Magic: that’s how a lot of us will explain what happens when we find someone we love and they happen to love us back. Strange how we hate the flaws of the world but learn to fully accept those of the people who hold a special place in our hearts.
Once in a while, we see magic unlike any other. We caught glimpses of it when the US Supreme Court decided to lift the ban on same-sex marriage. We saw it again when octogenarians George Harris and Jack Evans, who had been together for 50 years, finally got to tie the knot in their own home state.
Last year, I got to witness it with my own two eyes when I met a guy who found love free of gender stereotypes not once, not twice, but three times!
Gian Francis Ruiz, a marketing manager for a beauty brand, was that guy. He first found magic in his life when he met his partner, an academic director named John. He found it again when he adopted Mimi van Tranh, a kitten whose name was inspired by a female character in the famous musical Miss Saigon. Then, he found it a third time when he adopted a kitten named Cammy.
Mimi van Tranh, whom everyone thought was female, turned out not to be.Cammy, named after a female Street Fighter, turned out to be male, too!
Relationships are hard. Add the indignant (and unsolicited) judgment of the world, and it becomes even harder. With politicians quoting the bible against people who want nothing more than to express their love the way everyone else does, it’s easy to imagine why.
To Gian, however, allowing love to thrive came naturally.
“[When] I met John in an event, it was love at first sight, I guess,” Gian shares. “We started hanging out and sooner than we thought, I asked him if he could live with me.”
John, of course, said yes.
Gian thought it was a pleasant surprise, but a surprise nonetheless. After all, they seemed to be opposites. “John worked as an English teacher [at the time] and I worked in marketing for a beauty company. He read a lot while I talked a lot!”On their second year together in their little slice of heaven, they adopted a kitten. She was a healthy female kitten. Or so they thought.
Love Knows No Gender (Or Species)
When Gian resigned from his job a year ago, little did he know that he would become a full-time cat parent.
“Mimi Van Tran was given to me by my former office mate who had five kittens at the time. I remember asking for Mimi, who looked the most different from the others.” Mimi was like his colleague’s parting gift to him, but the kitten played a bigger role in his life. “Having [Mimi] lightened my mood while I was looking for another job exactly a year ago.” Mimi kept him company while he looked for employment and did some freelance work as a makeup artist on the side.
With felines Priya and Ferdie joining their happy family, Gian and John now have four cats under their roof. All of them are lucky to be with such loving fur-dads who know the value of neutering and adoption.
“[We] have to juggle a lot of responsibilities, especially when we are both working. With busy schedules, we really need to work together. There’s a common language of trust and respect, which I think is the very core of being able to stand by each other every day.”
To this pair, their cats are important members of the family. “We treat them like babies when we get home and we make sure that they are well-fed, well-groomed, health-checked and entertained everyday. The cats do not seem to return the favor at all though, but I guess that’s just how they really are!”
Good Partners, Great Purrents
Gian was one of the many people who contacted me after the photo of a kitten that my boyfriend and I rescued went viral. When I screened him and the many others who wanted to adopt the kitten, I knew he and his partner would make great purrents.
“Would you be able to guide us on how adoption works? And how much would it cost us?” Gian asked. I explained that the cost would be his commitment, time, and answers to intrusive questions on his lifestyle. Other than that, the adoption wouldn’t cost him a dime.
Others balked at the idea of describing personal details, such as their jobs, houses, and family members. He didn’t.
He said the adoption was a decision that they made as a couple. “At first, we were thinking if we could do it, and then we started researching about cats.”
Gian and John wanted to adopt a female kitten named Chun-Li. My boyfriend and I found her, together with her sibling and mom, locked in a storeroom without light, food, or water. Apparently, she and her family had been trapped in that room for a week or two. (Their story was shared in a previous Animal Scene issue last year.)
Chun-Li, however, had already been adopted. I asked if Gian would be open to adopting a male kitten instead, whom we had named Cammy because we once thought he was a female kitten.
Weeks after their rescue, we realized Cammy was a boy! We decided not to change his name—if he was happy with it, then so were we.
Gian and John were more than happy to have Cammy, whom they eventually renamed Tumi.
Shortly after his adoption, they discovered that their original kitten, Mimi van Tranh, was also a boy.
Love knows no bounds… or genders or species. It is its own reason for being and its own reward.For Gian, love came in threes, manifesting itself in a magical coincidence that we often only found in fiction.Some would say that when it happened the way it did with Gian, it was luck.I would say it was fate.
This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s February 2018 issue.