Do we really know what love is?
This year, I met one of the most endearing couples I have ever had the pleasure of meeting at Western. They share the same passions and compliment each other phenomenally. By watching how they interact, you would think that they have been dating for years because their relationship is so mature and genuine. Turns out, they’ve been dating since January.
Besides their relationship, these two people stand alone as amazing people and I want to share them with you. The first is Sage Apple.
She’s a 20-year-old junior here at Western and originally from California. She’s also a sexual health promotion major through the women gender and sexuality program.
Her great aunt Joan was diagnosed with ovarian and breast cancer 17 years ago. After she was diagnosed, she became cancer free a year later after treatment. “After that, [her aunt] created the Ovarian Breast Cancer Alliance of Washington which is a 501 C3 Nonprofit in Seattle that spreads the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and breast cancer. And it also empowers women to be advocates for their own bodies and health care,” Apple said.
Apple started going to events with them at a young age and when she started high school, she started more regularly volunteering for them.
“That’s where my roots in activism started, really. Was with the Ovarian Breast Cancer Alliance and with my family,” Apple said.
Apple is currently fairly involved with the LGBT community at Western. “Honestly, I was super closeted until I was 19. So I only came out almost exactly a year ago now,” Apple said.
According to Apple, her and her partner Kade Rinaldi met last fall when they both lived in the Fairhaven dorms. Over the summer they didn’t talk all that much but they reconnected through mutual friends when they came back to school this year.
“I just was interested in [Rinaldi] and was pretty obvious about it and the rest is history,” Apple said while giggling.
At the beginning of this year, Apple became involved with VOX, Voices for Planned Parenthood on campus. She applied for an internship through the Health Center Advocacy Program and got the internship for this past winter quarter. It was originally supposed to be one quarter but they extended it for two.
“That’s when I organized and ran the 2015 Project Protection Condom Fashion show which was a blast and I’d say that’s probably the most involved activisty thing I’ve ever done was that whole show,” Apple said.
Apple actually just accepted the position as the VOX coordinator for next year as well and is really excited about it. “I think it’s going to be really exciting to have a queer VOX coordinator because I plan to bring a lot more intersectionality to the table next year,” Apple said.
“Gotta queer it up!” Rinaldi added.
Apple loves Western because there’s always events that are available that she can get involved in. She feels like she lives in a “gender odyssey” because there’s always something new to see.
“I’ve also never felt any kind of homophobia really on campus at all, ever. I’m not ridiculously into PDA but it’s not like I hide the fact that I have a girlfriend. That’s never been a thing,” Apple said.
Rinaldi is 20 and going to be a junior next quarter. They works at Mallard and take pride in it because the company is so involved in the community. They are studying Archaeology with an undecided minor leaning towards Arabic/Islamic and/or Women’s Studies. The grew up in Spokane, Washington and although the queer community was there, they weren’t really involved in it. Rinaldi came out when they were 14 years old.
“I was like the only out queer person, at least out lesbian, in my high school with my girlfriend. We were the only queer couple, really, that I knew of,” Rinaldi said.
They weren’t really actively involved with activism as a teenager. Theatre was their big high school thing, Rinaldi said.
Back in the day, Westboro Baptist Church, an anti gay church came to her high school and picketed. Rinaldi and their girlfriend at the time went to the protest after school.
“I don’t know how this happened but this lady picked us up in her convertible. And her sister was gay and she was blasting “True Colors”. You know “True Colors,” Rinaldi said while singing the lyrics.
“So she was blasting this song and she was like ‘hey, get in’ and she saw that we were a couple and we sat in the back of her convertible while this gay pride flag was flying over our heads and we kissed as we were driving by [the church picketters],” Rinaldi said.
Some how of all the pictures, that picture of them kissing had made the front of the newspaper the next day.
“I found it, I looked it up and found it,” Apple added.
Rinaldi didn’t know that they wanted to go to college until their senior year and then they applied to one college: Western.
“Coming here definitely made me explore my identity more of within myself. Not just my sexual orientation but who I wanted to be and how I wanted to present myself,” Rinaldi said.
Just by seeing that people were celebrated and accepted, made them like the campus more.
“It’s just a very accepting environment and you feel it in the air. Besides for stupid Brother Jedd who comes out,” Rinaldi said.
They cut their hair off and started dressing differently when they came to Western. “For some weird social reason, I didn’t stay true to myself in high school but then coming here totally make me open up and express myself the way I wanted to,” they said.
They had to go back to Spokane last winter quarter when their Dad was diagnosed with colon rectal cancer. Then they came back in the spring when they thought he was going to be fine but it turned out he wasn’t, Rinaldi said. But just this past January, was his pass into full remission and was the best day of their life.
“This is my side of our relationship story I suppose but,” Rinaldi said.
“Yeah I’m sorry,” Apple interrupted sadly. “My side of the relationship story was so boring. I love [Rinaldi]!”
At that time Rinaldi heard about their dad, Rinaldi and Apple had been dating but Rinaldi felt unsure about her because they had just gotten out of a long-term relationship. When they got the call about her Dad, Apple was there with them.
“We were on the beach and it was beautiful and had that moment when all that weight is lifted from your shoulders and you can finally lift your head up and look around at everything that’s around you,” Rinaldi said.
It was that moment that they said she knew they wanted to pursue things with Sage. “It was the most clear-headed I have ever been,” they said.
Rinaldi takes it as a sign from the universe that they were meant to be together. Rinaldi said they’ve never vibed with someone so well and had the same values.
“She says this thing sometimes: ‘it’s really comforting to know that your values and your actions that you take and have, I can stand one hundred percent behind.’ And that’s how I feel about her,” Rinaldi said. “You’re doing good when you can stand behind the person you’re with with confidence”
“Yeah like I don’t have to be in the same room as her to know she’s saying all the things that I would say,” Apple said.