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A Monumental Day for Love by Vanna & Rasha Pecoraro of Dapper D - Guest Bloggers for the WOWW Campaign

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We were honored to be asked to be Guest Bloggers for the WOWW Campaign - telling our coming out stories, and how we feel about the historic passing of marriage equality in the US. Here is is in it's entirety:

A Monumental Day for Love by Vanna & Rasha Pecoraro

by WOWW Campaign

Our coming out stories were very different, but they eventually lead us to each other.

Rasha and Vanna Pecoraro

As told by Vanna Pecoraro:
Although I came out to my closest friends and family at the age of 16 in the mid 1980’s, I didn’t really feel comfortable talking about it. I wasn’t completely comfortable with who I was in talking to people about my sexuality until my early twenties. The older I got, the more I cared less about what people thought, and I became more confident. I knew in my heart I wasn’t doing anything wrong and wasn’t ashamed of who I was.Although my parents are accepting now, when I came out to them they were not so understanding. I come from a Catholic traditional family and they could not grasp the idea that their youngest daughter would never find a man to marry. They really just feared how people would treat me. They decided to take me to a therapist to discuss it and learn. Unfortunately, the therapist told my parents that it was a choice, and that I was just rebelling. He also told them that if I did not follow their rules, they should kick me out. My parents sat in silence. I on the other hand, let the therapist have it. I stood up for myself and told him his license should be taken away. I had for the first time in my life, stood up for myself.

I was 16 and realized I had a voice. I was not calm when talking to this man. I stood up and screamed at him but before we left, he asked me if I would go back to see him so we can work on my “choices”. My reply to him was not the nicest or friendliest and full of spite. I walked out with my head held high and with an adrenaline rush. The confidence I felt for standing up to an adult was exhilarating. I knew from that moment that I was strong enough to stand up for myself moving forward.

A few days later, my mom told me that they did not agree with the therapist. They could not fathom the thought of losing me – their youngest daughter. In hindsight, the therapist did me a favor because my parents have been amazing and accepting ever since. They accept me for who I am, love me unconditionally, and are proud to call me their daughter. Till this day, my mom refers to that therapist as, “that idiot man.”

As told by Rasha Pecoraro:
I suppressed my sexuality until I was 30 years old. Although I had feelings for girls from a very young age, in the back of my mind, I was extremely afraid of my father’s homophobia, and I did everything I could to play the role of a straight woman. I even married my ex-husband on national television after we appeared on “The Biggest Loser” together. I painted what I thought was the perfect picture.As an adult, I ended up gravitating to friends who were gay, which was a place where I felt safe. The first people I came out to were my husband, my mom, my sister, and my closest friends. I ended that marriage because I realized I was a lesbian, and although he was heartbroken, he wasn’t surprised. I was fortunate that my Mom, sister, and the majority of my friends were incredibly supportive. My father was the last person I told. I waited to tell him three months after I started seriously questioning my sexuality; he and my step-mother refused to accept it and have not spoken to them since 2009.

Although I suffered the heartbreak of losing one set of parents, an ex-husband, and a very small handful of friends, coming out as a lesbian was the best thing I could have ever done. I broke free from a lifetime of physical, emotional, and verbal abuse, and finally accepted who I truly was. I believe I would have come out sooner in life if I hadn’t been afraid of my father but, I am a true believer in things happening for a reason and happening exactly when they are meant to occur. I am thankful for every horrible, painful, tear-filled moment because it led me to where I am today.

I fell madly in love with Vanna in 2009, and my dreams have been coming true ever since. She is what I have always dreamed of having in my life. She makes me a better me – the true me.

Before June 26th, 2015, as a married lesbian couple with a 3 year old daughter, we had to take extra measures to ensure we were protected. We did not have the same rights as heterosexual married couples in the US.

For example, although we celebrate our wedding anniversary on August 28th, we have actually been “married” a total of four times (to each other). We became Registered Domestic Partners in February 2010 in the state of Oregon. Later that year, we had a beautiful wedding in front of our family and friends (although not legal at the time) in Washington state in August 2010. Then we married legally in Canada (just so we could have a legal document stating we were married) in September 2010 and we were married in January 2013 in Washington state (at the courthouse once it became legalized there). Rasha even had to go to court to legally change her last name to Vanna’s.

It became even more important to have equal rights when we decided to start a family. In September 2011, Rasha gave birth to our baby girl, however, because Vanna is a woman, we had to hire an attorney to do a Second Parent Adoption. This protects Vanna as an equal parent anywhere in the world, regardless of circumstances. Today, both of us are listed as our daughter’s parents on the birth certificate.

We were lucky enough to live in a state that recognized our marriage in 2013, and once the Defense of Marriage Act was abolished in 2013 federally, we also benefitted by being able to file our taxes as “married” (which is a huge financial relief).

Vanna and Rasha Pecoraro are entrepreneurs and owners of Dapper D Fashions. In 2014, Dapper D was born. It was Vanna’s brain child and has quickly become a passion for both of us. Not only have we made clothes for people who don’t follow society’s fashion rules, we have empowered people to be who they are.

It takes courage to be your true and authentic self. The most important lesson that we’ve learned is you have to Be Brave, Be Authentic, and Be You, to be genuinely happy. This is also what our business motto is. It resonates with anyone, not only the LGBT community. We have been accepted with open arms from our community, as well as our allies.

We are thrilled that marriage equality and the recent same-sex marriage ruling has paved the way for future generations to live their lives freely, openly, and proudly.


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