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10 Moments That Defined 2019 for Gay Dads

We've had successes, setbacks, and everything in between this year — here are our top 10 moments that defined the news for gay dads in 2019.

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Whatever your thoughts on 2019, it certainly hasn't been a boring year for gay, bi and trans dads — this year was chockfull of news relevant to gay men who are fathers. We've had important successes and setback. We've been overjoyed, incensed and entertained. See below for our roundup of 10 important moments that defined the news for gay dads this year.


#1. Gay Dads Featured on Cover of Parents Magazine for First Time

In a first, fitness guru Shaun T. and his husband Scott Blokker were the first gay dads to be featured on the cover of Parents Magazine in January 2019. At the time, our blogger Jim Jospeh wrote what the event meant to him, as a gay father: "I don't want to get overly dramatic here, but this is a milestone," he wrote. "A massive cultural milestone."

Read the article here!

#2. Yet ANOTHER Study Finds Gay Dads Are Amazing Parents 

In February of this year, yet ANOTHER study confirmed that LGBTQ make amazing parents — not that we needed to be told that again. But this study went further in some previous ones in its scale and scope. It was conducted by Éric Feugé from the Université du Québec à Montréal observed 46 families, made up of 92 gay dads and their 46 children over a period of seven years.

The study, which Feugé says is the first of its kind, analyzed the roles gay dads take in raising their kids and found the way they parent is 'very equitable'.

Read the article here!

#3. Ricky Martin and Andy Cohen had babies!

Early in January, both Ricky Martin and Andy Cohen shared exciting news via Instagram! And Lance Bass announced plans to pursue surrogacy with his husband.

Read the story here!

#4. New York Tried — and Failed — to End the State's Ban on Surrogacy 

New York is one of two states (the other being Michigan) that doesn't permit some form of compensated surrogacy. This past year, however, New York legislators launched a focused campaign to finally legalize the practice after Democrats in the state took control of the Legislature after the 2018 elections. Despite a slew of other progressive priorities being enacted in the state, a surrogacy bill, advanced by New York State Senator Brad Hoylman — who is himself a gay dad through surrogacy — failed after coming frustratingly close to passage.

Read our stories about the bill here:

Governor Cuomo Proposes Ending Ban on Surrogacy in New York

New York: It's Time to Legalize Ethical Surrogacy

Surrogate Pens Powerful Op-Ed, Urging New York Legislators to Legalize the Practice

#5. The Mormon Church Reversed Controversial Policy Banning Children of LGBTQ Parents From Baptisms

In November 2015, the Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) announced a new policy decision that shocked many in their community: not only would same-sex married couples be considered "apostates," but even their children would be barred from receiving church blessing and baptisms.

The move was immediately met with backlash. Some allies resigned from the church in protest. Others stood by the church's decision, creating chasms within families. According to the Salt Lake Tribute, some even committed suicide. Fortunately — after pressure from advocates and a huge backlash from within their own community — the church reverse course this year, in April of this year.

Read more here and then read responses from gay dads with experience in the Mormon church here.

#6. Pete and Chasten Buttigieg Say They Hope to Have Children "Soon"

Who would have thought at the beginning of the year that Pete Buttigieg — the 37 year-old gay mayor of the fourth largest city in Indiana — would become a front runner for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States? But that's another thing that happened this year. And the ascendent political start also announced that he and his husband, Chasten, just might be moving in to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave with a baby carriage in tow.

Read the article here!

#7. Trump Administration Announces Plans to Allow Discrimination Against LGBTQ Adoptive and Foster Parents 

President Trump's Department of Health and Human Services announced in June of this year that it was preparing to issue a rule that would allow state-funded child welfare agencies to legally discriminate against same-sex couples. The rule would apply nationwide, depriving some of the over 440,000 children currently in the foster care system in the United States the opportunity to find loving homes with LGBTQ parents.

Read more about this story, which is still unfolding, here:

ACLU Sues Trump Administration Over Plans to Discriminate Against LGBTQ Adoptive Families

Trump Administration to Allow Discrimination Against LGBTQ Foster and Adoptive Parents

New York Will Fight 'Repugnant' Trump Rule on Adoption, Says Cuomo

A Gay Dad Speaks Out Against Trump's Attempts to Discriminate Against LGBTQ Adoptive Parents

#8. Gay Penguins Strike Again!

First, there was Roy and Silo — the two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that served as inspiration for the famous children's book And Tango Makes Three. Then Magin Sphen got together in Sydney, where aquarium keepers gave the cocks (Calm down, that's what a male penguin is called!) a foster egg to care for.

And this year, we welcomed Skipper and Ping in Berlin to the latest list of gay dad penguins! As soon as the two emperor penguins arrived at the city's zoo, they set about trying to start a family, said Berlin Zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaege to DPA news.

Read more here!

#9. One of the First Positive Images of Gay Dads in the Media Came to Light

For LGBTQ History Month in October, the online magazine LGBTQ Nation ran tidbits of history all month long. For one post, they dug up the above image — which they claim is the first, published in a mainstream media outlet, to show gay parents depicted in a positive light.

Read more about this amazing shot here.

#10. World's First Sperm Bank Opened for HIV Positive Donors

In December of 2019, a new sperm bank launched, called Sperm Positive, on World Aids Day. The effort was spearhaded by three non-profits as a way to fight stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood. For years, scientists have known that those living with an undetectable level of HIV in their blood thanks to antiretroviral treatments can't transmit the virus through sex or childbirth. Yet discrimination and stigma persists.

"Our donors have so much to give," say the promotional materials of a new sperm bank. "But they can't give you HIV."

Read more here.

And here's to more of this kind of news in 2020, please and thank you!

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News

Gay Dads Show Up at Boston Event to Drown Out Anti-Trans Protesters

When Trystan Reese found out protesters were planning to show up to an event in Boston he was presenting at, he put out a call to his community for help — and gay dads showed up.

A couple months ago, Trystan Reese, a gay, trans dad based in Portland, Oregon, took to Instagram to share a moving, if incredibly concerning, experience. Reese, who works with Family Equality Council, was speaking at an event in Boston, and learned before his appearance that a group of protesters were planning to attend.

"As a trans person, I was terrified to be targeted by anti-LGBTQ people and experienced genuine fear for my own safety," Trystan wrote. In response, he did what many LGBTQ people would do in a similar situation — reach out to his community in Boston, and ask for their support. "And they came," he wrote. But it wasn't just anyone within the LGBTQ community that came to his defense, he emphasized — "you know who came? Gay men. Gay dads, to be exact. They came, ready to block people from coming in, ready to call building security, ready to protect me so I could lead my event. They did it without question and without reward. They did it because it was the right thing to do."

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Gay Dads Tell Us Their Parenting Goals for 2020

Some are hoping to expand their families — others are hoping to keep the members they already have alive!

We asked our community on Instagram what their parenting goals were for 2020. Here are some of their responses.

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10 Ways Gay Dads Inspired Us in 2019

No two gay parents have the same family creation story, but they still have one thing in common — they inspire us.

Every week, we bring you the stories of gay men and their families. While no two of these stories are the same, one thing they have in common is this — they inspire us. Check out 10 (out of the MANY!) ways gay dads moved us in 2019!

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As a Gay Dad, What's the Impact of Letting My Son Perform Drag?

Michael Duncan was excited when his 10-year-old son asked if he could perform in drag for charity — but he also felt fear and anxiety.

As LGBT parents, we have all lived through some sort of trauma in our lives. For many it is the rejection of our family, being bullied, or abuse. We learn to be vigilant of our surroundings and often are very cautious of who we trust. As adults, we start to become watchful of how much we share and we look for "red flags" around every corner.

So, what effect does this have on our children? Does it unintentionally cause us to be more jaded with our interactions involving others? For some the answer may be a resounding "no." But as we look deeper into the situation, we often find that through survival our interactions with others have changed and we may not even realize exactly how much we are projecting on those around us.

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A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

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A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

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This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

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