Queer Couples Story | Randy & Topher

Written by
Pink Coconuts Think Team
on
February 1, 2022
Queer Couples Story | Randy & Topher

When Barbados native Topher came across Randy’s dating profile in 2019, and noticed that his social media was linked, he knew that he had to make the bold decision to connect with him. Randy, an American vacationing in Barbados to celebrate a friend’s birthday, vividly remembers the day Topher reached out to him. “I hadn’t used the app in a while and didn’t know my location had automatically updated when I received a message from Topher, “he explained. “I wasn’t expecting it, but I was really glad I had my dating profile and social media linked.” 

The two agreed to meet in person that same week. Randy made his way to the Southwestern coast of the island to meet Topher at a party and was instantly mesmerized by the beautiful and vibrant atmosphere. He recalls walking into the party and first spotting Topher amongst a group of people dancing, listening to music, and having a great time. “It was like a movie. He was front and center and I remember immediately messaging my best friend saying ‘this man is so beautiful.’” 

From that moment on, the pair were inseparable. They spent as much time as they could together during Randy’s vacation in Barbados, and when he returned home to the U.S., they called and facetimed each other every chance they got. 

The two soon began a relationship, but their vastly different cultural backgrounds would take some getting used to. “The first time I uploaded a picture of us kissing to social media, I was so nervous that my community’s response would be negative” Topher recalls. “When I look back on it now, that wasn’t the case, everyone was rooting for us. Explaining to Randy how difficult it was to be out in Barbados - how it could affect my life and career here - left me with a lot of concerns, but he understood our cultural differences. He understood me.”

Learning and loving each other through a pandemic that prevented them from physically being together intensified Randy and Topher’s bond as they anxiously waited for travel restrictions to be lifted. “We always had timers set on our phones, counting down to the next time we would see each other,” Randy explained. “But when the Pandemic began and airports closed, we had to stop setting those timers. No one knew how long it would be until we could travel again.”

When borders finally reopened, Topher immediately made the trip to see Randy, and the pair enjoyed a lengthy and joyful reunion. 

With things slowly returning to normal, Randy knew it was time to things further with Topher. In the summer of 2021, he made the decision to propose. “I asked him months before to join me on a trip to Puerto Rico. I knew it would be the perfect place to take the next step in our relationship.” 

Randy researched different locations and tours, and finally decided he would do it at the waterfall. “I messaged the tour guide and told him my plans,” said Randy. “He said ‘yeah, we can work something out. I’ll make it special and take photos.’” 

With a solid plan in place, Randy and Topher joined a group of hikers on a tour through the rainforest, who, unbeknownst to Topher, already knew what would happen at the waterfall. When they got to the main attraction, the tour guide asked if he could take a picture of the two of them together in front of the waterfall. “We were taking photos, and then I got down on one knee, proposed and he said yes.”

The importance of having a tour guide who was accepting and accommodating of LGBTQ+ travelers was not lost on the couple. “In NYC I can do whatever I want, but when I leave, I often research gay rights and LGBTQ+ laws in any country I travel to. My money is just as valuable as that of a heterosexual person so, if you’re going to work in tourism, you have to be willing to accept everybody, no matter who they are or how they live their lives,” stressed Randy. “We don’t go where we don’t feel welcome.” 

The couple hopes that international tour industries continue to evolve to make sure that everyone feels safe, comfortable and welcome wherever they decide to travel to. “The concept of tourism is to make outsiders feel at home wherever they are. There needs to be more work done to make tourism all-inclusive and until that happens, the tourism industry is failing,” says Topher. 

Newly engaged and full of love, excitement and hope, Topher and Randy are already making big plans for their future. Topher plans to relocate to America permanently, so that they two can continue to build their lives together. “We just want to get married, go on trips and do hoodrat sh*t together,” says Topher smiling at Randy. 

“We already have a couple of trips planned,” says Randy smiling back. “I’m excited for us to be together in the same place. Being able to wake up every day and see and feel your partner next to you makes life better. And everything just makes sense.”

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