Yes, we have been renamed "Two Girls and a Dog!" Whatever It Takes to get the message out!
Two Girls and a Dog
by Sheryl Kay
When faced with a touch of homophobia from the neighbors, Dotti Berry responded the only way she knew how, with love.
Having heard some disconcerting comments only one week after she married her partner, Roby Sapp, Berry Bought dozens of roses and delivered one to each neighbor, along with an invitation to dinner the following weekend.
Most people came, and Berry says the neighborhood has never been the same since.
"It was a great opportunity for us to transform ourselves, giving us a firsthand experience to live out our wedding vow," says Berry, referring to a fundamental part of their ceremony where the two swore, "I come to you with an open heart, vowing to change the world through the expression of our love."
But that was just the beginning.
The two decided their message of outreach needed to extend further, so they embarked on a yearlong cross-country journey they dubbed "Gay Into Straight America."
In their purple Suburban with poodle Rylee Joy in town, Berry a personal coach, and Sapp, a professional photographer, stopped in dozens of towns and cities in 46 states. Financed through donations, their own resources and a few honorariums along the way, the two made personal connections in everyday settings as well as appearing on TV and radio shows, speaking at local PFLAG events, GSA meetings, and businesses.
"Our mission was to go out into American with the intention of talking with people who are wrestling with their understanding of homosexuality, by engaging hearts and minds, creating authentic connections and dissolving differences that separate us," says Sapp.
Fifty thousand miles later, the couple says their goals were met beyond anything they imagined.
"I learned that the majority of people in our country want equality and justice for all people," says Berry. "The vocal and well-financed minority who don't want this have held our community hostage through fear, with us often believing the myths they have perpetuated. It's time to break the silence and share our lives, our authentic selves, with the movable middle."