Photos Courtesy of Juan and Gee Session-Smalls
Recently an article surfaced in a Facebook group offering advice and common relationship mistakes made by gay men. After I read the article, I thought that it was good material and re-posted it on my own Facebook page. I got a few “LIKES,” but soon shortly afterwards I started to receive a barrage of messages from folks telling me in no uncertain terms that a few of the “advice items” listed were either too simplistic or downright not true. One online friend suggested that I take a look at “LoveWorks with Juan and Gee.” I did, and upon further investigation, I agreed with my friend. The information on Juan and Gee’s site was much better.
Juan and Gee Session-Smalls are partners and co-owners of G. Spot Productions, an event planning company. The company also produces the annual Gentlemen’s Ball, a black-tie affair that was originally conceived as a prom for the LGBT community. Juan is originally from Los Angeles and Gee is originally from Charleston, South Carolina. The power couple now resides in Atlanta. On October 23, 2009, they were married on a private beach side ceremony in Connecticut. Shortly afterwards, “LoveWorks,” a blog that offers relationship advice from the perspective of a black gay married couple was born. On April 28, 2012, they were the first black gay couple to be shown on HGTV’s House Hunters.
After a few voice messages, friend requests, and text messages, I finally caught up with the extremely busy Mr. and Mr. Session-Smalls. I interviewed them via email.
PRIDEINDEX (PI): When and where did you first meet? How long have Juan and Gee been in a relationship?
GEE: We met on May 31st at Joe’s on Juniper. Juan was at a table with his friends and I was at a table with mine. After a bit of “eye flirtation,” I decided to walk over and introduce myself to Juan. The rest is history.
JUAN: We have been together for five years and married for three and a half years.
PI: Why did you start “LoveWorks with Juan and Gee?”
JUAN: Shortly after getting legally married in Connecticut, the response we got from our community was astounding. Our decision to spend our lives together and live out loud about it had an impact on those around us that we did not expect. People would constantly approach us with questions about our relationship and how we made it work. Relationships have always been something that we both have been very passionate about, so it was very natural for us to offer our vantage point to anyone who would listen. It almost became a social responsibility that something or someone bigger than us had chosen us for, and we feel privileged to be able to share our experience.
PI: What is your stance on gay marriage?
JUAN: If it were legal in the state of Georgia, would you do it? We believe everyone should have the right to marry who they love no matter the gender. It’s not GAY MARRIAGE…its simply “marriage.” We went to Connecticut to get legally married and as soon as it is legal in Georgia, we will take any necessary steps (if any) to have it recognized here as well.
PI: How do you keep conflicts in your relationship from spilling over into your business ventures?
JUAN: A lot of patience. We’ve learned early on that it’s actually very tough to draw explicit lines between the marriage and the business and to continue to try to do so would do more harm than good. We have settled into a regime where the lines are blurred. We understand each other enough to give one another the necessary space when there is a disagreement whether it is in business or in the marriage.
PI: Describe the quality that most attracted you to your mate?
GEE: The first thing that attracted me to Juan was his beautiful skin and smile. It captured my attention upon first glance. After our first date, I was immediately attracted to his intelligence, drive and passion for life.
JUAN: I was immediately attracted to his confidence. He made me feel like no other man has made me feel before. I was hooked from the start.
PI: Do you believe by offering professional advice to gay men of color that some may see you as somehow putting your own relationship on a pedestal?
JUAN: We’ve never thought about that. We do what we do out of passion and love for our community. We can’t spend any energy on what others may think; that will cause us to lose focus. Our relationship is no easier, harder, or anymore “wonderful” than any other relationships out there. We just chose to share what makes Love Work for Juan & Gee and hope that it can help others.
PI: What is the biggest misconception about your work?
JUAN: That we have a “perfect” relationship. Although our relationship is perfect for us, it comes along with just as many challenges as anyone else’s relationship. We are “perfectly” human.
PI: Do either of you have children? Or do you have plans to raise a family?
JUAN: Yes, Gee has a 12 year old son that we raise from his previous marriage. We do not have any immediate plans to have any more kids, but hey, no one knows what the future holds.
PI: Why did you start G.Spot Productions? What are your long term goals?
JUAN: First and foremost, we love to produce events. The creativity that goes into entertaining is something we are both are passionate about. It is so rewarding to be able to make people happy and that is our driving force. We also wanted to use our experience as event producers to help uplift our community by producing quality events that may not otherwise be afforded to us. That is why we created “The Gentlemen’s Ball.” Society has pegged gay men as unproductive, shameful, and damaged individuals for far too long and it is time to show them that we are strong, confident, proud black gay men that stands tall in our truth and generous in our giving.
(Regarding long term goals) The sky is the limit. We ultimately want to expand the G.SPOT brand into a tapas lounge where people can enjoy a great cocktail, nosh on small bites, and enjoy the phenomenal company of others.
PI: What advice would you offer to other same gender loving couples?
JUAN: BE YOURSELF!!! Get to know, and love, your partner for who they are and allow them to do the same. Let go of all the trivial issues and work towards being authentically happy – no matter what.
Visit LoveWorks with Juan and Gee click here.