When Rhye and Nel met in September 2016, it was – as Rhye said – “unexpected”. Nel was a contestant in a beauty pageant, and Rhye was helping run the pageant.
“When it was his turn to be interviewed, he entered the room and took my hand,” Rhye recalled. “It was supposed to be a quick handshake, but it took Nel a minute to shake my hand. And I was like, ‘Whew, medyo matagal ha (Whew, that took a while)!’ After a few days, we started texting and all.”
In a matter of months, Rhye and Nel became a couple (in December 2016).
Being an LGBT couple is not always easy, Rhye admitted. “There are so many close-minded people,” she said. And these people who are not accepting come from “everywhere – within our families, circle of friends, workplace… Everywhere. Even within the LGBT community.”
It is with the latter – i.e. furthering advocacy from within the LGBT community – that Rhye and Nel hope the biggest change should first come because “change has to start from within our community,” Rhye said. “Then everything follows.”
Rhye and Nel already had a commitment ceremony, helmed by Pastor Regen Luna of ECOG in Cavite.
Being with Nel is “great”, Rhye said, because “in him, I have a very supportive ‘forever buddy’, my loving husband who is everything a woman could wish for,” she said.
Rhye is first to admit that “yeah, he’s not perfect, but I’m not either. And that’s what makes this relationship works. In a year of being together we’ve been through so many things, good and bad, yet we are here, happily married.”
They already have plans to form a family (“Have our own children,” Rhye said, as well as opening their own business). But now as a couple, they also have this drive to “give back to the LGBT community.” After all, if love like theirs can be taught to become the norm, then “things will be so much better”.