After sharing their lives together for 27 years, two Northside residents became the first gay male couple to receive a marriage license in Cincinnati in 2015.
Professional dancers who met in Santiago, Chile, Rene Macheo and his partner Daryl Goldstein were married on July 18, 2015 in a ceremony at Hoffner Park in Northside.
Following the landmark Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide on June 26, 2015, married gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (GLBTQ) people now share the same protections afforded heterosexual couples under the law. Many are opposed to the SCOTUS’s decision, while others see it as a step toward greater equality for not only GLTBQ Americans but all people, in general. For Daryl, the SCOTUS decision made him feel “more American.”
“It is easy as a gay couple to live on the periphery of America feeling that we don’t truly belong, aren’t truly protected, and need to establish our own communities to feel comfortable,” Daryl remarked. Daryl finds living on the periphery especially true in the Midwest, yet Northside has provided him and Rene a “special place” to call home – mostly for the diversity the neighborhood brings.
“Northside was a great choice and geographical location for us to buy our first house. The people are diverse and the culture here is special,” Daryl said. For many GLBTQ Cincinnatians, Northside has always been a safe haven – the heyday of gay bars and the location of the Pride parade made Northside attractive to GLBTQ Cincinnatians who did not find the same degree of inclusion in other Cincinnati neighborhoods. Daryl, however, sees the climate in these other neighborhoods changing, “while the city does not have a gay commercial district, this city is tolerant and especially now accepting of a more diverse population.”
Finding an accepting community where he and Daryl might call home has been a priority for Rene as well. Originally from Guatemala City, Guatemala, Rene left home at age 14 to pursue ballet, but also because his father did not accept him as a gay male.
“I considered that my first abandonment and the last,” Rene said. Over the next few decades, Rene followed marriage equality commentators and bloggers, a witness to the small shifts in the political and social climate toward GLBTQ Americans. Now, Rene wants to “keep all those bad commentaries far away from (young GLBTQ people) and hope(s) they never have to endure our path.”
Change has come slowly but swiftly for many GLBTQ Americans and while work is left to do, particularly for GLBTQ Americans who do share in white, cis-gendered, or middle-class privileges, Rene believes to have found in America a “happily ever after,” a joy “to call (Daryl) and know that in every way he is my husband.”
“When I was 22 years old, I said to Daryl, ‘let’s grow old together, let’s make a life,’” Rene said. And make a life they have – 27 years later, Rene and Daryl are a part of the diverse fabric that is Northside, no longer on the “periphery of America” but at its core. Couples such as Rene and Daryl prove that love knows no bounds, no race, no gender, no sexuality. Here’s to another 27 years.