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A Heartfelt Conversations with Demetrike Wells-O'Brien

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

(Demetrike and his effervescent husband, Patrick)

Demetrike, tell me about yourself!

“I’ve just moved to Ann Arbor from Detroit to start my State Farm Insurance Agency. I’ve been married to my partner Patrick since November of 2021”.

Tell me about you and Patrick!

“Well, funnily enough, we met over Facebook! He reached out to me, but I was a little worried because he didn’t have a profile picture. I wasn’t sure at first, but dug pretty deep into his Facebook page and found that he looked pretty cute! Our first conversation lasted 3 hours. The second one lasted 2 hours, then one hour, and then I asked him on a date!”

Wow! When was that?

“That was in March or so of 2020. We were together a little bit until COVID hit. I contracted COVID first, and then he caught it from me a week later! We ended up quarantining together and really got to know each other”.

A lot of couples either got stronger or broke up during COVID. How did you two manage?

“It really felt like it was just us. We each saw the bad and good of each other, and were able to connect without the distraction of social media or anything like that”.

That’s amazing! So let’s dive into the really hard hitting questions! When did you come out?

“I came out when I was 16. It was scary. I was scared to come out. I went to a school where the few African American gay men there were not treated very well. So I wasn’t sure how to approach that. There were pretty dark times back then.”

What changed?

“My cousin came out after being married for ten years. Seeing that bravery, I came out to him. I thought I was going to get a reaction and I didn’t. I felt safe. The next day, he took me to Affirmations Community Center for their Friday Night Drop In”.

(Affirmations is an amazing LGBTQ+ community center out of the Ferndale area).

What happened when you went there?

“I found my place. I found acceptance. I found people that were ready to listen and made me feel connected. I didn’t feel alone anymore. That’s the magic of places like that. I was excited to be accepted for the first time”.

So what made you want to serve?

During the 2018 midterms, I felt like there was no good news for us. There was nothing positive coming and I felt that I had to do something to bring some positivity to the world. I served as a volunteer and then was put in touch with Dave Garcia, the Executive Director. I told my story and he asked me to serve. I thought if each of us can make a small change, we can see the world change.

You have so much passion. Why did you choose to work in insurance?

I grew up in not the greatest of circumstances. There was a point where, because of a lack of insurance, we were left in a really bad spot. And I promised myself I would do whatever I can do protect other people from that same outcome.

Would you say that is your guiding business principle?

At the core of everything we do, we want to help, educate, and protect people. As insurance and financial services professionals, we have the power to truly change the trajectory of people’s lives and I take that seriously.

Wow. That is powerful. So what is your vision for the future?

For Patrick and myself, I am excited about the future and having a family. We didn’t grow up with a lot yet we have an opportunity to create a better life for future generations. Professionally, I want to transcend being an insurance agent and become a trusted advisor to my clients, a first go-to for the client. And pour that goodwill back into the community.

What advice do you have for young LGBTQ+ Black men?

Please understand there is no limit, there is no box for you. Whatever dream you have, focus on that like a laser beam. Just put one foot in front of another and amazing things will happen.

Thank you so much Demetrike

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