A Lemur Love Story

Coming Out And Finding Love In Madagascar

Lemurs can be thanked for bringing these two Duke scientists together. Lydia Greene is a Lemur Scientist at The Duke Lemur Center and first went to Madagascar to study the species in her 20’s. She was dating a guy, but was a closeted homosexual when she met fellow scientist Marina Blanco. “She knew I was gay,” said Greene.

Photo Credit: Lydia Greene

It wasn’t until her second visit to Madagascar that sparks began to ignite. “I had just come out a month before. I knew she was out but I was still going through stuff and I felt like she was a safe person I could talk to,” said Greene.

Photo Credit: Lydia Greene

They embarked on a whirlwind romance and by the end of the trip they knew it was true love. However Blanco was living in Madagascar and Greene was going back and forth to Durham for her dissertation research. Both currently work for the Duke Lemur Center. They did the long distance romance and when Blanco returned to Durham, dated for around six months before getting engaged. “We both proposed, we actually got the rings together. We wanted to have an agreement on how much money we wanted to spend, who was going to spend the money. We just wanted everything to be equitable,” added Greene.

Blanco proposed to Greene first while they were hiking and Greene popped the question that same weekend while they were out at their favorite bar. Their small wedding was held at the Duke Lemur Center.

Photo Credit: Lydia Greene

Although lemurs brought these two scientists together, they also shared a love for classical music and of course environmental conservation. Blanco and Greene have been married three years now and they work alongside one another at The Duke Lemur Center. Greene said, “It’s really comforting to have a  team member who is also available to you whenever. We serve as the backup for each other’s projects. We both feel really strongly about science being a team based enterprise.”

In a society filled with male dominance, lemurs are a rare species where females dominate males. Greene wants aspiring female scientists to know they can one day dominate this industry too. Her advice is, “don’t be afraid to reach out to potential mentors you admire.”

“I myself, was the type of student who thought opportunity would come to me if I just worked hard enough. The reality is that opportunity comes because you ask for it,” said Greene.

Photo Credit: Lydia Greene

You can follow Lydia Greene and her lemur adventures on Instagram @lemurscientist