This photo of two gay, Black fathers tending to their children’s hair is going viral and may become one of the most symbolic examples of the modern American family the social web has seen.
Not because being an openly gay family from Atlanta is breaking news–because it really isn’t. For me, it’s because the photo is so extraordinarily normal, yet beautiful at the same time. In one selfie, any stereotype one could have about a Black gay couple raising Black girls was dispelled with the snap of a smart phone camera.
And that is exactly the affect Kordale and Kaleb intended when they set up their Facebook page “KordaleNKaleb” last May.
“I’d like to show that love, African-American gay love, any love can be displayed in a positive light,” Kaleb said to NewsOne in an exclusive interview. “I want to show people, close friends, people who aren’t our friends, that it’s possible to inspire others and that they don’t have to live in a stereotypical gay life where every man is promiscuous and sleeping with everybody.”
Last year, the couple were in bed when Kordale opened up about having “big dreams” of taking their happy family life public. They were not only a happy family, Kordale thought; They are a brand. The Facebook page went live in May and the Instagram page with photos of them and their three children (Desmiray, 7, Maliya, 6, and Kordale, 5) followed.
(All three are Kordale’s. He had them from a prior heterosexual relationship in consecutive years during his teens: 17, 18 and 19. He and the mother share joint custody)
Right now, their Kordale and KALEB Facebook page has more than 10,000 likes and some 13,000 taking about it and their Instagram page has more than 33,000 followers. They declined to give their last names because they want the public to know them as their brand, which is their first names. Kordale says is and Kaleb are in takes with several cable networks discussing the possibility of taking their family primetime. He says such a move, if successful, would help empower LGBT families who do not feel as comfortable about their themselves as he and Kaleb are.
“I moved to Atlanta when I was 20-years-old and that is when I started exploring my new sexuality, but I still saw the same discrimination and stuff and I was like, ‘Man. This is crazy,'” Kordale said. “I’ve never been talked to like that but I see how these people are being treated, so let me be a voice in the LGBT community. The way that (LGBT) people are being treated, it shouldn’t happen. So that’s what inspired me to say that we have an inspiring story. Let’s put it out there. Let’s be an inspiration to other people.”
Kaleb, 25, is a suburban guy from the suburbs of Atlanta. Kordale is 25-year-old, business-minded brotha from the South Side of Chicago. Besides being Black, gay and good-looking, the two men had nothing else in common when they met each other on Facebook back in the summer of 2011. They disagree over who hit on whom first, but both knew that liked each other. Kaleb was especially attracted to Kordale’s chocolate skin tone and long, flowing locks.
He was finishing up a degree in computer engineering at an out of state college, but they began meeting up every weekend until they eventually moved in together. They got serious after six months or so and Kaleb began bringing Kordale around his parents, but not as his boyfriend.
“‘Oh, mom, this is my homeboy, Kordale,'” Kaleb would tell his parents of his new friend, as Kordale recalls. “I got tired of hearing that sh*t, excuse my language. Six months past and I gotta go out there be macho like, (Mr. T voice): ‘Yeah, what up.'” Kaleb suspected his parents knew he was gay, but he never told them until Kordale forced his hand one day. And, just as Kaleb figured, his parents knew all along. “I felt relieved,” he said. He was 21-years-old at the time. They all went out for drinks that night and celebrated.
As for how they raise their children, Kaleb says they are very careful about how they define their relationship to them. “We tell them that people make decisions based on who they love and who they have feelings for,” Kaleb said. “Sometimes, you might have one family. It might be a woman. It might be a man. Might be two women. This is how the world works and we can’t look at it any differently. Love is love. Sometimes, you might have two daddies. Some might have two moms or a mom and a dad. You never know. They understand.
I think the most important part is that we love them. We don’t show a lot of affection in front of them. We’re not kissing and holding hands. We don’t necessarily want to influence them. We want them to make their own decisions as individuals. If the three of them want to be gay, we don’t want to shy them away fro it because that is their own decision. I don’t. Kordale doesn’t and neither does the mother want it to be a decision we force on them.”
Both men say their families have shown unconditional support for their relationship and admit they are blessed for it. Though Georgia does not honor same-sex marriage, the couple are talking about tying the knot some day. Kordale already has the wedding figured out.
“I want family and friends to be there,” he said. “I want it to be inspirational. Maybe invite some people who we dont know to show that love is possible and it exists in gay relationships and in any relationship, love exists. I want a glamorous wedding. Rose peddles. Everything. Our kids will be there. And horses.”
However it turns out, Kaleb and Kordale’s big day will surely be a picture-perfect event. Just as beautiful as that photo of their family that thousands people on the web are sharing this very second.