It's a new year and I'm pleased to introduce Francois and Brandon as our first couple to be profiled in our ongoing Coupled Up series. While many of us may have made resolutions to find true love in 2010 this Wilmington, Delaware couple have been in love and making it work despite the odds and on their own terms for several years.
The pair are apart of Relevance TV, a breakout new YouTube channel serving the African-American LGBT & straight communities at home and abroad. They're currently engaged.
Francois & Brandon on how they met & how long they've been together:
Francois: We met on a website called D-list back in march of 2007.
Brandon: Its kind of like a gay version of MySpace. We’ve been together 3 years.
Reflecting on the early possibility of their relationship becoming serious:
Francois: OMG, I had no idea; he told me online that he had never been with a guy and was on the DL. I was a very devout Pentecostal at the time so I kind of figured I would let him have his experience and then I would go to church during the next revival and get “delivered” …AGAIN… and that would be that.
Francois & Brandon on their courtship: Proceeding with caution vs jumping in:
Brandon: After about a month we knew it was serious when we accidently told one another we loved each other.
Francois: Yeah..it was crazy.. we were boo loving on the phone after about a 4 hour conversation; as was normal for us, living an hour apart, at the time; and just as we were about to hang up I said depressingly, “ok…I’ll….talk to you... “and before I could finish he replied, “I love you too.” And hung up. So I was like, OMG and called back after being flabbergasted and said, “did you just say you love me? And he said, “Uh..yeah, you said you loved me”, I said, “No…I didn’t… but I do,” so from that point it was the beginning of where we are today.
Francois & Brandon on the reaction of family & friends after coming out individually & as a couple:
Brandon: No one believed me and they all thought I was going through a phase, my mom even initially questioned whether or not I had been abused as I child sexually in order for me to like guys, which I wasn’t.
Francois: My family already knew I was gay but Brandon was the first I introduced as a boyfriend, they didn’t acknowledge his existence and said they would continue to pray for my deliverance. After the second year they had to accept the fact that he wasn’t going anywhere and so now everybody’s cool.
Francois & Brandon on the myth that committed black gay couples are non-existent & success depends on dating another race:
Brandon: Some people do like other races, I don’t have any boundaries when it comes to love, my life partner just so happens to be black, and I would admit that culturally its easier for me to be with someone who is black. As far as commitment, honestly, I can’t speak to that because I don’t know many black gay men, at least openly gay that is. Commitment is possible for anyone, regardless of race, it depends, in my opinion, on the persons psyche. Some people are naturally loyal and others are not.
Francois: Well, to me, I believe that commitment is definitely possible, we’ve been committed for three years, now ….. if you ask about monogamy, that’s different. We are no longer monogamous. Monogamy simply means that we only sleep with each other. We recently decided, over the last few months to entertain threesomes. We only do it with a person that we both select and are attracted to and it's strictly for fun. We can stop at anytime and it not affect our relationship at all.
We’re not lacking the desire for each other- it’s just a different arena we decided was okay for us to explore together. Because we do have threesomes from time to time, we can no longer be considered monogamous. Committed, absolutely, monogamous, not so much. Can two people be together and be monogamous, sure, but it’s rare and typically evolves dishonesty and cheating. Thankfully, we are more than just lovers, we are best friends, so there is none of that. (Brandon Agrees)
Francois & Brandon on the obstacles of maintaining a healthy relationship:
Brandon: We think differently, how we overcome this obstacle, whether it be our future residence, or the color of our bedroom, we each state our position and if the other doesn’t want to concede to that point of view we meet in the middle.
Francois: Communication is the key, if we don’t like something the other does we speak to it immediately. If you don’t like the way I chew food and it’s a pet peeve of yours, and you never say anything, I will continue to annoy you and not know it. The next thing you know we’re having unnecessary arguments because you have become irritated with me to no end and now we're breaking up due to irreconcilable differences when a simple, “Baby, I hate the way you chew food,” would have solved the problem.’’…LOL
Francois & Brandon on the importance of marriage to their relationship:
Brandon: This is very important, mainly because we want certain rights and protections for each other. And protection for our kids when we have them. It’s definitely not to validate our relationship, we don’t need a piece of paper to define our love for each other.
Francois: If I were to die right now, he couldn’t claim my body or make final decisions because we aren’t married. If we have children we would have to jump through hoops to both be declared the fathers of our children. There are over 1,200 rights and protections bestowed to those who are married. It has absolutely nothing to do with religion, sanctity, or morality. It has everything to do with fairness, protections, and civil rights.
Francois & Brandon on who proposed to whom & how:
Brandon: Honestly, we didn’t even have a formal proposal, It started as commitment rings on our 6th month “anniversary” and from that point, as time progressed, we discussed marriage through conversation and we both stated that we want to spend the rest of our lives together….not the answer you were looking for, corny..we know..lol.
Francois: And besides our commitment rings were real; diamonds and all and there is no need to buy new ones until we actually get married..lol
Brandon on the fact there marriage won't be recognized by the state of Delaware:
Honestly, it makes me feel bad that the state that I reside in won’t honor our license due to us being gay. However, it pushes us to fight a little harder for our rights because this is a civil rights issue not a morality issue. We didn’t choose to be gay just like heterosexuals don’t choose to be straight. Now, if they do think that being straight WAS in fact a choice then that’s a whole other conversation that needs to be had. (Both laugh).
Francois on their plans to start a family:
We plan to have our best female friends act a surrogates for carrying only. We will choose the eggs from a donor of our choice and then have our friend carry the two children. I will inseminate one egg and Brandon will the other and they both will be carried by our surrogate.
Francois & Brandon on the role religion/spirituality plays in their relationship:
Brandon: Spiritually we feel we were brought together for a reason, because there were a lot of things in our past that occurred that caused us to meet online that night.
Francois: Brandon was never religious and I come from a strict apostolic background. Through education and research I’ve discovered that being a part of any religion is not necessary for my success in life. We don’t fear a hell nor do we look forward to a heaven.
Brandon: We were non-existent before we got here and will be non-existent after death. So we accept the fact that no one knows. We rely on love to keep us together.
Francois & Brandon on how they keep the flame burning brightly in their relationship:
Brandon: Staying in shape!!!!, Don’t get me wrong we will still love each other if we get out of shape but sexually it won’t be the same..that’s real talk.
Francois: Yes, absolutely, stay in shape.. How you get em’ is how you keep em’, he advertised biceps and abs when we met and I expect to get what my time and love paid for..lol. So we both frequent the gym to stay attractive for each other and ourselves. We role play and other kinky business.
Brandon: You gotta keep it fresh and exciting. When things get boring the relationship dies.
Francois: I often pretend like I don’t know him and when he walks in the room from work or the shower I still get excited and start lusting. So yeah we stay sexy and keep it interesting.
Alrighty then! Many thanks to Francois and Brandon for sharing their love with us.