I am so thrilled to bring you all the first edition of Boo’d Up! Boo’d Up is a celebration of love. Each entry will feature QTPOC sharing their love with the rest of us. I hope that these entries will give you as many feels reading about the couples as I got from interviewing them. In a society that often overlooks us, here we share a bit of ourselves at our softest and most vulnerable… in love.
Our first couple are friend’s of mine from Boston. I have admired the relationship of Shaunya Thomas , social entrepreneur, community organizer and curator, and Tara Parker, Professor, from afar for a while. And I still wasn’t prepared for how cute their interview was going to be. Laughter and joy radiated throughout and their love and passion for each other was evident.
Tell us a bit more about who each of you are.
Shaunya: We are cheesy! We are corny! We love it!
How did you meet?
Shaunya: We were supposed to meet 1.5-2 years before we did. We met through our mutual friend, Kim.
Tara: Kim just kept telling both of us that we had to meet. She kept talking to me about Shaunya.
S: I knew about you because we had been in several mutual spaces, several times. Kim had also told me I had to meet Tara. She suggested that Tara and I meet to network. No one ever followed up.
T: This wasn’t a set up. It really was about networking.
S: But the next time we were to meet, Tara decided she was romantically interested in me and had to meet me.
T: I was supposed to be a wingman to my friend for a party, but my friend said nobody was going. So I went through the guest list and I saw Shaunya’s picture. I thought about going anyway but I did not.
S: I went and had a good time. And then that night Kim texted me if I was single and I knew it had to mean someone was interested. I didn’t know who it was but I said yes because I was open to receiving someone on a level other than friendship. She didn’t tell me who it was and I didn’t even ask! Then a week later, Kim called me up, and said to meet for brunch. And Tara was going to be there. I took a long time to get ready.
T: I didn’t know that Shaunya was going to be there!
S: I roll up 2 hours later dressed for the day because I was meeting someone new. It was great!
What was your first impression of each other?
Tara: As she said, she came prepared and looked incredibly hot!
T: She was louder than I expected! And she was rude. But I still liked her because she was feisty!
S: Feisty and sassy! I thought Tara was very nosy. And that she was judging me the whole time because she was asking me a lot of questions.
T: Asking questions because I was trying to get to know you.
S: I forgot about that! She was really really intense! Nosy and inquisitive. I felt like she was trying to judge me.
How long have you been together?
Tara: 953 days! (as of 7/24/18)
Shaunya: That is correct! We decided to count how many days it’s been since we met. A friend of ours keeps asking and now it’s like a competition (to remember the dates). We’ve been together for 2.5 years. We met December 13, 2015.
Who said ‘I love you’ first?
Tara: That’s easy, I did! And her response was no!
Shaunya: (laughs) True story!
When did you know you were in love?
Tara: You were trying to tell me you loved me before I said it.
Shaunya: I knew I was in love with Tara as soon as I could breathe with her. I was like wow, she really sees how magnificent I am! <laughter> She really accepts me and any imperfections. She really sees me. And in that moment I was like ‘oh my god’. It felt early to me to feel like I really dig this person, I could ride for her. I wanted to protect her and to make sure she always knows that she is loved. It was after that first meeting that I realized I could be myself with her. And that let me feel like I could put it all out there with her. And she laughs at all my corniness. All my jokes! We get each other! We watch tv and we talk and we laugh!
T: When I realized I could be completely myself. I can tell a corny joke and she laughs and that was it.
S: Sense of humor is so big to me. You have to make me laugh!
T: We just kind of spoke the same language!
Who takes longer to get ready?
Tara: That’s a tough question! It is tough because we’re about equal.
T: Yeah but you won’t know it. It depends on the occasion.
S: Who takes longer for going out, who takes longer going to work.
T: Shaunya can get ready really quickly sometimes. She will just get in the shower and be like let’s go and then I’m not ready.
S: Depends on if i know what i’m going to wear. All accessories including hair, it depends. So we’re equal!
T: I’ll think we’re just relaxing and Shaunya is planning the whole day in her head.
S: It also depends if we’re traveling.
Who is the better cook?
T: Shaunya. She’s a great cook!
S: Yes me! But Tara made these tacos early on and they were so good. But she can grill.
T: Yeah I can grill.
Who is your partner’s biggest celebrity crush?
Shaunya: We won a contest on this! We played a game with other couples friends and we won! Hers is Sanaa Lathan. And I’ll give her a hall pass on that.
Tara: Michelle Rodriguez, no hall passes! Next!
What is the best date you’ve had together?
T: I will say our first date was the best date. In part because it was unexpected. She surprised me with some things that I didn’t think I wanted to do and then I liked it. Paint night was our first date. Then we did a plant night a month later for my birthday.
S: Paint night was our official first date. I picked that.
T: She did. She picked them both. And they were good.
S: My favorite was the glass blowing date.
What is one of your pet peeves about your partner?
S: Her arrival time. Her lateness.
T: I knew you were going to say that! Mine is about getting ready. She spends an hour planning what to wear to get ready. Then I take the fall for her lateness.
S: She has no pet peeves with me, write it down!
What is the best quality about each other?
Shaunya: The best quality, hands down, Tara will give you the shirt off her back. All the time. Anything you need, she’ll be there in a crunch. She shows up. No matter what you can call her and she’ll be there for you.
Tara: It’s hard to pick one. She is a good listener. Shaunya is very passionate about everything she does. That sums up everything about her.
If you could choose just three words to describe your partner what would they be?
S: Insatiable, brillant, joyful.
T: Hilarious, passionate, loving.
S: Really? Yay! Thank you! You could have said I was attractive. Beautiful--
T: I don’t have to tell everyone you’re beautiful, everybody knows it!
What makes your love unique?
Tara: We just don’t give a damn! We just do our own thing!
Shaunya: We dance to the beat of our own drum. And we love each other on a whole other level.
T: We don’t broadcast our relationship like all over social media.
S: I would rather tell my whole story instead of just segments so we don’t advertise. I don’t compare us to other couples. We’re unique in who we are. Everything happens in its time and for a reason and I think that we found something really unique and genuine. We live in our own little world.
T: We just do our own thing.
S: And we laugh, a lot!
Do you have any advice for other queer woman and non-binary POC looking for love?
S: Be yourself. 1000% and over communicate. Bring your full self. And trust your gut. You will know when it’s time to bring your full self to the table. And when you’re in it, communicate. Always. No such thing as too much.
T: Follow your own rules. I told her I liked her from the beginning and we just did our thing.
Where do you see yourselves in the future?
S: Married. Barefoot and pregnant!
T: I was gonna say the same thing! Yeah we’ll be married. 6 kids. Just kidding. I have a daughter.
S: I have a grandson. We will continue to blend our families and hopefully have room for others in our family as well. Our nuclear family and our tribe.
One of the things that will try us will be our film project. It’s called Uncommonwealth. She’s the director. I am the producer and creator. That will be a part of our near future and will show us working together in another way. This article, like our documentary is about representation. As QWOC we need to be seen and we need to be heard!
If you and your boo(s) would like to be featured in Boo’d Up! Apply here. Poly relationships are also welcomed!