What Role Can Political Resistance Play In Romantic Relationships? We Asked These 8 Couples To Weigh In.

"Her activism is something that really drew me to her."

What Role Can Political Resistance Play In Romantic Relationships? We Asked These 8 Couples To Weigh In.

Since the Women's March on Saturday, January 21, a new protest has erupted in cities across the United States each weekend. Some have already dubbed protesting "the new brunch," but couples might want to consider it the new date night. 

Or rather, afternoon. At 2 p.m. on on Saturday, February 4, the most recent protest, an LGBT solidarity rally, took place at The Stonewall National Monument. Christopher Street in New York's West Village overflowed with thousands of people advocating social justice, acceptance, and resilience in the fight against President Trump's recent executive order affecting immigrants from Muslim-majority countries

Over the past few weeks, these marches, protests, and rallies have proven to bring millions of strangers together, but what role can political resistance play in romantic relationships?

Can love for a shared cause increase one's love for their significant other? Does banding together bring couples closer together? Is dissent not only patriotic, but romantic? Perhaps most importantly, can activism be an aphrodisiac?

We didn't know. But a rally intertwining a person's right to choose who they love into the collective fight to preserve everyone's equal, civil, and inalienable rights seemed like the perfect place to ask.


1. Mark Farrell and Angel Solis

One couple, Mark and Angel, stood next to one of many barricades lining the street. Perched on the base of a tree, Angel wrapped his arms around Mark's shoulders as they both watched the speakers. They've been protesting together since the inauguration, and they agree it's helped them grow closer to each other, their friends, and even strangers. "When things are dismal and uncertain, you can feel like you don't know what to do and feel hopeless," Mark told A Plus. "Standing with other people who feel the same way, it can make your relationship stronger." 

2. Vanessa Alvarado and Glenda Hobal

While Vanessa and Glenda have been together for almost nine years, this was their first protest together. A mutual decision made while hanging out at Cubbyhole, a "lesbian, gay, and straight friendly" bar in the West Village, Vanessa and Glenda agreed that attending protests as a couple has definitely strengthened their relationship. "We actually have political differences so it's great that this has brought us together," Vanessa told A Plus. "Very different," Glenda was quick to agree. Protesting has also helped the couple feel closer to their friends, many of whom attended the rally with them, and even empowered them to make new ones. 

And though this may been their first protest together, the couple doesn't think it'll be their last. "If there's something that I think we both come to an agreement with, and we feel the same way about it," Vanessa added. "Yeah, of course, we'll go." 

3. Kevin Fields and Jon Bolick

Kevin and Jon held hands so they wouldn't lose each other while making their way through the packed rally crowd in hopes of getting a better view of the speakers. Their second protest together after attending the Women's March in Washington D.C., they both agreed this new couples' activity has strengthened their relationship. "He's a little more socially active than I am, but that's why I come," Jon told A Plus.  "I've always been a bit more politically inclined," Kevin concurred, "[but] I'm really happy to see people become more politically inclined because it's not really an option, at this point, to remain passive." 

5. Jenny Byrne and Gillian Moran

Jenny (who just happens to be Australian and a green card holder) and her significant other, Gillian, usually go to upstate New York on the weekends. Not this time. After hearing about the LGBT solidarity rally, they immediately decided to stay in the city so they could attend their first protest together. Though they shied away from having their picture taken by A Plus, they nonetheless stood their ground at the rally. "We felt relieved that we could do something finally," Gillian told A Plus. 

Protesting together has even served as an accidental form of couples counseling. "We haven't fought once since we got here," Jenny joked. "We're taking up a different fight." 

6. Alicia MacCara and Pearl Wong

Alicia and Pearl are no strangers to protesting, both individually and as a couple. At their third or fourth protest together, Pearl explained how protesting together had become a natural part of their relationship. "I think individually we usually go to protests anyway," she told A Plus. "So it kinda makes sense that we would both wanna go to certain ones that we feel resonate [with] what we want to protest against." 

"I think we've always talked about things that affected us and affected people in our community," Alicia added. "…Her activism is something that really drew me to her." 

Regardless of her relationship status, Pearl has very rarely attended a protest alone. "A lot of times I'll go with a group of friends," she said, but as she and Alicia are both recent New York transplants, she noted, "It's kind of nice to be able to go with someone when there is no community." 

"At least this gets us out into some type of community, too," Alicia added. 

7. Curran Dougherty and Jessica Lu

Toward the end of the rally, Curran and Jessica held hands on an evening activist stroll by the legendary Stonewall Inn. Having worked in Hillary Clinton's campaign, Curran suggested the idea to Jess as a way to spend the weekend together before he headed back to Rhode Island. "Not many normal dates are like this," he told A Plus. "But sometimes when you have a date that actually has some meaning, it's a lot better than spending a lot of money on a nice restaurant." 

As a heterosexual couple, they felt it was important to show their allyship not only to LGBTQ-identifying people but all Americans. Jess explained to A Plus her personal attachment to the cause, "I went to NYU so I have friends that are gay. My boss right now is gay, and I just can feel their pain… I just don't think it's right." Curran agreed and added, "What we're seeing in this country is crazy, and we just can't stand for it so we had to show up and show our support… If everyone's rights aren't protected, then no one's rights are protected."

8. Debi and Sara Sisco and Wil and Aaron Hopes-Pflumm

Even couples that couldn't attend the rally in one another's physical presence found a way to be "together" at the rally: their signs. Wil and Debi went to the rally together, as well represented their spouses who were unable to attend. After being together almost four years, Wil and his husband Aaron were married four months ago, with Debi as the officiant. At the protest, Wil made sure both his and Aaron's voices came through loud and clear — and colorful — on his sign: "You haven't yet taken our rights. We're here to say you better fucking not." Wil, who considers last year an educational experience, told A Plus, "For every lie I learn, I learn something new."

Debi even made Sara, her wife of 14 years, into a sign, ensuring her presence was felt and voice heard at the protest. "My wife is transgendered," the sign proclaimed above a picture of Sara, who has been transitioning for the past two and a half years. "What's inside never changes," Debi told A Plus. Through this expression of unconditional love for each other, Debi conveyed her and her wife's shared commitment to equal rights for everyone. 


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