This Is a Love Letter With an Ending Just For You [UPDATED]

I’ll never forget what she said:

“I feel like throwing up.”

Ciera with Grandma

Ciera with Grandma

It was the first time I’d told her how I felt about her. Her queasiness hadn’t been because of me or my disclosure, but from the prospect of coming out for a second time, to intensely homophobic parents who had rejected her first relationship.

You would think Hawaii  — the first state in the union whose Supreme Court ruled that excluded homosexuals from the right to marry could be unconstitutional — would harbor less homophobia than the mainland. But we’ve suffered an influx of colonization, and Christian Right groups who set up shop specifically to undermine the movement for marriage equality. Hawaii, of all places, can claim a historical and cultural support for same-sex marriage, yet there is so much internalized racism and homophobia pervading Hawaiian families to a cultural breaking point, that no one seems to remember the inclusive practices of our Original People: the Kanaka Maoli.

In car

The four weeks following my admission weren’t exactly easy.  That awful rejection from her parents had been enough to drive her back into the closet in order to maintain ties with her family.

At Kauai Waterfall

But what we had become was unavoidable. Our friendship had shifted into romance after a date with a dozen pink roses and me confessing, “I just want to be with you… All the time.”

Enter U-Haul.

Ciera overlooking Kauai valley

Ciera overlooking Kauai valley

I want to love my partner until the day she dies, and hope that Heaven has a place for our love to continue. We both identify as Christian lesbian feminists, and that may seem a bit out of place in conventional society but then again, so was Jesus. I undoubtedly believe that this feeling is something God wants to bless.

I want us to keep hoping, loving, and lobbying for that right that God has given us to be free, equal, and happy — even against all odds and with the threat of rejection looming over us.

Ciera planting a taro patch

Ciera planting a taro patch

I will express my God-given rights not to let the constructs of hetero-sexists prevent me from freely expressing my love to the woman who changed my life forever — the woman God led me to find at the perfect time: a Kanaka Maoli, an activist, an economist, a daughter, a sister, the love of my life an and avid Autostraddle reader.

In Bed

Ciera Ku’uleimomi Cummings, will you marry me?


(I got the barf bag ready.)

 She said YES!!!

I just wanted to thank you and your team for being a part of this special moment. When I started reading Autostraddle a couple of years ago, I was a closeted baby dyke who had just moved back to Hawai’i from the Bay Area and was in desperate need of queer community. I never would have thought I’d be a part of the first AS proposal!

Kathy mentioned that she wanted to propose this way because I was an avid reader, but it’s also important to add that she chose Autostraddle because she knew the AS community would be overwhelmingly and outwardly supportive of us. I haven’t spoken to my parents (or my grandma, from the first photo) in months because they don’t approve of our “lifestyle,” so I’m not sure if they’ll be at our wedding. Every comment and +1 from an AS reader feels like a hug, and I can’t properly express how grateful I am for that.


There was some crying this Sunday, but it was the good kind. And after we cried, we went to church and held hands. We’ll be walking down the aisle of that same church just as soon as we can get our state legislators on board.

Me ka mahalo piha ia ‘oukou (With whole-hearted gratitude to all of you),


Kathryn is a Hawaii-based activist and policy-change-maker for issues regarding women’s rights and anti human trafficking. Since 2005, she has helped introduce and pass several laws including the first state legislation in the nation making the selling of sex-tours a felony offense, reforms to the Hawaii prostitution laws, and the state’s first labor trafficking law. Kathryn is the founder of Girl Fest Hawaii, the state’s longest-running multimedia festival. In 2013, she’s been lobbying local lawmakers to support Marriage Equality, arguing that homophobia — especially from the faith-based community — is not only spiritually wounding, but a form of severe child abuse contributing to youth homelessness, youth drug abuse, teen suicide, and vulnerability to sexual exploitation. She is on the Twitter machine at @KathrynXian

Ring from One Stone Shop, using ethically sourced gemstones, conflict free diamonds and 100% recycled metals.

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Kathryn has written 1 article for us.


  1. what a lovely way to wake up on a Sunday, sip some coffee with my fiancee, and be told that someone wrote a (beautiful) proposal love letter on Autostraddle!

    Sending out love to you and your families, and hoping for the best for you two! <3

  2. *tears*

    Might it be premature to quote Proverbs 31? – “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above rubies.” Wishing so many blessings for you both. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story with us!

  3. a) awesome awesome awesome

    and then, “We both identify as Christian lesbian feminists, and that may seem a bit out of place in conventional society but then again, so was Jesus.”

    b) awesome!

  4. “I undoubtedly believe that this feeling is something God wants to bless.”

    Yes. Just Yes.

    I wish I could articulate how much I agree/have held this belief in my heart for years and years even before I really could name what I felt, but for now I think I’m just going to jump around my living room smiling at the sunshine because this is just so wonderful. I wish you both the best in everything.

    • It might be because my eyes were watering after reading this post but I read this as ‘May you have many fantastic queer yoghurts together in your future’….ahem.

      Such a cute post…congrats Kathryn and Ciera!

  5. I am a puddle of tears and happy feels right now… i’m a lil hapa queer girl and it is so so beautiful to see people who look like me, loving each other.
    all the good things in the world to the two of you, though you’ve already found the best thing – each other.

    • We have been so overwhelmed by everyone’s support and kindness.

      Your comment is particularly touching because it reminds me that this moment is bigger than us. I am deeply honored that we can offer an affirming reflection to you and members of our various communities of the many beautiful ways of loving and being. I thank you for allowing us into your heart.

  6. You two have given this closeted baby dyke hope that perhaps one day, she’ll be able to do the same thing for her partner. So thank you, and huge congratulations, and wishes for all of the happiness in the world. May God bless you both!

  7. Awwwww! I’m so happy for you both!

    I hope with all my heart that Hawaii legalises same-sex marriage soon so that you two can have the beautiful wedding you deserve!

    I’m also hoping that your families come around and share in your joy and happiness.

    All the best for the future! May you have decades of contentment!

  8. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! The high-pitched noise I just made at this might have woken up all the dogs in the neighborhood.

    Seriously, best wishes to you both. You seem like the loveliest of people.

  9. I’m trying to form a proper congratulations, but all I can think is AAAAHHH EVERYTHING IS SO BEAUTIFUL!!!

    Seriously. The two of you, the ring, the proposal, the love you have for one another. Everything is so beautiful.


  10. I just had to check for an update before going to work this morning and now I’m of course I’m so late cause of the crying. But who cares! Best start to a Monday ever I think.

    Congratulations Kathryn and Ciera; wishing you a beautiful life together filled with love and joy.

  11. Congrats guys! I have an unsupportive family as well, so I know what it’s like to be so in love and know they will never recognize that. So having this space to be fucking adorable and shout it from the rooftops is so important! Wishing you all so much love forever and ever, you deserve it!!!

  12. Thank you so much AS readers and staff for all your words of support!! Ciera and I are overwhelmed by all the love!!!

    Today (8/19), we read that the Governor of Hawaii is “very likely” to call a special session to legalize Gay Marriage!!! LOVE WINS!

  13. Gawd, cried yesterday, then came back and am just flat-out bawling now. I pray your families will stretch themselves enough to see how incredibly beautiful and necessary you are. Love and love and love and so many congratulations.

  14. Congratulations!!!
    I cried all through the article and then sobbed the happiest tears for you two when I saw the video update. This i just too adorable to handle. I hope your wedding is exactly as you dream it, and that you have untold years of happiness together.

  15. Congratulations!!! So much love and aloha to you both. I’m overjoyed to see you representing Hawaii, I grew up on the Big Island without knowing that “queer” was a thing I could be until I moved to the mainland. Thank you :)

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