“Weird” and “awkward” is how Little Miss Rollerhoops and Ian Lesage lovingly describe their relationship. The couple spoke with PGN via phone from a honeymoon cruise where Little Miss Rollerhoops, who goes by “Hoops” for short, described how the two have yet to change.
“We’re still very awkward. We’re giant children,” the 31-year-old said. “I’m sitting here in a Peter Pan costume and Ian has a rubber turtle. I tried to win [Lesage] a rubber duck in a game just now, and I got a turtle instead.”
The couple, both of whom work in the entertainment industry, met in April 2016. Hoops was working at the door for an event at a Gayborhood bar where Lesage was scheduled to perform. The two went out to karaoke at Tavern On Camac with a small group a few occasions later.
“The whole courtship was weird, which is actually appropriate,” said Lesage, 30, which made Hoops laugh.
Lesage, who goes by they/them pronouns, recalled a notable one-on-one interaction with Hoops that evening.
“Hoops and I were chit chatting and she said, ‘Oh boy, if you weren’t gay …’ and I was like, ‘Well I’m not technically gay,’” Lesage said, noting their bisexuality. “And she just stopped talking and just walked away.”
“I remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, this person is really attractive and pretty, and the most ‘my type’ that I have ever met,’” Hoops added.
The attraction was mutual. They began dating shortly after. Hoops recalled a time when the two walked down Walnut Street and she reached out to grab Lesage’s hand. She noted this action was out-of-character for her, but said she felt comfort with Lesage because they were treating her better than her previous relationships. Nowadays, the couple refers to hand-holding with one word: Beatles.
“If one of us wants to hold the other one’s hand, we’ll say ‘Beatles,’ [referencing the band’s song] ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ because we’re cheesy,” Hoops said.
The Beatles also played a role in the couple’s eventual marriage. In November 2017, Hoops proposed to Lesage in Las Vegas when they attended “The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil,” a show which combines the Beatles’ music with circus-based stage performances.
The couple, who eloped on June 5, 2018 during a small ceremony, noted how they usually go outside society’s expectations of marriage.
“We’re both super not traditional with all of the usual stuff,” Hoops said. “At our wedding, Ian wore space-robot-unicorn leggings and I was dressed as Peter Pan going to a ball.”
Furthermore, Hoops and Lesage wore wedding bands with the pansexual pride colors. It is here where the couple navigates situations differently from most queer couples. Hoops, who is pansexual, noted the couple has fortunately not received any comments from people who tried to erase her pansexuality or Lesage’s bisexuality. However, they have received backlash in other ways.
Lesage spoke about their overall gender expression.
“Appearances never mattered [to me] that much,” they said. “Physical health mattered. But clothing, fashion and anything that you would consider ‘gender presentation’ — I never thought they were important.”
Lesage recalled a time speaking to someone about lesbian porn. From their perspective, Lesage envisioned themself in the body of one of the women onscreen. Lesage said the man he spoke to about this was disgusted by their perspective.
“I didn’t realize that anyone was so attached to their identity in that way,” they said.
“What’s weird to deal with, is there are some spaces where people don’t want masculine-presenting people and when I walk in those spaces, I am judged. And I totally understand why people are uncomfortable. I’m not saying that’s an issue. I just think it’s interesting that I don’t feel I present that way, but other people interpret my existence as being masculine.”
On the other hand, Hoops said people will often question her sexuality in queer spaces, where the couple is still very involved.
“I’ve been told by everybody that I don’t look [gay]. What does that look like? Do I have to be throwing up rainbows or waving a Dorothy Gale flag? What do I have to do?” Hoops said.
However, when things get difficult, the couple has each other to turn to.
Lesage said Hoops is a “ferocious worker” and enjoys that their partner is “extremely loving.”
“I feel supported,” they said. “I feel cared for. And I hope she feels the same.”
It seems likely Hoops does feel the same.
“Ian is so supportive and reassuring and builds me up more than anyone I’ve ever been with,” Hoops said.
“I’ve never felt more supported by someone than I do with this weirdo,” she joked.