that are inalienable and non-negotiable.
Maya: I think because I can pass for straight, marrying Monifa will help my family to accept the fact that I'm gay and that our lives aren't that different from theirs. My brothers, their partners, my nieces, my dad, and Monifa and I were all sitting at the dinner table.
My brother said, "I'm not cool with your lifestyle." And I said, "What lifestyle are you talking about? I go to church just like you do. I look after our parents just like you do. And I love and respect my lady just like you do."
And he was totally quiet because he knew it was true.
The exhibit has toured extensively and is now part of an ongoing exhibit called THE LOVING QUILT 2010: A People's Living History - and Herstory - of Marriage Equality & Family Justice Movements
A Project of Marriage Equality USA in collaboration with NUMEROUS creative individuals & community, state and national organizations.
Maya Scott-Chung, MPH is the Creative Director and Curator of THE LOVING QUILT 2010 which was created during 2006-2010 as part of Maya's Masters in Public Health/ Community Health Education Thesis at San Francisco State University.
For exhibit booking and further information contact Maya: firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 381-0876
THE LOVING QUILT Webpage: www.marriageequality.org/quilt