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18 comments | Friday, January 22, 2010

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.


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

What a lovely couple. It's couples like this that make me feel hopeful about being in love with someone and having a relationship that lasts a lifetime.
I like their answer to the question about how they keep the flame burning (staying in shape). May they continue as they are. I wish them the best. Hopefully their dreams to get married and have children together will be a reality.

January 22, 2010 4:27 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Great interview.

I like how they entertain 3somes. and are open and honest about it. Too bad many other relationships aren't that open and honest!

January 22, 2010 5:14 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I love Coupled Up so much...it makes me so happy!!! Thanks!!!

January 22, 2010 5:44 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

They had me until the threesome part. I'm like "uh yeah, do you boo" because treading on dangerous territory. There are always should be ways to keep a relationship interesting, but this one "uh yeah"....

January 22, 2010 9:05 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

They look adorable together. Thank you for sharing this. We need to see more positive lgbt MALE couples featured. That's something we see so little of.

January 22, 2010 10:10 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Most of the really long-term gay male couples I have seen over the years have some version of an "open" relationship. Now the couple can 1) be open and honest about it (like F& B) or 2) they can be dishonest (more likely)about it and sneak behind each other's backs.

It's called reality as in acknowledging and ACCEPTING what most gay men are like in real life. Not what the "perfect" gay man is like in your dreams but what a typical gay man is like in REAL LIFE.

The reality is that sex becomes boring with the same person after a while NO MATTER HOW GOOD IT IS. What are you, as a gay male couple, going to do about it? Are you going to have the "talk" and agree to an "open" relationship (and set the terms by which that can happen like F& B) or sneak around behind each other's backs and pretend you're monogamous when you're not?

Keep in mind that the "gay world" is a small world even in cities where there is a large gay population. So word is going to get back to the other partner sooner or later (no matter how well you think you've hidden your tracks) so you might as well be open and up front with each other about it FROM THE BEGINNING.

F & B are a lovely couple and I wish them the best. And I love the coupled up series. Thank you Darian.

January 23, 2010 2:02 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Me and my partner are African American and have been together for 8 years monogamously. We prefer it that way! Why is it that it’s expected that a gay couple can’t be monogamous? I say “do you!”

January 23, 2010 8:31 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I respect the fact that there are different opinions regarding monogamy in relationships. But professionals ALL say that straying from monogamy is a deceptive thing that does not strengthen relationships. Personally I believe in monogamy. If you are really in love you can keep a relationship fresh for years. Lots of people do it - and they are not all lying.

January 23, 2010 1:10 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Darian! I love your Coupled Up feature, and as often as I get to read about the couples you feature, I think I've told you that!

Francois and Brandon are cute and look good together and they seem to be having fun right now - and that's nice! But they are two of the most delusional young men I've read about yet!

I'm a solid supporter of black-on-black, same gender relationships, and I've learned that what works for someone else may not work for me (or be my cup of tea). But their double-talk on commitment and monogamy being seperate but equal is plain rubbish! It's just the first step toward the disentegration of their "relationship". But, I give them credit for recognizing the bottom line with "Commitment is possible for anyone.....it depends, in my opinion, on the persons psyche. Some people are naturally loyal and others are not." HELLO ! ! ! !

I'm sure these young men are very nice, and if I knew them personally, I'd offer my support but I wouldn't mince any words with them. I see a lot of youth and inexperience and "two guys having fun" who are "best friends" and who can "stop at anytime". They're adorable, but they're as flimsy as the spiritual foundation - We were non-existent before we got here and will be non-existent after death - that their relationship is built on! What happens when Francois wants to be "delivered" - AGAIN!?!

I really don't want to come off as a "hater" but that's what some of us are accused of being when we call people on their mess! And these two are a mess! You know, I love them for making it work this long, and for what they're able to do to maintain (and in all that they do have my support) but if they're looking for longevity - it ain't gonna happen! They need to keep having fun and not get too serious and bring any children into their mix - but..umm...that's part of their mess!

Just my two cents!

January 23, 2010 2:34 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...


I have enjoyed reading your articles and news stories since you've started it. You bring good and enlightening information about what's going on in the black gay community. I especially thought it was a plus when you added the coupled-up segment to your site.

BUT...my jury is still out on Francois and Brandon, (no offense to them). When I finished reading the article, I did not get a sense of a loving couple in a committed relationship. I got the sense of two black gay males who were dating, while committing every stereotypical act associated with gay black men i.e. only being attracted to men with Adonis-type bodies, having threesomes. I can assure you if my significant other who is supposedly into me and I into him didn't mind seeing me with another man, and even participated, I can guarantee you that he would be an ex.

That's just my opinion and maybe I'm old-fashioned. But if you and I are going to be together, then we're going to be together. If we have to bring in a third person, then we're not satisfied with one another and should not be together as a committed couple. Just F buddies, which is something I don't need.

Apparently others feel differently and that's their right. But to me Francois and Brandon are just perpetuating stereotypical acts that are associated with black gay men.

January 23, 2010 2:44 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Thanks everyone for your comments and support of Coupled Up.

I had a feeling this couple and their views on monogamy would be controversial. We all know there's not one particular way to be in a successful relationship and both straight and gay couples entertain open relationships. While this arrangement may not be my personal preference it seems to be working for Francois & Brandon (??), so I will not pass judgement.

One thing I do respect is the level of honesty and open communication they seem to have within their relationship that is often lacking in so many relationships that fail.

Just my two cents. :-)

January 23, 2010 6:41 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

i love coupled up! beautiful couple!

January 23, 2010 8:14 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Such a lovely couple...PROOF that we can do this!

January 24, 2010 12:05 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

As I've told you on Twitter, I love that you're doing this series. It's further proof that two black gay men can be in successful committed relationships. What I also like about this series is the realness, the honesty, the openness, and the variety. Not all of the couples or their experiences are the same. And what's most refreshing about Francois & Brandon is that they are in a non-traditional committed relationship. And their relationship is one that is seemingly working well. As we move forward, we all need to take some time to evaluate what is going to work for us in our relationships. And the stereotypical, traditional relationship just may not be it. It's not for everybody. And we need to respect that and honor that.

January 25, 2010 10:06 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I give them points for honesty and finding something that is working for them.

Their idea of a relationship is not something I could abide by.

I finished the interview thinking it's only a matter of time before their relationship ends. They seem bonded by sex and appearance more than anything else.

January 26, 2010 11:09 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I have to say that I was a little disappointed when they said that they were not monogamous.

I'm all for the do what you do and what works in your household. I'm just a little saddened that it seems like a lot of Gay men Black or White can not live in a monogamous relationship. I am happy that they are open about it and I truly wish them the best of luck.

January 26, 2010 9:22 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Great Post.....

I found your site on stumbleupon and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

Thanks for sharing....

February 11, 2010 4:35 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

black gay committed love is so beautiful to the naked eyes.i wish them all the best thins thang called life has to offer

April 12, 2010 8:23 PM


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