Growing up in a large family in the 80s and 90s, Nancy Tabares was just like any other kid – attending school and playing games like hide & seek, tag and pretend school with friends. As she entered her teenage years and middle school, she even had a steady boyfriend.
Looking back on that relationship some 20-plus years later, she acknowledges that she never really thought of having a future with her young beau, “you know, marriage, the house and white picket fence.”
At McCollum High School, a somewhat timid Nancy was quick to adjust to new courses and make new friends. She also was adjusting to feelings she was experiencing on a much more personal, deeper level. She realized she was gay.
“I was scared to be open with my classmates, family and even my best friends. I felt the need to disguise who I was,” says Nancy. “The pressures of being accepted, especially being on the varsity cheer squad, I felt almost forced to be in a heterosexual relationship. No one in high school was openly gay, everyone I knew has now come out of hiding.
“The only person who knew was my mother’s late husband who reminded me to be true to myself and my heart. Before passing in 2008, he told my mother to accept me for who I was and let me love. He was my biggest supporter.”
It was at McCollum that she first met Kristin who was a few years younger. They were merely acquaintances at the time. “Kristin’s best friend was my homeroom classmate and till this day she will never let me forget it,” Nancy says with a chuckle.
Nancy received her diploma and went on to begin a career at CPS Energy in 2005 as a Customer Service Representative in the Call Center where she assisted residential customers.
In 2007 and 2008, she attended a couple of get-togethers to enjoy some BBQ and catch up with close personal friends. By chance, Kristin was there and the two reconnected.
“With Kristin, everything fell in place,” says Nancy.
The two soon made plans for a first date. A huge football fan, Kristin invited Nancy to a University of Texas football game. “She was adamant about getting tickets for us to sit on the 50-yard line to make it a perfect, memorable experience,” recalls Nancy with a smile.
Their second date was an equally memorable experience. The couple went to the local Saint Night Club, their first outing around other openly gay people. They felt welcomed and danced the night away.
For many years, Nancy hid her relationship with Kristin from family and friends, feeling ashamed and not wanting to disappoint anyone. Kristin was more open with her family, with some being more accepting of the relationship than others. While her mom was super supportive, Kristin’s ultra-conservative grandparents didn’t really acknowledge them as a “couple,” always referring to Nancy as Kristin’s roommate or friend, and they even gave her a nickname, Maria.
Nancy and Kristin didn’t let other people’s feelings deter their relationship. And in October 2019, on their 10th year as a couple, they officially married. Though Kristin’s grandmother had passed by this time, the couple was glad that her grandfather attended the wedding to share in their special day.
The newlyweds had plans for a honeymoon in 2020, but like most everything else last year, the pandemic interfered and paused those plans. Instead, they spent time together at home — creating dance-offs, watching livestreamed concerts, performing DIY projects and playing with their dogs.
“It made us focus, put things in perspective, be happy and thankful,” said Nancy. “And while we have our share of breaks and breakdowns, we come back stronger than ever.”
Like other married couples, they have weathered tough times and rough patches, possibly even more so because of being a same-sex couple. Nancy spoke of how it sometimes shocks people or causes a bit of discomfort when she or Kristin introduce or refer to each other as “my wife.”
She also shared about the personal losses she and Kristin have endured in the short time they’ve been married. Sadly, two of their family members passed away due to COVID-19, plus Nancy’s sister contracted the virus earlier this year after having received the vaccine. Her sister’s symptoms became so severe that she struggled to breathe and was hospitalized for three weeks. During that time as they feared for her life, Nancy and Kristin stepped in to assist Nancy’s brother-in-law, who also was recovering from COVID-19, and the couple’s five kids — providing hot meals and being their moral support as their mother was away in the hospital.
With this scary episode now behind them, the loving couple is once again focusing on their own future. So what’s next for them? They plan to have kids together in what Nancy describes as a “fertility journey” using a donor. Both 36-year-old Nancy and 33-year-old Kristin hope to carry a child at some point. Asked if they plan to be pregnant at the same time, Nancy immediately exclaimed, “Oh no!” adding that when their kids are older, they plan to share their love story with them.
As National Pride Month winds down, we want to thank Nancy for sharing her personal story and for the great work she does for our Company, serving today as a member of our Government Relations team and as a liaison for our suburban cities.