On this week’s episode of I’m Married To A… we stepped into the lives of Jessica Lynn Johnson and Scott Schofield, two performers who’ve been in a committed, long-distance relationship for six months. Despite the distance, the duo is incredibly close, connecting through their own spirituality. But before taking any “next steps,” they needed to see how their first in-person visit to Jessica’s home would go down.
A a transgender man, Scott’s is learning how to open up to Jessica’s Christian faith, part of which includes her decision to remain abstinent until marriage. VH1 caught up with the happy couple–still living in Los Angeles and Atlanta, respectively–to chat about that crucial first visit and meeting of the friends, as well as how they view their relationship in terms of today’s portrayal of sexuality.
What’s the response been like since your episode aired?
Scott: I was in IKEA today and a family stopped me and asked if I was just on television. They said it was so good and that we were beautiful and that they talked about [the episode] as a family. That’s exactly what you want to hear in IKEA.
Did you have any reservations about putting your lives on camera?
S: Totally. I asked some friends; I was worried. The transgender storyline has been so exploited–this idea that we’re weird or a freak show. We’ve seen that in scripted television and in reality stuff. The way [VH1] portrayed everything is exactly what a documentary does and not reality TV. We were never encouraged to be or do anything but who we are and what we do.
You two have spent so much time a part in your relationship, living in different cities. Do you think that helped bring you closer in any way?
Jessica: We get to know each other mentally and emotionally without the physical distractions. We’ve been together now for six, seven months, so it’s gotten challenging–we’ve been feeling the impact of that and have been trying to coordinate our schedule to see more of each other.
S: I think we probably talk to each other more than most people do. We’re really disciplined about communicating with each other, which I think, when you are dating in the same city, you can just be doing your lives. We are prioritizing each other in ways that are both about living and about our jobs and a lot of people don’t get to do that–you each live your own life and kind of mixes where it will.
As your relationship progresses does it get increasingly difficult to abstain from having sex?
J: It’s always a challenge, but I’ve been practicing this for 31 years now, so I’ve become a pro at putting myself in the right situation and avoiding the wrong ones.
S: It really doesn’t. I can’t say how much I respect Jessica and her choice about that. At this point if she were to say, “Forget it, you’re the right guy, let’s do it” I would be like, “Nope, I’m holding on to this! I want this moment, too.”
How do you feel sex is portrayed in the media?
J: It’s exploited quite a bit and a lot of the sacredness of sexuality is lost. It’s portrayed in a very heterosexual way, and I think there’s a lot of diversity within sexuality that needs to be explored in the media as well. While I have a traditional view on the sacredness of sexuality, I’m pretty progressive in terms of orientation.
What about Christianity?
J: Christianity is often portrayed as a close-minded, unloving group of people. I know so many tremendously generous and open-minded Christians who have an abundant amount of love. I hope that the episode portrayed Christianity in a new way in a more progressive, modern world. There are a lot of up-and-coming Christians who have a much more progressive, open-minded, open-hearted view.
Scott, based on your personal history and experience with more close-minded types, were you apprehensive at all about Jessica’s religious beliefs?
S: I kept going through these different developing phases of what the heck is going on and how is this happening because Jessica is definitely not what I as a queer person would consider to be a typical Christian. Unfortunately, for better or for worse, the stereotype in my head is that Christians are mean, judgmental people, which is a terrible stereotype because when I met Jessica or when I go to her church, the more and more people that I meet are Christians that are great. I was glad this branch of Christianity got the mike for a second because for me this journey with Jessica has been a healing thing for my heart with regard to Christianity. To truly be someone who loves the teachings of Christ, loves everyone–the freaks, the queers. That has been a wonderful journey for me.