I ran a competition on my Facebook page for someone to win a same sex couples portraits session with me. The reason I wanted to offer this was so I could show others in images and words that love really is love. A lot of people may not know same sex couples and I wanted to bring them closer in this way. I asked each entrant to talk about their story and what they love about each other. Donna and Claire’s story really touched our panel of judges.
“My name is Donna, I’m a 45 year old female, living happily with my partner of 20 years, Claire (40 years old). We met when she was 20 and me 24. I lived in Perth and she lived in Nowra. We actually met in a chat group discussing sporting injuries as I had recently been selected to play cricket for WA and she used to play soccer as a junior for NSW and Australia. We chatted on the net for a while. We didn’t know what each other looked like, and to find out we had to send photos via regular mail, which we did. When we first met I was a graduate research assistant for UWA Department of medicine, and Claire was a part owner in a pizza shop in Nowra. We decided to meet up in February 1997, and I flew to Sydney for a brief holiday. We hit it off! So, at the end of 1997 we made the decision that I would quit my job, pack up my bags and dog and move to Nowra to be with Claire. The last 20 years has been a roller coaster of emotions and change. Change personally, to our careers (she is now a Registered Nurse and I am a Paramedic) and to society. We survived 10 years of unsuccessful IVF. We have made friends who didn’t know any gays/lesbians and have changed their world views of LGBTQI.”
Donna and Claire have gone through many challenges but have done so together and come out stronger with more love and support than they could ever imagine. Their commitment to each other is inspiring.
After I showed Donna the photos she opened up more about how she feels about Claire. “I am totally in love with Claire. She is my best friend. We cry, laugh and love, the same as all couples. You captured it so beautifully. We are no different. Our desires, dreams, goals, wants and needs are the same as most people. I honestly don’t know how you do it, but you managed to show how much I adore her. It’s a very sincere and heartfelt thank you from me.”
And Claire opened up too, although she confesses she is not as good as Donna at expressing her feelings. “I am very lucky to have Donna in my life. I love the way she makes me the centre of her world. It is the little things that make the difference – I love how she opens car doors for me, even after 20 years. And I love how goofy she is, always trying to make me laugh with her silly antics. She is pretty special.”
I loved that we were able to take photos where Donna and Claire live and where they feel most relaxed. It is a wonderful community that is located between Campbelltown and Wollongong. The area has beautiful shared land with a pond, amphitheater, cafe and some feature rocks and a little countryside. We were able to get some gorgeous afternoon photos as the sun was going down. Donna and Claire live in a lovely home with the classic white picket fence and have two adorable furbabies, Fergie and Yoda! Claire and Donna are just like any other couple you may know except that perhaps they have been together longer!
I think that it is really important that everyone looks closely at these photos to see the 20 years of commitment, devotion and love they share. Love really is Love and I urge you to Vote Yes for Marriage Equality.