(CNN) — She was at a crossroads when Tiffany Woods met Bridget.

It was February 1987 and Tiffany was 23 years old. She was married two years ago. Now her marriage is on a rock and it looks like a divorce is imminent. Tiffany was training to become a police officer, but her heart wasn’t there.

Transgender Tiffany hasn’t come out yet. For much of her life up to that point, she tried to crush her own identity.

Tiffany didn’t know where he was heading next. For now, she’s focused on lining up at the Sacramento bus stop to catch the Greyhound bus back to San Francisco.

Travelers were beginning to leave their luggage at the bus stop. Tiffany wasn’t paying attention, but then a young woman further up in the line reached out to give Tiffany her luggage tag.

“You’ll need one of these to check in your bag,” said a stranger.

“Oh, thank you,” Tiffany escaped from her fantasy and smiled.

Tiffany and Bridget met at the Greyhound Bus Station in Sacramento.

Courtesy of Tiffany Woods

The woman with the extra luggage tag was Bridget. At the age of 18, she lived and worked in San Francisco. She was on her way back to San Francisco after she visited her parents in Sacramento over the weekend.

Bridget and Tiffany started chatting-first about luggage tags and then about their next trip.

In the meantime, people felt that the conversation wouldn’t end soon and asked if they wanted to change places so they could stand together. Why came up with Tiffany and Bridget and they switched.

“We were just talking, and we’ve been waiting in that line for a long time,” Bridget told CNN Travel, asking him to be called by her name alone for personal reasons.

The two were enjoying each other’s company. When they finally got on the bus, sitting together seemed like an obvious next step.

Driving from Sacramento to San Francisco usually takes about an hour and a half. However, with multiple stops in Greyhound and unavoidable traffic, the bus was on the road for several hours.

Tiffany and Bridget talked all the time.

Tiffany describes this exchange as “one of a conversation where you meet a stranger and spend hours as if you knew a stranger for the rest of your life, and you believe you’ll never meet again. You Defensive power is reduced. “

They talked about everything, but also kept some things secret. Tiffany did not say she was still married. Bridget added a few years to her age and told Tiffany that she was 21 years old.

Hours after the trip, the women sat across from the pair, fascinated by their obvious connections and asked questions:

Shortly after their first meeting, Tiffany and Brigitte had an inseparable relationship.

Shortly after their first meeting, Tiffany and Brigitte had an inseparable relationship.

Courtesy of Tiffany Woods

“How long have you been together?” She asked.

Tiffany and Bridget faced each other and laughed. Then Tiffany went back to the woman and told her she was with her from her kindergarten. Bridget nominated a fictitious teacher who was teaching a fictitious class they might have met, without skipping beats.

“We’re just starting to play with each other, as if we were together from kindergarten,” Tiffany recalls. “I think we just had that chemistry.”

The bus was eventually pulled around the steel of the San Francisco Transbay Terminal, where Tiffany’s friends were waiting to pick her up.

Bridget planned to take the Bay Area high-speed train to his aunt’s house, where he lived at the time.

Tiffany suggested to Bridget to go home because the bus arrived late and missed the last train.

Along the way, they detoured to a pizza restaurant and then a bar, exchanging phone numbers. When Tiffany finally dropped Bridget into her house, she gave a good night kiss.

“It was very sweet,” Brigitte recalls. “And, as they say, the rest is history.”

Openness and communication

The couple got married in December 1996.

The couple got married in December 1996.

Courtesy of Tiffany Woods

Both Bridget and Tiffany had vague plans to return to Sacramento next weekend. Sometime in the week, they connected by phone and arranged to travel there together.

Brigitte was planning to be with her parents over the weekend, so she suggested that Tiffany could also crash there. Tiffany agreed, and less than a week after waiting for her bus to meet, Tiffany was introduced to her parents at Bridget.

“I spent the weekend with her. We went to her parents’ house and then to her sister’s high school play. She then introduced me to her friends,” Tiffany said. I recall.

Since that weekend, she adds, “We have never been together.”

That Friday night, the two were curled up on the sofa in Brigitte’s parents’ living room. At 3 am, everyone else was asleep. They were drinking champagne. The fire in the fireplace was crackling.

“She was stroking my hair, and she’s like,’Oh, what’s your favorite color?'” Tiffany recalls. “And I said:’purple’.”

Tiffany suggests that it was an unconventional choice for the Sith heterosexuals in 1987. By telling Bridget about this fact about herself, she wanted to inspire a deeper conversation.

“I think I have a gender issue,” she said.

The next morning, feeling a little hangover, Tiffany panicked and tried to go back to what she said.

“It’s okay, we understand it. You’re okay. You’re okay. You’re perfect like you. We understand it together,” Bridget responded.

“No one has ever told me that,” recalls Tiffany today.

That was all she had ever wanted.

“There was no expectation of a relationship, so there was such openness and no results. Whatever the natural understanding of each other, there was complete trust. And as the relationship grew, it was. I just stayed there, “says Bridget.

“I think we obviously always had a soul mate connection,” says Tiffany.

Grow together

Tiffany and Bridget currently have three teenage children.

Tiffany and Bridget currently have three teenage children.

Courtesy of Tiffany Woods

As February entered March, Bridget and Tiffany continued to know each other. Their relationship was deepening, but Tiffany didn’t know how to grow the fact that she was still married.

She didn’t mention it right away, and now it’s a secret.

Eventually, Bridget discovered. It was terrible.

“I was very angry,” says Bridget. The work took time. She today says that this memory is “one of the little scars.”

“I own it completely,” says Tiffany.

Tiffany and her ex-wife, who were already divorced, have divorced. By September 1987, Tiffany and Bridget had moved to a small apartment in San Francisco.

The two began to build their lives together and work through what they wanted for their careers, their families, and themselves.

Becoming a policeman wasn’t for her, as Tiffany decided.

“I wasn’t going to be a police officer because I couldn’t see the path to the transition,” she recalls. “That’s what we did as transgender in the 70’s, 80’s and 60’s, and we got into a kind of super-masculine profession.”

However, the unconditional, supportive relationship she had with Bridget allowed her to be reassessed. Together, Tiffany and Bridget began to explore how Tiffany could be herself.

“If we don’t understand gender identity and problems in a healthy way and start building a healthy foundation, it will always be a struggle,” says Tiffany now.

In the late 1980s, there was no reliable internet. There was also a lack of transgender expression in the media and the public eye.

“It was very different, we didn’t have the resources, we had so many stigmas, we still have,” says Tiffany. “That is, we’ve come a long way. There’s a clear backlash in transformer visibility, but at that point we were trying to figure out if this was the case.”

But as the new decade approaches, they immerse themselves in the LGBTQ + community in San Francisco and discover a new sense of belonging.

“We have found the spirits, places, affiliations and purposes of many relatives,” says Tiffany.

It was a turning point, but the impact of the AIDS epidemic on their communities and the “double life” that Tiffany, who hadn’t seen in his family, was alive at the time was tough.

When she decided to make a complete transition, Tiffany stopped talking to her family altogether.

“Fear is a big barrier,” she says. “I was afraid of refusal, so I rejected them first, because I was in control of the refusal, but I also gave them the opportunity to affirm and support me. I didn’t. That’s the inside out. “

Spontaneous wedding

The couple never get on the Greyhound bus again, but they still do a road trip together.

The couple never get on the Greyhound bus again, but they still do a road trip together.

Courtesy of Tiffany Woods

Bridget always wanted to get married. Tiffany wasn’t sure-she was already married and it was terribly over.

But by 1996, they both agreed that it was right for them.

Supported by the enthusiasm of gay friends who couldn’t get married at the time, he told Bridget and Tiffany to “marry for us.” The two tied a knot on December 28, 1996.

Tiffany and Brigitte both wore soft make-up and ponytail men’s black ties because they didn’t know how the minister would react when dressed traditionally feminine.

But then, the couple’s housemates, who were drag queen and styling experts, helped Tiffany prepare for the evening celebration. Then the newlyweds went out with their close friends for food and cake.

A few years later, with the dawn of the new millennium, Tiffany and Brigitte decided to have children.

Bridget always wanted a child, but Tiffany took longer to make that decision.

“I didn’t know how to have those conversations, so I thought the kids would reject me-you know, there weren’t many transgender parents at the time,” she said. say.

The two decided that the first step was to rebuild their relationship with Tiffany’s family.

“We wanted to change the story and create a healthy new path for the family, and knowing that we needed family support, we navigated the world as transgender women and lesbians. Recognized as a couple, “says Tiffany.

After years of silence, there were some scars, but Tiffany’s family was excited to support Tiffany and Brigitte as parents. The old wound healed gradually.

Today, Bridget and Tiffany have three teenage children.

As Bridget always said, the fear of rejection from Tiffany’s children was unfounded. They tell her “nothing but unconditional love,” Tiffany tells her.

‘Something happened’

The couple say they are proud of where they are today.

The couple say they are proud of where they are today.

Courtesy of Tiffany Woods

Today, Tiffany and Bridget say they are doing their best to make a difference in the world and focusing on raising children to do the same.

Bridget has his own company, and Tiffany works as a state transgender health specialist at the California Public Health Service.

Tiffany also participates in the California Democratic Board of Directors and co-chairs the LGBTQ Caucus.

Today, whenever they see a Greyhound bus on the road, the two think of their chance encounter. Since then, they haven’t participated in Greyhound together, but sometimes enjoy road trips together.

Tiffany and Bridget say they are proud of where they are today and how they grew up together in a 35-year relationship.

“Anything is possible, just believe that things can work,” says Bridget.

“Don’t be afraid to seize the opportunity,” Tiffany agrees. “I think we all meet for some reason. Things happen for some reason. And we may not understand what the reason is, but we are open to them. And fear Don’t disturb you. “