Are you guys comfortable being affectionate in public?

Mikko: More than before, but we’ve never really been that big on PDA. Maybe because it still felt less safe when we first got together; maybe because we never really felt it was necessary to display to others.

James: Couples walking slowly hand in hand on the tube when I’m trying to catch a train has made me determined never to do the same to others.

Have you ever experienced homophobia in public?

MIkko: Yes, there have been a few times over the years when someone has shouted unpleasantries at us and we’ve had to hasten our steps. Once we were chased down our road to our door in London. That was scary.

James: A few times, separately and together. Ranging from smaller things like, just this weekend, being offered a car to our next destination after an event only to have the offer withdrawn when we said we were going to a gay bar, to bigger things, like hospitalization by a taxi driver. In some ways the “smaller things” stay with you more because they’re the things that are normalized and pervasive but easily dismissed by others who haven’t experienced them.

Regarding monogamy: how did you guys decide what works best for you?

Mikko: Monogamous or not, I think the key in a long-term relationship is to openly communicate about your desires and hope that you’re both on the same page or at least understand each other.

James: I think whatever a couple’s situation is, there always has to be open communication, whether open relationship, monogamous, or something in between. I don’t think any type of relationship works without making sure there’s always a dialogue. A straight couple I know who’ve been in an open relationship for 10 years always discuss their exploits, together and apart, whenever we have dinner and I think that’s one of the reasons they work so well.

Are you married? What are you views on gay marriage?

Mikko: I’d like to get married to James one day but I have some issues with it as a heterosexual institution. I think gay marriage should be an opportunity to redefine marriage on your terms and not a “heteronormalizing” force in the gay community.

James: I think one of the issues for me is that it’s hard to embrace something from which we as a community were excluded for so long. I wasn’t even invited to my sister’s hen do because it’s traditionally all-female, and so I have a deeply embedded distrust of traditions that have enforced and institutionalized gender norms and excluded queer people. That said, if Madonna officiated, I’m sure I’d change my mind.

Commissioned by and originally pubished on IntoMore.com

Set Design: Malena Mc Quarrie
Grooming: Ronnie Woodward