"The odds were against us"

Kelsey Reynolds and Kamah Asha Wilson call themselves “hopeful romantics.” “We are a lesbian-queer, interracial, progressively Christia...


Kelsey Reynolds and Kamah Asha Wilson call themselves “hopeful romantics.”

“We are a lesbian-queer, interracial, progressively Christian couple in the Deep South, from conservative families. Intersectional and circumstantial odds were against us, ”Mx said. Reynolds, which is not binary and uses courtesy titles and neutral pronouns.

Ms Wilson was facing an internal battle that “wouldn’t let me be with Kelsey without feeling like I was going to hell,” she said, adding that she also struggled to get over the feelings of cultural betrayal “by being with someone from a culture that has oppressed mine for hundreds of years.

Mx. Reynolds, who attended private religious schools all the way to college, said “there was a lot of indoctrination that I had to go through.” They added: “We were in a very difficult situation with our relationship towards the end of 2019 and we were even wondering if we wanted to get married.”

Mx. Reynolds was raised Methodist and Ms. Wilson said she grew up “charismatic non-denominational, within the umbrella of the Pentecostal denomination; different from Pentecostal religion, same root word. She added that, “although I’m still Pentecostal,” she and Mx. Reynolds now considers himself non-denominational.

The couple, who reside in Houston, met on Jan.21, 2013, as students in a human behavior class at the University of Southeast Louisiana in Hammond, Louisiana (both are from the Louisiana; Mx. Reynolds, 30, is from Baton Rouge and Ms. Wilson, 30, is from Gonzales.) Mx. Reynolds was seated diagonally in front of Mrs. Wilson, who noticed Mx. The fiery character of Reynolds and his budding relationship with one of his friends.

“It was the perfect place for me to watch Kelsey intriguingly. They had no idea I existed,” Ms. Wilson said. “I was so annoyed by Kelsey’s boisterous personality in the classroom and the fact that they were ‘stealing’ my best friend, Holly Edmondson. “

Over time, Ms Wilson said her annoyance turned into an appreciation for Mx. Reynolds’ “great personality, humor and cuteness”. But months would pass before they actually had “a proper conversation,” she added. On April 22, 2013, the last day of class, they both “hung out” with Ms. Edmondson at the campus library cafe and the two exchanged numbers.

The couple texted each other for a few weeks, then Mx. Reynolds said, “We basically ghosted each other.” But by the second week of the fall semester, they reconnected. “I went from angry to intrigued from friends to best friends to want to kiss you now,” Ms. Wilson said.

Once they started dating in August 2013, Ms. Wilson and Mx. Reynolds said it didn’t take long for each to realize that they had found something special in the other. The couple knew they had fallen in love, they said, in August 2014 while attending Glorieta Adventure Camp in Santa Fe, NM, which incorporates Christian teachings into its camps and retreats.

They were listening to “No Other Love” by Chuck Prophet and looking into each other’s eyes. Suddenly Mrs. Wilson found hers in tears.

“I was overcome with a silent but deep emotion,” she said. “I experienced such security at that time. I realized it was love and I wanted to look them in the eye, feel that, be safe, held and wanted for the rest of my life.

Ms Wilson added that Mx. Reynolds was also overcome with emotion. “Their eyes filled with tears and the next thing we knew, we were both sitting in silence, with music filling the room, our eyes fixed on each other crying. It was like we had a whole conversation.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southeast Louisiana, Ms. Wilson and Mx. Reynolds both earned a Masters of Social Work from the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston.

Mx. Reynolds works as a volunteer services program and engagement supervisor at the Houston Food Bank. Mrs. Wilson, who lost her job because of the pandemic, is now focused on growing her craft business, the Doris & Dot Shoppe, for which she makes jewelry and home decor items.

“After being made redundant during Covid, I am currently focusing on more creative work as I slowly re-enter the workforce,” she said. “I’m recovering from severe chronic burnout. “

On March 18, 2017, the two got engaged when Ms Wilson and Mx. The Reynolds each surprised the other with a proposal on their college campus. “It was spring break and we went back there specifically for me to move, but Kamah didn’t know until the day of,” Mx said. Reynolds, whose proposal involved a treasure hunt.

Friends of the couple gave Ms. Wilson the first clue of the hunt. “Come into the classroom where our minds first met,” he said. When Ms. Wilson arrived at the scene, she found another clue: “Come to the tree where our lives are intertwined like its roots. A third – “Come to where Aslan lives” – was waiting for him there.

The final clue – “Come to the garden where our souls first met” – led Ms. Wilson to Tinsley Gardens, on the grounds of the University of Southeast Louisiana. She arrived to find Sleeping at Last’s “Dear True Love”, one of the couple’s favorite songs, playing, with a traveling photographer and friends who were in the shot.

On the floor was a path of rose petals that turned into a heart, in the center of which stood Mx. Reynolds, who read a love letter to Mrs. Wilson and asked her to marry them.

But Ms Wilson didn’t just say yes, because Mx. Reynolds waited.

Instead, she said, “I will too if you say yes.” Confused, Mx. Reynolds watched Ms Wilson rummage through her bag, where an engagement ring was for Mx. Reynolds was waiting right now.

“It was better than the movies,” Ms. Wilson said.

The couple chose October 11, 2020 as their original wedding date. “Today is both National Coming Out Day and the anniversary of when we both said those big three words,” Mx said. said Reynolds. But because of the pandemic, they pushed back the date by almost a year exactly.

On October 10, they tied the knot in the garden of Shirley Acres, an event space in Houston. Mx. Reynolds’ uncle, Benjamin Thomas Lawson Jr., who was ordained by the Universal Life Church for the event, officiated. The 120 guests, most of whom were vaccinated, included Mx. Reynolds’ parents and paternal grandmother and Mrs. Wilson’s mother.

Ms Wilson’s father and other family members refused to attend.

“Many of my family members were not present because they made it clear that this union is against God and is illegitimate. A lot of friends who were leading figures and support systems in my life also got disconnected, ”Ms. Wilson said.

Ms Wilson wore a French organza and tulle gown with lace appliqués and a scalloped-edged veil embellished with pearls. She wore a bouquet wrapped in “the white gloves of my late grandmother Doris attached by some of her pins,” she added. “My grandmother Marion’s pin was also attached to it. “Mx. Reynolds donned a bespoke three-piece green suit.

Although neither of them are Jewish, the couple included a ketubah signature as part of the ceremony. “Christian faith comes from a Hebrew history. I wanted to honor this with a ketubah, a contract between us and God, ”Ms. Wilson said. “A marriage license is between us and the government. They also signed a Bible with their names and family tree at the wedding.

Mx. Reynolds added that “we have asked our guests, as our village, for a vow of support, which we already know we have, but how nice to have it on camera.”

Instead of cutting or taking the last name of one or the other, the couple chose to create a new one. They came with Lovelle. “The desire of our hearts was something unique, almost unheard of, with deep meaning, and something that meant or translated to ‘love’,” Mx. said Reynolds. “The heart of the name is love.”

At the reception, a four-tier wedding cake with four different flavors and toppings was served. The couple also had a cake. “It’s a southern tradition. You tie ribbons to the charms and each person draws a ribbon and the charm is your fortune or your omen. It’s a very Louisiana thing, ”Ms. Wilson said.

Mrs. Wilson also presented a gift to Mx. Reynolds, who is Irish and Scottish, who celebrated his family’s history: a memorial land in the Slievekirk Wood reserve in Ardmore, Ireland, accompanied by an honorary title. “When you own the land, you become a lord or a lady. We are now Lord and Lady of Ardmore, ”said Wilson.

Their penultimate dance was a New Orleans style second line that got all of the guests to stand up. “Even the waiters were dancing,” Ms. Wilson said. Participants cleared the floor at the end of the second row, leaving the couple to dance together one last time to “Dear True Love,” the song they played when they got engaged.

Like Mrs. Wilson and Mx. Reynolds left the room, guests waved ribbon chopsticks with bells attached to the ends. “It was quite magical to see the ribbons waving and hearing the bells ringing,” Ms. Wilson said. “And to hear everyone singing ‘Finally Lovelle.'”


When 10 October 2021

Or Shirley Acres, Houston

Planting roots During the ceremony, the couple transplanted a magnolia tree from a nursery pot to a new pot with soil from their loved ones’ gardens. “It’s the flower of the state of Louisiana, where we both come from,” Ms. Wilson said. “It represents persistence, longevity and all those things that you want in a relationship.”

Mothers’ Day Instead of the traditional father-daughter dance, the couple held mother-daughter dances at their reception. Mx. Reynolds jitterbugged with their mom at Meghan Trainor’s ‘Mom’ ‘because she taught me how to jitterbug,’ they said. Ms. Wilson danced with her mother on Benjai’s “Phenomenal”. “We were dancing around the house to put ourselves in a good mood,” she said.

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