Exclusive | Valentine's Day
Within the city that never sleeps lives a magical married couple in Brooklyn. Why magical you ask? Maybe it’s because they have triumphed over pretty much every obstacle thrown at them. The worlds they come from weren’t designed for them to succeed as a couple, however, their love magically propelled them to their destiny. But what does it truly mean to be a magical couple?
Carlos and Richard Seigler-Carter aka The Real Dads of New York defined that term simply by living their everyday lives and raising a child, all while navigating the world as a married black gay couple in America, a title so rare it was like stumbling upon a unicorn as it tried to find a needle in a haystack. Now that’s what you call rare! Luckily I was able to sit down with this magical couple to discuss everything about their fascinating union.
Carlos (47) and Richard (32) first met about 15 years ago when Richard, 17 at the time, decided to audition for Carlos’ bike photo shoot in New York. Carlos met Richard and his mother at that time and gained permission to do the photo shoot. Now of course, this initial meet didn’t immediately spark a romantic relationship, but rather a protective friendship.
Over the years, they grew closer as acquaintances; Carlos would notice Richie in the wee hours of the night wandering the Village, a location in New York with gay-oriented establishments which includes as gay bars, nightclubs, and bathhouses. Carlos sprung into protective mode once noticing Richard may be up to no good in hopes of persuading him to think more about his future.
Respectively, the same protectiveness was reciprocated by Richard once he discovered that Carlos was in a toxic 4-year relationship with another guy, but it came with a slight motive behind it.
“Richie was giving me ideas like ‘You can do better’,” began Carlos. “As [an] older person it was surprising for a younger person to tell me ‘Wake up, you can do better! Why are you staying in a toxic relationship?’ So when I finally decided to wake up…I walked away and took the time to mourn that relationship.”
“…And then two weeks later he called me!” Richard cut in while smirking. “I mean being the bold person that I am, I told him, ‘When this falls apart, call me.’ …I actually pursued him, if you were to really just call a spade a spade. Imagine this little 20-year-old saying, ‘Hey, I’m over here’…that was me.”
The duo then decided to date exclusively, and 7 years into the relationship they hit a fidelity snag. Carlos found a picture of Richard kissing another guy in his iCloud. Richard claimed it wasn’t all that it seemed to be because the kiss was unexpected, but the event ultimately caused a divide in trust and the couple broke up.
Shortly after, they soon realized they could no longer be apart from each other, and in an effort to figure out what’s next, they decided to get married. As unromantic as the proposal may have been, the wedding definitely made up for it. With over 300 thousand views on YouTube, their wedding was indeed a magical experience for all the world to see.
“I grew up in church, which in itself was a conflict with same-sex marriage, but I’ve always said to myself that if someone is worth it, I would stand regardless of how I was raised and live in my truth. So, I decided to get married,” said Carlos.
The couple jumped the broom on September 27th, 2015, a week before their ninth anniversary. Over a hundred people gathered to celebrate their union, however, I was shocked to learn that some people in the couple’s family decided not to come, such as Carlos’ mother.
“My mother is a true Jamaican, she was dead set against same-sex marriage. Even though she was open to other people living their life, her expectation for her son was to marry a woman. She even tried over the years to set me up with a girl…and yes I am bisexual…but you’re not gonna choose for me who I should be happy with,” said Carlos. Carlos’ sister however did decide to support and walk him down the aisle in spite of their mother’s decision.
Similarly, Richard’s grandfather decided not to attend their wedding, however he did wish the couple love and happiness from afar. Fortunately, Richard’s mother did decide to attend though she too was Jamaican, and even walked him down the aisle. The wedding concluded being a great mix of supportive family and friends.
Almost a year into their marriage, the couple decided to adopt a child in order to begin building their family. This decision seemed to be the best fit for the couple in terms of affordability and experience. Carlos was able to experience firsthand how the adoption process works because he helped raise his two younger brothers who his mother decided to adopt through foster care. Magically, their love for one another allowed them to be admitted into one of New York city’s most prestigious adoption agencies within less than 24 hours.
Even more magical, or more like destiny, the night before their wedding anniversary as the couple was toasting their love in Paris, a baby boy by the name of Timothy was born into the world. When the couple returned home, they were notified that they were deemed strong candidates to adopt Timothy because the parents specifically asked for a gay couple. Again, magical.
“When we heard his name, we were like, ‘We like that name!’, said Richard.
“We googled the name for the meaning, and it means “Honoring God”, which is exactly what our relationship is about. So, there’s nothing left to chance, I think everything is orchestrated by God and if your faithful for the few things he’ll make you rule over many things. I really do believe that once you start walking right, including being faithful to yourself, to each other and to the relationship, then things will begin to fall into place that you’ll never expect,” said Carlos.
3 months later after the process was complete, the couple finally received a photo of their new son.
“I got an email that said, “Meet Your Son Timothy” …and of course, I burst into tears because I got to see my kid,” began Richard excitingly. “Beyond like the first phase of excitement I was like, ‘Oh, he is really light’. When you think about a mixed baby that is mixed with black and Puerto Rican…you’re expecting a different complexion. But again, that thought was in and out, but we were happy.”
The couple finally got to welcome their new son into their family in person. And when they took a step back to look at the grand scheme of things, they realized they had gone through the entire adoption process in less than 3 months, where as some couples would’ve had to wait years before given the opportunity. This entire situation perhaps influenced them into choosing the name for their YouTube, “The Real Dads of New York”.
This Valentine’s Day, the couple doesn’t have any specific plans because they believe in doing acts of appreciation for each other on a daily basis. Their love story is certainly one for the books and it makes you wonder how can you yourself build a magical bond with someone that enables the world to work in your favor regardless of the circumstances.
And believe me, Richard and Carlos have gone through their fair share of hate and negative comments about their relationship, race, and even the skin color of their child Timothy. But what’s most important is that their faith in God and in each other allowed them to overlook the negativity and prosper on. Their son Timothy is now two years old and is healthy and happily living among two magical dads that possess an extraordinary love no one can’t help but admire.
Be sure to follow Carlos and Richard on Instagram @TheRealDadsofNewYork and on YouTube. Check out this awesome video of their wedding!