I grew up with a grandmother who used a lot of southern expressions. One of my favorites was, “For every rag, there’s a tag.” That phrase pretty much summed up Gramps’ notion that there is someone out there for everyone in this big and crazy world, and through a higher power, sometimes those two people will find each other in this life and be together despite circumstances.
The story of Adriel and Monae Alvarado exemplifies my Grandma’s words entirely. The two former prison inmates fell in love while they were both incarcerated in Pennsylvania.
In a recent story recently posted by Metro.co.uk, Adriel and Monae shared the story of how they met in prison at a time after Monae had already started hormone replacement therapy – before going to jail. At that point, she had not had surgery.
It seems to be a cruel and insensitive rule; prison policy was to incarcerate pre-surgery transgender people based on their gender at birth. As Monae physically exudes a cis female’s features, this rule made her particularly vulnerable to assaults by fellow inmates.
Former gang leader and heavily tattooed Adriel shared with Metro how he first noticed Monae, 29, while working in the prison laundry room. Metro reports,
The pair locked eyes and instantly felt a connection. It didn’t take long for the two to start dating officially, meeting in the library, gym, or for movie nights to be together. In the early days of their relationship, it wasn’t just finding ways to meet up that was a struggle, they also faced hostility from fellow inmates and prison staff alike.
As I watched the video of Adriel and Monae, I was moved by their story. Adriel bravely expressed the rejection from family, and there was also violence to endure from gang members who jumped him because he was open about his love of a trans woman.
I would be remiss to say that I find Adriel and Monae to be a beautiful young couple physically. Seriously, Monae looks like the Disney Illustration of Pocahontas, and Adriel is tall and strapping and checks the box of hot but naughty tattoed loverboy. I honestly think they could probably settle down anywhere in America, and nobody would know of their past one way or the other. Maybe at most, their tattoos might make someone wonder if they had gang affiliations, but Monae’s previous rap sheet for burglary and Adriel’s third-degree murder charge would not be obvious public assumptions.
I don’t know what the future holds for these two, but in my mind, they rise above the difficulties they will face and shine despite all obstacles. One of the bravest acts in the equation is the very fact that Adriel is exuding the true definition of a “man” by making the declaration for who he openly chooses to love; that person happens to be a trans woman.
As Adriel further shared with Metro,
‘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.’ Monae added: ‘We had that unique bond in prison, so I guess what makes us stronger.’
Join me in wishing this young couple well and see their video at Metro.co.uk