When Filipino fitness coach Carlos Concepcion and American TV producer Alexander McCaskill—both former models—met 10 years ago at a bar in Manila, Carlos was still unsure of his sexual identity. “He (Alex) came up to me and said, ‘Hey, I know you through Facebook!’ I was being a complete a** and ignored him,” Carlos tells ABS-CBN Lifestyle. Although, he says, he found the meeting rather short and sweet.
The two went on separate ways for a while, with Carlos still calling himself 'confused.' It all changed, however, when he decided to study in New York City. There, he reconnected with Alex. “Being in New York gave me an opportunity to question everything I thought my life was going to be,” Carlos muses. Alex adds, “From then on, we were pretty much inseparable.”
Things eventually turned serious as Carlos muses about what was on the horizon, “Suddenly, a future with a man and Alex didn’t seem so crazy. We have made a relationship that isn’t perfect but is honest, defined by nobody else but us, and is real.”
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Coming from a religious and conservative family, Carlos was initially scared to tell his family about his relationship with Alex. He took inspiration from Alex whose relatives have always embraced his emotional ties, including those he dated. “I wanted to share that same feeling with my family,” says Carlos, expressing gratitude to his nearest and dearest for having turned out to be incredibly supportive of their love... My mom was the first person I told in my family and she was so happy and proud of me. The rest of my family accept Alex. I am grateful and thankful that they can see that love is above all else." Alex, meanwhile, details, “My family has always been accepting of my relationships. They love Carlos a lot and they really treat him like one of their own. I’ve been super lucky to have parents like that,"
The two have been married for six years now, hoping that just like them, each individual from the LGBTQ+ community can feel accepted, loved, and celebrated. Sending support for the passage of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill in the Philippines, Carlos stresses, “Everyone should feel safe and protected. It’s ridiculous that this is even a debate. To be against something that protects someone’s life from hurt, pain, or any form of violence, how can you be against that?”
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As for Alex, he is just as aware and agitated over the legal dilemma. “It’s very Catholic. There are still people who believe being gay is a sin and that’s getting in the way of any form of true equality. That belief needs to be challenged,” he declares. "True separation of church and state needs to happen," Carlos adds.
When dealing with those against all kinds of love, the couple ultimately stands resolute in pushing for acceptance and open-mindedness. “Nothing gets done in that type of environment. Tolerance is key," Alex says. "Sure, you have a right to believe that being gay is wrong but I’ll challenge you on that. Maybe one day, you’ll change your mind.”
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Photographs taken from the subjects' Instagram accounts