For their “Coolest Black Family in America,” EBONY.com features wives JaChel and Micaela. Editor’s Note: The beautiful couple was featured in ELIXHER’s ‘Our Family’ column back in 2011.
In the inaugural issue of ELIXHER Magazine, we visit Staceyann Chin’s Brooklyn home for an intimate photo shoot. The author and new mom talks about her first year of motherhood, how her dating and sex life have changed with a kid, and more.
ELIXHER had the opportunity to talk to Chwanda and Kacey Frierson-Nixon, a lesbian couple who made national headlines when they embarked on an “I Do Marathon” to legally wed in eight cities in ten days blending their family of seven children.
Our Family is a series that celebrates two-mommy families and delves into some of the challenges they face. The goal of the series is to depict same-sex parent families in a way that’s authentic and dispels myths associated with same-sex childrearing. This week we chat with Telle, 31, and Kelly, 45, about their blended family, newborn daughter, Zoey, and their decision to co-parent with Zoey’s biological mother, Ane, 30.
ELIXHER: How do you define “family”?
TELLE: Any group of people in a social structure that live together, grow together, and love together whether they are near or far, no matter what the circumstance. There are so many ways to define a family, but the way I define it is complete and unconditional love for my immediate family members and anyone that has taken on the role of a very close friend and confidant. Biology isn’t all there is to a family, and I’ve had friends who have felt more at home with my family than with their own. Family is my greatest source of love and strength.
KELLY: I define family as my close relatives; my partner and my partner’s close relatives. Zoey is the newest member of our ever-expanding family.
ELIXHER: Tell us a bit about your family.
KELLY: I have two grown boys, ages 27 and 28, three grandchildren, ages 6, 4 and 2. I identify as a “femme,” and I happen to be bubbly with a welcome and open spirit. I have a live-in-the-moment type personality. We live on the north side of Chicago. My oldest son, John, lives one floor below us in the same building.
TELLE: My immediate family consists of my girlfriend, my 4-month-old daughter, Zoey, and my daughter’s biological mom, Ane. I also have a dog named Voldermort. I have no biological children of my own, however, I consider Zoey to be related by a bond that is just as powerful; love. I’m a soft-stud lesbian who prescribes to an old school train of thought as it relates to my family and romantic relationships. I’m very big on chivalry — opening doors, pulling out seats, wining and dining, and treating my lady like a queen.
Although there is often criticism directed at lesbians who tend to “adopt heterosexual roles” in relationships, I must say that I’m proud of the butch-femme history and everything it represents. It has served the GLBTQ community well throughout the decades. It’s natural to want to mimic our parents healthy relationships, which is traditionally at the heart of the matter. A large source of my pride is derived not only from my connection to and my sense of family and culture, but also the community of butch women before me who pioneered a path that allows people like me to be whoever we want to be; without fear of rejection, disregard, or disrespect for who we are, and how we identify.
My girlfriend is a high-spirited woman. Her heart is as kind as her soul. With that said, we love a healthy debate every now and then, but I’m the highly competitive one in the family, and everyone knows it. My daughter’s personality is still developing, but she has a beautiful spirit that shines through more every day. She’s full of smiles, laughter, and surprises and every time I look into her pretty little face, I can’t help but think of how lucky I am. She’s a very happy baby. Zoey and her mommy split their time, 50/50, between grandma’s place and mine.