Meet five LGBTQ Valentine matches living and loving in the ATL

Who better to talk about queer love on Valentine’s Day than those committed couples and polyamorous clusters who make it work every other day of the year?

Photographer Russ Bowen-Youngblood met these fascinating local LGBTQs at home with their significant others.

To complement the imagery, we asked them some probing questions about being lucky in love and staying that way.

Keep scrolling for outtake shots not seen in print and extended interviews.

All photos by Russ Bowen-Youngblood for Q magazine

E. Vincent Martinez and Alex R. Page

Years Together: 3.5

Vincent: fashionando.net and Doggies on the Catwalk Foundation

Alex: Marketing /PR

How they met

We met co-hosting a charity event. We had an initial lunch meeting about it and started dating.

Their best relationship advice

Communication is key! You have to talk to each other. Also, respect individuality. Remember why you fell in love and don't try and change them.

Keeping things interesting

We married last fall and love the union it represents. We're building a life together, personally and professionally, and that is very exciting. We love to stay home with our dogs and Netflix, but we also love traveling together. It's all about balance.

Final thoughts

Don't over think. Let your heart win.

 

Taylor Alxndr & Avery Willis + 

Taylor Alxndr & Lawrence Carrasco

Taylor & Avery: 2 years, 2 months.

Taylor & Lawrence: 8 months

Taylor: Musician, drag queen and community organizer. Founder and director of Southern Fried Queer Pride and House of Alxndr

Avery: Barista, student, organizer and drag king

Lawrence: Gunsmith, gun salesman and drag king

How they met

Taylor and Avery met at Georgia State University at the LGBTQ student org. We knew each other for a year before we started flirting and started dating.

Taylor and Lawrence met at a drag show in Athens. A mutual friend and fellow performer introduced us to one another that night.

Typical date night

Taylor & Avery: We’re both busy queers, so usually our date night is either relaxing at home and watching Netflix, or going out to a drag show together. Every once in a while when we have the time and energy, we’ll go out for more intentional dates. Bowling is one of our go-tos, and movies

Taylor & Lawrence: Usually it’s going to see a movie and grabbing some dinner. We are infamous for a ‘Netflix and Chill’ kind of night, followed by desserts and snacks. Sometimes our date night is taking Lawrence’s dog, Sydney for walks.

Relationship advice

Taylor: Communicate. You can never over-communicate. Especially being polyamorous, you’re always communicating and checking-in. And never look for love. Love will find you. Regular, everyday things have become ways we express our love for each other: grocery shopping, cleaning, etc. It’s not always about dates or grand gestures, but just showing up for each other.

Avery: The people who are about you and care about the relationship you’re building (platonic, sexual, romantic, familial) will be willing to have the hard conversations when they’re needed. Pay attention to those people and hold them close.

Lawrence: Love language is definitely important. I’ve not only become more fluent in my partner’s, but I began to understand that my own love language is changing. It definitely takes patience, especially coming from primarily monogamous relationships in the past.

Keeping it interesting

Avery: I love that Taylor’s one of my best friends, and my favorite person in the world. They’re always the first person I want to tell good news to and they’re always there if/when I get bad news. 

Lawrence: Taylor loves to keep me guessing, but in a good way. Surprising me daily as we grow closer and closer keeps me excited for what the future holds and how we will grow.

Taylor: I’m excited to see the person Avery is becoming. I’m so proud of all that they do and how hard they work. I really value the vulnerability Lawrence and I have created with each other, and I’m excited to be even more open with him. Being with Lawrence has taught me it’s okay to let go and not be in control sometimes.

 

Ashley and Hanna Rodgers

Years Together: 4.5 together, 1.5 married

Ashley: Owner/Operator of organic farm Rodgers Greens & Roots, Douglasville

Hanna: LCSW therapist in private practice, Decatur

Typical date night

We absolutely love visiting one of the restaurants/chefs Ashley sells her organic produce to weekly. From Miller Union, King + Duke, and St. Cecelia, to 8 Arm, By George and Bacchanalia to name a few. It's an incredible experience having chefs show us everything they are doing with our produce.

Best relationship advice.

We have both most definitely learned that addressing our childhood wounds is required for us to have a healthy relationship. How our parents modeled trust, attachment, communication and love is how we will treat our partners, whether that's good or bad. … It's about team-spiritedness, apologizing and committing to work through it together. 

Biggest surprise as the years go by

The thing that has surprised us the most has been the way people in society (even OTP) have treated us differently once we were legally married. Even rural people tend to take us more seriously, versus when we were a committed couple who owned land and a farm together but didn't have that one legal document.

Keeping things interesting

The most exciting next step for us is having our first child this August and growing a family of our own. We love daydreaming about our child exploring our farm — full of curiosity with their hands in the soil pulling carrots with us.

Final thoughts

Valentine's Day can be really hard for a lot of people. If you have a friend who is grieving a recent break up, scoop them up and be there for each other. It's a lot easier going through this life with people who truly see and value us as we are.

 

Tameeka Hunter and Rebecca Glatzer

Years Together: 17 together, 7 married

Tameeka: Doctoral Candidate in PhD program; soon-to-be Professor 

Rebecca: Legal Recruiter

How they met

At one point, we worked together, but the relationship began when a mutual friend invited us both out for dinner.  

Secrets to success

Challenge your expectations about who your ideal person is. At first glance, we have nothing in common: Tameeka is African-American, has a disability, and is Christian. Rebecca is white, non-disabled, and Jewish. However, we have a lot in common: We both value family, genuine people, great food and education. Our core values are the constant that has kept us together for 17 years.

Biggest surprise as the years go by

We are not the same people who met 17 years ago, but we genuinely like and respect each other. We’ve grown together, which has been a pleasant surprise. Another surprise is how much humor has gotten us through hard times. Being willing to laugh at ourselves and to make each other laugh has bonded us.

Keeping things interesting

We really value and respect each other, and we are invested in each other’s goals, hopes and dreams. Seeing the person you love achieve what they want in life is extremely exciting.

Final thoughts

Real commitment is a decision that you make daily, and love is a verb! We made the decision to never give up on each other, even during tough times. Life has definitely tested us, but we came out stronger.

 

 

Cory Klose and Andrew Schmidt

Years Together: 8

Cory: Nonprofit Executive 

Andrew: Music Teacher

How they met

We met singing in a professional choir, Kinnara, up in Princeton, NJ. They're based in Atlanta now, and we still both sing with them.

Typical date night

Cooking while drinking wine and laughing at My Dad Wrote A Porno before we sit on the couch and eat while we catch up on whatever TV show we're currently hooked on.

Best relationship tip

Be open and upfront about what you are looking for. Be in love with yourself and honest about what you need from a relationship. 

Keeping things interesting

We're goofy and we laugh together all the time. That never gets old.

Final thoughts

We've been here two years, and we're really glad to call Atlanta home. We've both made some incredible friends and love the scene here. Keep it gay, ATL!

All photos by Russ Bowen-Youngblood for Q magazine

This feature originally appeared in Q magazine. Read the full issue online here:

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