2023 Love List
Brent Mecikalski & Nick Ross, Appleton, 4 years
Rachel & Peg Zizmann, Madison, 8 years
D’Quionte (Que) Hughes & Quinton Marks, Milwaukee, 14 years
Dawn & Amanda Siebert – Evenstone, Madison, 16.5 years
T.J. Meehan & Larry Ortt, Boscobel, 47 years
Brent: A sensitive boy from rural Wisconsin, I searched for a community anywhere I’d be welcomed. For years, I was deeply rooted in Christian organizations, where I heard the message: “You are welcome here… as long as you’re not queer.” In college, a mentor told me that I’d never find love if I “acted on that sin,” yet in 2012, I came out as bisexual with the encouragement from my mom, costing me most of my Christian “friends.” My queerness brought new confidence, though, and I built new and genuine relationships.
In 2018, I met a sassy little queerdo whose intelligence and charm were unforgettable. A month later, while snowshoeing during a snowstorm, Nick and I made our relationship official! Together, we’ve built a family with our three cats, and I understand what it feels like to be loved unconditionally. Nick creates space for me to be myself and has taught me more about being a good person than Christianity ever did. Nick’s work as an advocate continues to inspire my own work as an educator. It has been one of the greatest honors of this lifetime to be able to love and be loved by Nick, and I’m excited to tie the knot next year!
Nick: I am a survivor of intimate partner violence, and I was celibate for five years after my abusive relationship ended. My ex is a Gemini, and I vowed to never be in a relationship with a Gemini ever again. Then I met Brent, the sweetest, kindest, and sexiest Gemini I’ve ever known! Healing from domestic violence is not linear, and we as an LGBTQ+ community have few models of healthy relationships to look to for guidance, so it took me a while to feel like I deserved love from someone like Brent.
But I do. We all do, whether it’s from a romantic partner or partners or friends and family. Brent is an amazing elementary school teacher, but he’s also taught me so much—how to communicate in healthy ways, how to compromise, and literally how to drive a car! In college, I was a radical queer who thought marriage was assimilating to the racist heteropatriarchy and wanted no part of it. I haven’t totally sloughed off that radicalism, but now I’m looking forward to celebrating our wedding with friends and family in the summer of 2024. Oh, how love can change a person…