Jacqueline Moore: When Friendship Blooms Into a Relationship

M.J. and Jaqueline Moore
M.J. and Jaqueline Moore
Courtesy Jacqueline Moore

Following Angela LaGreca’s departure from Dan’s Papers in December 2022, the editorial side of her multifaceted role was split in two — this writer would pick up the mantle of her “Out East End” column and Jacqueline Moore would be hired to act as photo editor.

When this happened, there was no big announcement in the paper introducing Moore to our readers. She just quietly hit the ground running at full speed and has quickly proven herself to be an invaluable member of the Dan’s team. She’s long overdue for a proper introduction.

Moore grew up in Westhampton Beach and is the daughter of the village’s current mayor, Maria Z. Moore. Inspired by her WHB High School chorus teacher, Eric Rubinstein, she attended his alma mater SUNY Fredonia and graduated in 2020 with dual degrees in theater arts and video production. Prior to Dan’s, she worked for 91 East Productions, covering events such as the Hamptons International Film Festival and Long Island Pride, as well as organizations like the Community Health Care Association of New York State.

Moore and her partner MJ live on Long Island with their 11-year-old shih tzu. Their gradual online friendship to relationship over the span of a decade is a fascinating testament to not rushing one’s love story.

A Conversation with Jacqueline Moore

How do you identify and when did you begin to figure out your LGBTQ identity?

I currently identify as pansexual. I grew up in a heterosexual family, and most of the people that I went to school with were heterosexual as well. It just wasn’t in my frame of mind until I got my hands on a laptop, stepped into the world of social media and video games that there was so much more than the community I was raised in. With the world at my fingertips I discovered new communities.

Growing up, I didn’t know that being a nerd was socially acceptable until I met thousands of New York ComicCon-ers. It wasn’t until I entered the gaming community that I realized how expansive the LGBTQ community was.

That’s how I ultimately ended up meeting the partner that I have today. I was playing video games with an online friend of mine, and she introduced us. We hit it off so well that we just never stopped talking. I think they were 13 at the time, and I was 14. We were just best friends. We both developed crushes on one another, but I initially met them when I was still in that state of mind of, “Of course I’m straight.”

Once I was introduced to just how vast the gay community is, I started experimenting with what kind of people I’m interested in. Initially I said I was straight, and then maybe I was bisexual because I seem to like both men and women.

My now-partner came out to me as nonbinary, and I realized that my love for them didn’t falter with gender identity. Pansexuality is based on the idea that you’re in love with the person’s personality and how they make you feel more so than with their biology. It doesn’t matter what gender, where on the spectrum of gender identity they lie, it’s who that person is at their essence.

How did your relationship with MJ develop online, and when did you finally meet?

We’ve been such a huge support in each other’s lives. Throughout all that time together, we’ve obviously spent periods in other relationships, but we always had one another’s backs. … I had just graduated college, and MJ (who lived in South Dakota) was just turning 21. Their mom, uncle and aunt had decided for their 21st birthday, they were going to make it a big deal in Vegas. And I said, “You know what? This sounds like a blast. I’m going to plan with them and make sure it’s OK that I come, and we’re finally going to be able to meet like we’d hoped to do for so many years.”

It was nerve-wracking, but also super funny because it was MJ’s first time on a plane, so they came stumbling out of the taxi, completely motion sick. … There were a lot of nerves. Then we hugged and had a moment to finally talk … it was almost as if nothing had changed, like we’d always known each other in person. … We accidentally ended up spending like five hours sitting out in front of our hotel where this huge water feature was and just talked to each other until like 7 in the morning.

After that, I went back to New York, and they went back to South Dakota, shortly after deciding to move to Oregon where their mom lives. They went to college for psychology for a short time there, but the constant rain put a damper on their lifestyle … During that time, we had agreed on a once-a-month visit to see each other, because at this point we both had the financial freedom and the capability to visit one another. …

We ultimately came to the decision that if we could find a place that felt comfortable for a born-and-raised Midwesterner to live in New York City without the huge hustle and bustle, (we’d move in together). We found a place to live, which is on the edge of the city. It’s just as close to Manhattan as it is to the East End. And we live like 20 minutes away from the nearest airport, so we can always go and visit MJ’s family, and it’s kind of a perfect fit.

Do you have any advice for people still searching for their special someone?

Every person is different and everyone’s perfect person is different, so there’s no one correct set of advice. I think that’s why everyone’s definition of love is so fascinating.

For me, it was just falling in love with someone who was my best friend. They cared about me unconditionally, and I did the same for them. There are very few people in someone’s life who don’t drain your social meter. Once you find that person, you can spend an entire lifetime with them.

I don’t think there’s a word in the English language to define exactly how the right person should make you feel. I mean, safe, loved, cared for, supported in all facets, someone who understands your love language and you understand theirs — those descriptors don’t fully encapsulate that person’s essence in its entirety. I think the huge aspect of our relationship was that we never really forced it.

We could have dated back when we were teens, but I think if we had done that, we wouldn’t be where we are right now.