'90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way's' 1st LGBTQ Couple — 'We Are Absolutely 100% Real'

by Steve Duffy

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday June 11, 2020

"90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way," is part of the insanely successful TLC franchise in which an American seeks romance and marriage with a foreign national they barely know; the catch being that they come here on a 90-day spousal visa and must marry or leave the U.S if they don't. This spin-off offers a reversal of that dynamic — instead of bringing their potential spouse to the United States, the American decides to move abroad.

The upcoming season (which premieres on Sunday) features the show's first gay male couple, Kenneth and Armando. (Note: The recent "Before the 90 Days," another successful spinoff featured the franchise's first lesbian couple, Stephanie and Erika, whose rocky relationship ended badly.)

In additional to their differences in nationalities, the pair has a 26-year old age difference: Kenneth is 57 and Armando is 31. They met at a gay fathers' support group. Kenneth, from St. Petersburg, Florida, has four children: 26-year-old son Bricen and 23-year-old triplet daughters, Taylor, Cassidy, and Madison, along with a three-year-old grandson, Cooper. Armando, who is from Mexico, is a father of a six-year-old daughter, Hannah. Over the show's season, Kenneth decides to move to Mexico to be with Armando and his daughter. But Armando's family does not accept his sexuality and he has not told them about Kenneth.

To appear or not appear

EDGE: How is life in lockdown going?

Kenneth: As well as you can image. Trying to stay entertained.

Armando: We are just trying to make the best of it. Basically, all we are doing is going for walks and eating all day.

EDGE: How did the two of you meet?

Kenneth: We met almost four years ago on a gay father's support page on social media. We become friends on there and just started talking. After a year or so of just talking, I was going to a wedding and asked him if I came to Mexico, would you like to hang out.

EDGE: Why choose a reality show to share your love story?

Armando: There was lots of discussion around it, because we are both very private individuals. We did hesitate, but the idea was exciting at the same time. For me, personally, it was to help me overcome my shyness. I am also not fully out as a gay man. To be able to do it in front of the world means I would have to push myself to be open and learn to fully accept myself for who I am.

Watch and see

EDGE: Armando, since your family is not accepting of your sexuality, how do they feel about broadcasting it on a reality show?

Armando: They really know don't much about the show and they really didn't understand what the cameras were for. So, you will have to tune in to see how they react.

EDGE: Kenneth, did you face any challenges of adapting to the Mexican culture?

Kenneth: Oh yes! It definitely has been a challenge. Just the language barrier alone has been difficult. I don't speak any Spanish at all. I am pretty independent, so relying on someone else to help me get through the day has not been easy. Plus, all the conveniences that you have in America are different from what is here in Mexico.

EDGE: Do you think at some point the 26-year age difference will matter?

Kenneth: When we first met, we didn't meet on a dating site and neither one of us were looking for love. We did meet as friends first and we were definitely ourselves with each other because there was no agenda. As we grew as friends, we realized there was something there between us that we couldn't deny. There really was undeniable chemistry. We don't even think about the age difference. Our relationship really happened very naturally for us.

Armando: Like you said, we were not looking for love or a relationship. I just had recently come out, so I was just looking for friends. I had no life in the gay world. Didn't really know much. No one around me is gay, so I just needed someone to talk too. I liked that he is older than me and more mature. He does not look his age and he acts young. I act older than him. I like that we both meet in the middle in different ways.

Gay Life in Mexico

EDGE: How is life for gay couples in Mexico?

Kenneth: It is actually still an unknown. You don't see it like you see it in America. In America, you can be open and hold hands in public. You don't see anything like that here. It is still a work in progress here. Being gay here is like stepping back in time. Part of our story is Armando coming to terms with a lot of things.

Armando: Mexico has a very macho culture and being gay terrifies me. One of my concerns is being out and about and being called names or being bullied. Sadly, this is the reality we have to live with. I wish it was different and I hope that will change soon.

EDGE: What do you say to the naysayers who say the show is fake?

Kenneth: I can tell you from our experience, we went into this where our story is true, and we were going to be ourselves. We wanted to document our life and not being anyone else. We show who we really are along with the tears, struggles, and happiness. We are absolutely 100% real throughout the entire show.

EDGE: Is there anything that the show didn't capture that you wished it had?

Armando: I don't think so. We were pretty open and honest every step of the way. It captured big moments in our lives and one of the biggest moments in my life.

EDGE: What are you hoping that the viewer will take away from your love story?

Kenneth: We are hoping to open minds and hearts for people who don't totally understand same-sex couples. We have a unique story: We both have children, we come from different countries and from different eras. We had a lot to learn from each other and making sure that we are true to ourselves throughout this process.

Season 2 of 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way premieres Monday, June 8 at 9PM ET/PT on TLC visit the TLC website.

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