Through get-togethers in the library, at the gym and on movie nights, they took the opportunity to spend time together and get to know each other better. Then, in freedom, they consecrated their relationship in an unforgettable wedding.
It was fate that brought them together, and it did so in a peculiar way and in a very unusual place. The marriage between Monae and Adriel took place in a prison in Pennsylvania. This trans woman was incarcerated at a men’s prison. Even though she had started taking hormone replacements, the legislation at the time still imprisoned transgender people according to their sex at birth if they hadn’t undergone surgery.
However, fortunately for her, being incarcerated with only men allowed her to meet the love of her life. She was 29 years old and in prison when she met Adriel, a prisoner who, like her, was incarcerated. They saw each other for the first time in the laundry room, and instantly fell for each other.
It wasn’t long before they began to date within the confines of their confinement. They met up at the library, at the gym, and took advantage of movie nights together. Getting to know each other in such a hostile place as prison, they had to endure different difficulties together, which didn’t just come down to finding instances to meet, but also, having to face attacks from other prisoners and prison staff.
Still, they were able to reaffirm their relationship the moment Adriel proposed to Monae. They had to wait until they were both free to marry, with Adriel being the last of the two to be released.
“I think being inside was the foundation that made our relationship (…) I saw Monae at her lowest, Monae saw me at my lowest. I saw her at her happiest, she’s seen me at my happiest (…) We wanted to get married as inmates in prison, but there was no policy in place to marry two inmates at the time”
– Adriel explained to Truly, as reported by Metro.co.
When Monae was released, she was able to go to court to acquire the correct documentation, according to her gender identity, at which point the couple could marry while Adriel was still serving the remainder of his sentence.
During that time, Monae also took the opportunity to undergo top and bottom surgery before her wedding day. The bride’s mother and best man were the only family present at the wedding, and after exchanging vows and taking a few pictures, they had to go back to saying goodbye.
“It was a happy and sad day, but mainly sad because you obviously want to spend time together. We expected when we got married that we’d be together, but we had to leave each other (…) Our memories were in prison and we were never able to make memories out here [in freedom] (…) Now it’s about to happen, it’s like it’s going to be the first time for everything for us, it’s like starting new again”
– Monae said about their wedding and their first days as a married couple.