“In some capacity, we always planned to be together forever”: SickKids couple looks back on their love story
When it comes to love, sometimes you’re caught by surprise.
That was certainly the case for Taylor and Nicole Johnston, who met working as Respiratory Therapists in the ICU at SickKids in 2016 and quickly became best friends. At the time, Nicole openly identified as queer, while Taylor identified as straight and had exclusively dated men. Nonetheless, something developed between them.
“Is this really an attraction or just a good friend?” Taylor remembers questioning in those early days.
It wasn’t until a couple years later their friendship evolved into more that they decided to take a leap and see what could happen between them. As soon as the dynamic shifted from only friendship, they brought their relationship to their manager.
For Taylor, this step wasn’t just about sharing their relationship at work—it was about coming out as queer.
“Coming out in any capacity makes you a bit nervous, even if you can anticipate the response to be positive,” she says. “But everyone was very accepting...it almost seemed like they expected the relationship before we did.”
“Our department is a very inclusive environment,” adds Nicole. “Even the way our manager raised it to Human Resources felt non-discriminatory. You feel space to be your authentic self.”
The couple became engaged in 2019 and began planning their wedding for 2020. Through the grapevine they heard that one of their colleagues, Sherri Murphy, an Administrative Coordinator in the Neonatology and Respiratory Therapy Department, was also a wedding officiant.
“When they first approached me [to officiate], I was so shocked and thrilled. It’s such an honour to be involved in such an intimate piece of someone’s life,” says Sherri, who became an officiant in 2017.
For her, deciding whether she would be an officiant that would marry 2SLGBTQIA+ couples was never a question.
“I have that utopian dream that one day we’ll all live in peace and embrace each other and our differences,” she says. “When I officiate weddings for same gender couples, it adds an additional layer of meaning for me, because I feel so privileged that they chose me. It means they trust me to be truly inclusive and accepting of their love–it’s very special to be a part of.”
Nicole and Taylor married in September 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic with only 10 guests in attendance and Sherri officiating the ceremony. Now looking back many years and two cats later, the couple says it seems like they were fighting fate all along.
“In hindsight, when we were friends, we’d always talk about where we would live and work in the future to be close to each other — in some capacity, we always planned to be together forever,” says Nicole.
This story was published as part of Pride Month celebrations. SickKids is committed to Caring with Pride and 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusiveness for all of our patients, families and staff.