To the Husband I Lost at 24
Fighting inequality brought us together, fighting cancer made us inseparable
“If it turns out that this is incurable, would you marry me?” is not your traditional marriage proposal, but then again, Andy and I haven’t lived traditional lives.
My Big Bean
Andy and I first met after literally running into each other at a White House reception honoring the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in June of 2012. I was fortunate enough to have been invited after coming out publicly as a transgender woman while serving as student body president at American University. Andrew, 26 at the time, had come out as a transgender man several years prior and was now a leading LGBT health policy advocate in Washington, D.C.
I hadn’t given our clumsy “meeting” at the White House much thought until I received a charming and suave Facebook message from that handsome guy two months later. His friends have since told me he spent hours writing and re-writing the short message, in which he asked me out for coffee or drinks. After several online conversations and a few more chance encounters while I interned at the White House, we finally managed to find some time to go out for dinner.
We quickly found that we had far more in common than our transgender history — no doubt an important component of our identities, but still only one part. We both had a passion for law and politics, a love of “trash television” as he would call it, a desire to travel, and an incessant need to be right. We both became involved in politics after an intense interest in film. We both loved Star Wars, although his love dwarfed anything I could muster. And we both had an obnoxious affinity for baby-talk and nicknames; he was the “big bean,” to my “little bean.” I still maintain that I certainly got the better deal: he was generous, loving, smart, funny, and enjoyed the perfect mix of hard work and play (many of the traits I found common in people from his beloved home state of Wisconsin).