The L Experience Is Almost Here
Caroline and Laurie Hart update us on their lives since DOMA, and the imminent launch of theLexperience.
Let’s start on a light note – how did you two meet?
Caroline: We met on an online dating site, back in 2005 all that was still very new. I had only just come out and after speaking to the Gay Helpline they suggested going online to chat with other lesbian women.
Laurie: I was over 3000 miles away in Massachusetts, USA, also new to the whole online dating scene. After searching numerous profiles, I came across Caroline. “Orange Buzz” after reading her profile we seemed like the perfect fit, so why not send her a wink! Til this day I still call it fate.
Caroline, you’d only just come out of the closet when you two connected. Did the relationship seem all the more significant, you finally being able to embrace your sexuality?
Caroline: Oh yes! Definitely! It felt so amazing, after a lifetime of burying my feelings finally I was my true self and truly in love. From the moment Laurie and I connected I knew this was the relationship I had always dreamed of and thought I would never have. In some ways, it almost felt too good to be true, that I could love a woman and she would love me back. I had no hesitation jumping on a plane from London to Boston and finally be in the arms of Laurie, the woman who changed my life.
Our first in person meeting was at Boston Logan International Airport, it literally felt magical, seeing Laurie face to face, feeling her arms around me and our first kiss, wow. I didn’t care there were people watching, this was our moment.
For those who aren’t familiar with the acronym, DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) essentially prohibited married same-sex couples from collecting federal benefits. Laurie and Caroline lived the effects of this first hand – what was it like, emotionally, having the law against your relationship?
Caroline: It was quite terrifying, I would have to leave the USA because of my VISA restrictions, then, when I re-entered I would face hard, cold prejudice. I would be sent down to border control for intense questioning and even when I should our marriage license it was tossed aside and given no credence, it was really tough.
Laurie: To be honest, I was an emotional ride to hell, that lasted eight VERY long years. As an American citizen I felt betrayed by a country I loved, MY HOME didn’t feel like the land of the free and I knew I had to prove my marriage was worth fighting for.
It must have felt overwhelming sometimes. Tell us a little about the positive things which helped you get through!
Caroline: It was overwhelming at times, but it was always our love that saw us through, people have often said we must’ve argued because of the stress and pressure of fighting for our rights but we didn’t. If our love wasn’t as strong as it is, we would never have got through every testing thing thrown our way. If anything, it made us stronger. We used our love story to fight for our love, our right to have our marriage recognized and it worked, thanks to all the amazing support we received. If we wanted to escape for a while we would always go to the movies and for a couple of hours, we would live someone else’s life.
Laurie: The power of love is an amazing thing and at the end of the day that’s what I always focus on.
Is that why you decided to launch a positive-news only site?
Caroline: Yes, we have seen both sides of life during our time together. There have been those people who have sent terribly hurtful messages to us on social media and we have seen other people, particularly women, targeted too. It made us want to provide a positive only site for women to escape to, a bit like when we escaped to the movies, somewhere women can go and see only features about women that will inspire them. We will share stories of women from every walk of life and hopefully it will leave you feeling positive and ready for any challenges that will stand in the way. We’ve already talked to some wonderful women from the great rock musician Melissa Etheridge to the surviving spouse of trailblazing LGBTQ icon Edie Windsor. We will also be sharing our movie pick of the week, as you know we love going to the movies, there will be travel features, letting women know places they will get a great welcome.
Laurie: Everything about theLexperience we have achieved ourselves, from designing the artwork and website to reaching out to celebrities and contributors. Caroline and I know firsthand your voice is a powerful instrument and believe me no matter who you are you too can make a difference. We want theLexperience to be a place where women are excited to share their stories, empowering one another. So, ladies, if you have an inspiring story and would like to share it with us, we want to hear from you!
And you’ll be exclusively premiering a miniseries soon! Tell us about that.
C & L: We are very excited to be exclusively premiering AFTERMATH: CLASS OF 2006 which was created as a digital companion series for Syfy Network series ‘Aftermath’ a post-apocolpytic thriller starring Anne Heche, AFTERMATH: Class of 2006 is set in the same world as the TV series, but with a diverse cast and a romantic female pairing. The cast includes Tommie Amber Pirie (star of Syfy’s ‘Bitten’), Candice Mausner and Dylan Ramsay. Check out the trailer here!
We have partnered with FlagshipTV (www.flagshiptv.com) FSTV founders Katie Ford (Writer of ‘Miss Congeniality’, ‘Prayers for Bobby’) and Hope Royaltey (Executive Producer/Director of the groundbreaking LGBT webseries ‘Venice’). We love their ideology which sits perfectly with theLexperience. As gay women, they are both passionate about bringing high quality entertainment to the underrepresented LGBT audience and we couldn’t be happier to be hosting this fantastic series. Because their series is being released online, they’re able to create audience driven content that pushes past TV boundaries—delivering LGBT storylines and characters to TV fandoms who are starved for entertainment that reflects their own lives.
Our dream is to eventually be able to provide grants and support to women worldwide, so they can reach their goals, to help us achieve this we need to get sponsors for our site. If you would like to be a part of our positive women’s movement we would love to hear from you or you can also support us by buying one of our T-shirts.
Want a good news fix?
theLexperience officially launched June 1st.
Liv Steigrad is editor and associate publisher at LOTL and Curve Magazines. She's also a freelance copywriter, editor, and writer with a background in Psychology. To find out more, visit her website tenderlcreative.com.au