Students push boundaries in modern romances

Asia Porter | Online Editor

Couples are rewriting the “Boy meets girl” love story by breaking the boundaries of modern romance.

They challenge the idea that love only exists between a man and a woman from the same background by dating across races and religions and within genders. Since the Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage in 1967 and same-sex marriage in 2015, romantic storylines have diversified to encompass a multitude of relationships.

Senior Sebastian Castillo is Venezuelan and has been dating junior Lexie Lucius, who is Caucasian, for a little over three months. Castillo said while the two’s cultures aren’t completely polar, adjusting to each other’s cultures and traditions requires extra effort.

“I took Lexie to a dinner with us, and not my immediate family but my family that came to visit don’t speak English that well,” Castillo said. “They were talking in Spanish, and it was a lot of translation that I had to do for Lexie, and we all had to speak in like half-English, half-Spanish. It’s not like there’s troubles or anything, but it definitely takes a little more work when you want to get to know the family.”

Castillo said the two of them are learning patience and open-mindedness.

“She was very patient, and just listening to everything and trying to grab different pieces of what they were saying,” Castillo said. “When she’s with my family, it’s not gonna be exactly how she goes through everything with her family, so she’s learning to keep an open mind, and I’m learning to keep an open mind when I’m with her family.”

Juniors Faith Scully and Jarrett Pontious have been dating for a year and a half. Scully is Caucasian, while Pontious is Malaysian. Scully said that she has found while people claim to be accepting of these modern relationships, it does not always translate through their actions.

“They don’t have any negative feelings, but it’s just kind of an idea that they still have to get used to,” Scully said. “They’re taken aback by it, and they haven’t really trained themselves to look at people for who they really are. Now that it’s acceptable in society, and because it’s more of a normalized thing, I think they’ve learned to say, ‘Oh, that’s fine!’ but because they’re not actually involved with other racial groups, they’ll say something that’s problematic later on.”

Junior Sanjana Nath said while dating someone of a different culture can require additional effort, there is something that can be gained from having experienced one of these modern relationships, saying she has learned more about her boyfriend of a year and a half, junior EM-J Galang, and his Filipino culture throughout her time with him.

“Sometimes, we just teach each other words from his language,” Nath said. “I speak Hindi, and he speaks the language of the Philippines, which is Tagalog, and it’s really cool. I guess that’s an extra effort because most people who are the same race or culture or religion already know those things because they share them.”

Seniors Abby Martin and Ashay Shah have been together for seven months. Martin is Christian, while Shah is Jane, a denomination of Hinduism. Martin said while Shah’s parents are aware of the two’s relationship and support it, they are less welcoming of the idea than her parents.

“I was more worried about how his parents would receive it, because my parents don’t really care,” Martin said. “It’s interesting because his family dynamic is so different from my family dynamic, so his parents are more weird about him dating a white girl than my parents are about me dating an Indian boy. They know, but it’s sort of more of an elephant in the room.”

While Martin said her parents are accepting, she expects the source of parents’ disapproval to be the society in which they grew up.

“I think it depends on the generation,” Martin said. “My parents are totally fine with it, but when my grandma found out I was dating an Indian guy she was like, ‘Oh really?’ and it was weird for her. For our generation, it’s more normalized, but for older generations, I think it’s weird for them.”

The generational gap is also present in viewpoints of relationships stemming from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. While the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling broke down major barriers for the LGBT community towards gaining acceptance, those with more conservative views maintain the image of a relationship being between a man and a woman.

Sophomores Anna Kemper and Emily Plummer have been dating for a year and three months; however, Kemper said she only recently told her mom she was dating Plummer.

“My mom is not very open–she doesn’t like talking about it,” Kemper said. “We’ve only talked about it very, very few times. The rest of my family sees it as weird and uses ‘gay’ as a curse-word; they don’t like that word.”

Plummer said she often feels expected to hide her sexual orientation.

“Since coming out, I guess a lot of people do hate me more,” Plummer said. “People think that in these days you shouldn’t talk about if you’re gay, and if you have pride in it, it shouldn’t be spoken. So whenever I talk about it, then people will really get annoyed and frustrated with me.”

Pontious said having an open mind is key to interracial relationships and facing diversity later in life.

“You will inevitably encounter some sort of culture shock that is different,” Pontious said. “As long as you’re open-minded, it’s not a big deal.”