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A love story that started with an email

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now it's time for StoryCorps. Twenty years ago, Ann Taylor had just moved to the St. Louis area and was looking to connect with the local queer community. That's when she met her future wife, Sonja Furiya. The couple recently came to StoryCorps to talk about their love story, which started with an e-mail.

ANN TAYLOR: I remember being in my office one day, the moment an e-mail came across. And it just said, oh, there's this fabulous same-sex ballroom dance class. You ought to try it. And I remember thinking, I'm going to that. I sometimes wonder if it had said it was a queer wallpapering club, maybe I'd have felt just as excited.

SONJA FURIYA: For me, a gay wallpapering class would not have done it.

TAYLOR: (Laughter).

FURIYA: For me, it was maybe I'll meet someone here. And I looked around and there were all of these couples - and you (laughter).

TAYLOR: We danced together and I was thinking of inviting you out. And I was rushing out that day. And I remember you coming running after me and tapping me on the shoulder and asked me if I'd like to go out for coffee. And that was really the start of an extraordinary, incredible adventure. You know, ballroom dancing is one of the most gendered sports in the straight world. Men will wear a tux, and women, they will have heels.

FURIYA: And I certainly was not interested in wearing heels. I also know how to sew. And I was very interested in making our costumes. So I knew you were feeling uncomfortable anyway because you weren't used to putting your body out there in front of people and saying, look at me.

TAYLOR: The whole reason I started ballroom dancing is because I wasn't physically confident of being myself in the world. I'm sort of moving in syrup, and I've missed a direction somewhere, and I don't look right. That's the old little Gremlin that's lived with me for a long while. And the fact that you were making the costume so I could be me - and you found this space where I could express and look good and feel comfortable. So I was actually beginning to say, look at how beautifully I move across a floor.

FURIYA: It took you a long time to actually say that. And yet when you dance, it's beautiful.

TAYLOR: I love dancing with you.

FURIYA: I love dancing with you. Let's to do it for a long time.

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MARTIN: That was Ann Taylor and Sonja Furiya for StoryCorps in St. Louis. The couple has won gold and silver medals in the world of same-sex ballroom dancing. Their conversation is archived at the Library of Congress.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Jey Born
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