This Lesbian Couple Fled From Russia And Finally Got Married In The U.S.
Natalya and Asya have been together for more than a decade and are raising a child together. After leaving Russia, they celebrated a milestone that would have been impossible in their homeland — they got married.
Natalya and Asya are from St. Petersburg, Russia. They've been together for almost 11 years now.
The couple first met in Crimea, where Natalya was vacationing and Asya was visiting her parents.
The relationship between the couples' respective parents became strained after the birth of their daughter.
Back in Russia, they also dealt with neighbors who threatened to call child protective services.
Some doctors refused to give their child medical care, even during emergencies.
Natalya and Asya cited their child as the main reason they left Russia.
"The question of leaving Russia is complicated. It's not a question of 'Do you want to leave Russia?' as much as it is 'How realistic is it?'" said Natalya.
Last week, surrounded by friends, Natalya and Asya decided to get married. They moved to America in January, and are now in the process of filing for asylum.
They often struggle with navigating a daunting city while still learning English.
Still, Natalya and Asya feel New York is a much safer place than St. Petersburg for their family.
After four months in the U.S., Natalya and Asya are still adjusting to being an out gay couple in America.
“Once, someone at the bus stop asked us if we were together and we were scared and didn’t know what to say, because if you say you’re gay in Russia, you could immediately get hit on the head," said Natalya.
Now the women share an apartment complex with an LGBT activist and get around the city with help from friends in the local Russian-speaking LGBT community.
After attending another Russian same-sex wedding in America, they decided they too wanted to tie the knot.
“We decided to get married when we got here, but in truth, it was always a childhood dream of mine,” said Natalya.
While their future in America remains uncertain, Natalya and Asya are choosing to focus on raising their child together and taking everything day by day.
"As early as February, people here were coming up to us and saying how wonderful it is that we're together and holding hands," Natalya said.