Interracial, Southern and gay: our life in ‘The Swirl’

Journalist Don Lemon and Tim Malone. Comedian Mario Cantone and Jerry Diton. Fitness Guru Shawn T and Scott Blokker. Political Commentator Jonathan Capehart and Nick Schmit.

What do all these famous celebrity couples have in common? They’re gay and interracial, black and white. Down with the swirl as they say.

In a world where being gay is still given the side eye, real couples find love outside their own race and give meaning to the phrases “color blind” and “love is love.” In the current atmosphere of divisiveness and hate, and given the backlash given to both African Americans and gays, these couples aren’t only role models to people like me, but brave – and whether they like it or not, heroes in both communities.

I grew up gay in a Southern Baptist family, which was not easy on its own. When I met my soul mate in 2003, he was strong with a deep sexy voice and all the qualities I admired in a possible mate. He was also African American.

After a false start, we kept running into each other at different events and had a connection, so I asked for a second chance and he gave it to me. That was in 2004, and I have never looked back or regretted my decision. Two years ago, we became Mr. and Mr. Davis.

Rommel and I have overcome obstacles like any other couple, my family being one of the main ones. They have welcomed Rommel into their home for dinner, and at our home to open presents and just to visit in Atlanta. We have been through family sickness and death, financial struggles, career moves, and lots of fun times, travels and surprises.

But interracial couples also face unique challenges. Every time I look at Rommel, I still see no color, just the man with the sexy voice and the big heart I feel in love with almost 14 years ago. Not so with others around us.

When race came to the forefront in the news, I have been hurt and embarrassed at my own race for the things that were said and done, and the hate that continues to be spread in this current political climate.

We continue to love each other, respect each other, and honor the vows we made even before we signed a piece of paper that is filed in court to say we’re married legally.

We both continue to believe and trust that things will get better, and things will change. We do our part to contribute what we can to help others and support causes we believe in. We choose not to spend our money or contribute our time to places that do not support the community we are proud to be part of.

We have seen change, although we still get looks and people exchanging glances when they find out we are a couple. In Destin, Fla., last September, we were at a lunch counter and saw the couple beside us shift in order to not sit next to Rommel.

We carry on being brave, led by the love we have for each other and the life we have built despite ups and downs and naysayers. At the end of the day and the beginning of every day, we kiss and tell each other “I love you,” because the next day is not guaranteed. We live our life to the fullest and know that someone has our back, regardless of what happens outside our home.

Love is love.

Q reader and first time columnist Charles E. Davis lives and loves in Atlanta. 

This article originally ran as an info graphic in Q magazine. Read the full issue below: