Personal Essays by Gay Dads

6 Tips for a Fun, Family-Friendly and Fabulous Pride Experience!

A gay dad shares some of his newfound appreciation for gay pride after attending his first ever pride event

A couple of weeks ago I did something that I never thought I'd do.

I watched “Fox & Friends."

Come on, you know me better than that.

I attended my very first Pride event.


We were invited to join a group of other LA-area gay dads to proudly represent Gays With Kids by riding through the Long Beach Pride Parade in beautiful GWK-branded convertibles.

When another gay dad reached out to me to ask if we'd be interested in joining, I was honored. I asked our son Max if that sounded like fun. I had him at convertible. Then, after I accepted, the panic set in. I had never been to a pride event before. So I didn't know what to expect. More importantly, I wasn't sure it would be an appropriate venue to take our seven-year-old son, Max.

I feared we might encounter hateful protestors. And if so, how would that affect Max?

I've always admired what Pride stood for — a safe place where men and women from all walks of life could stand united to show the power of their love. Despite centuries of suppression, Pride acts as an important reminder that we belong and that we don't have to be ashamed of who we are. On one level, I very much wanted to use Pride as a way to reassure Max once again that our family is just as special, important and celebrated as all the other types of families in the world, but on the other hand, I was terrified by my own preconceived notions of what happens at Gay Pride.

At the risk of sounding like Judge Judy – I have a slight bias against those who perform graphic, lewd acts in public. Showing a little skin? Go for it –– like Madonna said, express yourself. Having full-on sex on the sidewalk? That's a different story. That's not something I want my kid to see. Some of the uninhibited Pride images I've seen captured in broad daylight disturb me, let alone an impressionable seven-year-old. I feel like those images continue to perpetuate negative stereotypes about our community. That said, I'm am by no means the morality police and I refuse to let a few vulgar people negate all the positivity that Pride brings. And so I decided it was finally time for me to stop judging a book by its cover and see for myself what Pride is really like.

What I discovered was an overwhelming sense of love, acceptance and belonging. I expected to feel supported. But the part I didn't expect — and what affected me the most — was having so many older gay men and women thanking me and my husband, Alex, for being gay dads and setting a great example for the next generation of LGBTQ individuals. I never thought doing something that seemed so regular to us would have such a profound impact on the very same people who've paved the way for us to be able to live our lives openly, freely and honestly. We are a family because of the earlier generation of gay men and women who refused to be silenced. And seeing so many of these people mouth the words “thank you" as we drove by gave me a profound sense of serenity and fulfillment.

Max took in the festivities with a huge glittering smile stamped across his face. Yes, there were a few R-Rated exhibitionists showing off a little too much bod, and yes there were a few scary protestors spouting highly inappropriate, hateful rhetoric from loudspeakers. But these are opportunities to teach Max. As much as we'd like to, we can't shelter our kids from everything we'd rather they don't see. It's up to us as parents to prepare Max for these very real, be it uncomfortable, parts of life when you grow up as a minority. When Max asked why those men were saying such horrible things, we explained that some people don't support families like ours. He, of course, was sad and confused. Then we told him to look out there at the thousands of people in the crowd who are proud of us, the ones celebrating our family, cheering us on and showering us with so much love and acceptance today. Those people far outnumber the bigots.

At the end of the day, I was reminded how necessary and crucial Gay Pride is for my family, and for countless others. At its core, Pride is about not being ashamed of who you are. And that is a powerful message to give my son –– and an important reminder for me. Pride welcomes and accepts to ALL gay people — and that includes me. So why should I have the right to pre-judge people that don't sit in judgment of me. I don't. And that's what attending Gay Pride for the first time taught me.

So whether you're a Pride-regular or a Pride-first-timer, here are some useful tips to help you and your family brave the exciting, unpredictable and unforgettable experience that is Pride.

1. GO IN WITH AN OPEN MIND

Pride is about freedom of expression. That means — spoiler alert — you're likely to see some scantily clad people shaking their moneymakers. Be the eyes and ears for your children. If there's something you don't want them to see, distract them. Have them look away for a moment — trust me, there's no shortage of other more entertaining things to look out.

2. COME PREPARED

Usually Pride parades take place in metropolitan areas where there are plenty of businesses and restaurants open to the public. But just to be safe, pack plenty of snacks, sunscreen and water. If you've got young children, consider bringing a stroller or wagon because carrying them or making them walk themselves might prove tiresome real quick. Also, if it's super sunny and hot, consider bringing an umbrella (a rainbow one, at that). Lastly, just so you don't lose your spot during bathroom breaks, set up camp near a restroom (but not too close… for obvious reasons).

3. TALK ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PRIDE

You know why Pride is important to you, but your children or your straight ally friends may not. Before you arrive, explain what Pride means to you and why it's important to celebrate the LGBTQ community. It'll give them a newfound appreciation for why you're there and give deeper meaning to what they're about to experience.

4. MAKE IT FUN FOR EVERYONE

Yes, there will be plenty of teaching moments, but this should be a fun day out for everyone. Stop at the dollar store on the way and stock up on colorful beaded necklaces, bandanas, funny hats, temporary tattoos and little gift bags so the young ones can collect stickers and other treasures they might find at Pride.

5. LEAVE THE CAR AT HOME

Parades in big cities can mean lots of traffic jams and minimal parking. So give yourself plenty of time to get there. And if you happen to live close enough to walk, or have easy access to public transportation, I say leave the car at home. Otherwise, it could be a very frustrating start to what should otherwise be a happy and carefree day.

6. TOO LOUD; NEVER TOO PROUD.

As fun as Pride parades can be, they can also be super loud! If you're bringing babies with you, consider bringing something to protect their little, sensitive ears, like comfy earmuffs or padded headphones. For everyone else, do your research ahead of time and figure out where the less crazy-busy areas will be (there are often designated quiet and alcohol-free zones for families).

Show Comments ()
Change the World

In the Philly Area? Attend 'Family Pride' On October 5th!

Philadelphia Family Pride is hosting their 10th Annual "Family Matters" Conference on October 5th for LGBTQ parents, prospective parents, and their kids!

Guest post by Stephanie Haynes, the executive director of Philadelphia Family Pride

On Saturday, October 5, 2019, Philadelphia Family Pride will hold their 10th Annual Family Matters Conference from 9am to 3:30pm for LGBTQ parents, prospective parents and their kids of all ages at the University of the Sciences in West Philadelphia. The theme this year is "Telling Our Stories." Registration is now open!

In an interactive keynote, Anndee Hochman, author of the Philadelphia Inquirer's weekly "Parent Trip" column, will share highlights from her work as a journalist and memoirist. She'll invite conversation about the stories that shape us—what tales do we share? who does the telling? who is left out?—and how those stories, added up, are changing the world. Read her bio.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

How Canada's 'Gay Dollar' Helped This Gay Man Reflect on His Biggest Regret—Not Having Kids

Canada unveiled a 'gay dollar' coin earlier this year, helping Gregory Walters reflect on the progress the LGBTQ community has made—and his decision to forgo having children children

Earlier this year, Canada unveiled a rainbow-stripped coin dollar to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country's decision to decriminalize homosexuality. With the coins now firmly in circulation, Gregory Walters, who lives in Vancouver, wrote a moving essay for the Globe and Mail, expressing joy for how far Canada has come on the issue of gay rights, but how the coin is also a symbolic representation of the "greatest regret" of his life—his decision not to adopt children.

Gregory writes that he had hoped to adopt a child ever since his early career working with persons with developmental disabilities. "Several children I worked with were wards of the State of Texas," he wrote. "Their parents having relinquished all rights either owing to egregious acts of abuse or a lack of desire to raise someone with so many needs. There were days when I felt, 'If I could just take you home and raise you.' I knew there was a need for adopting persons with special needs but my own internalized homophobia got in the way yet again. Despite what is probably my own gift in working with children, I never felt worthy enough to be a parent. I always felt that if I were a gay dad it would create more of a liability for the child."

Gregory decision to forgo having children, he says, is his "greatest regret." While he takes responsibility for some of this decision, he also adds: "society's view of homosexuals and its opinions regarding gay adoptions also played a major part."

To critics of Canada's coin, some of who have said its a cheap political pander to the LGBTQ community, Gregory concludes with this thought:

"I don't care if the indulged majority who never had to question marriage or raising children or being secure in a job may feel the coin is frivolous. The coin isn't for them in the first place. It's an acknowledgment for those of us who repressed our true selves and felt oppressed. It is for gays who never lived to see rights and protections enshrined in law. It is for younger LGBTQ people to learn more about how far we've come and to gain a deeper sense of gay pride. For these reasons, the coin has value so much greater than any monetary designation. The coin represents both empowerment and normalization."

Read Gregory's full essay here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

5 Reasons Why We Love Gays With Kids!

Our longtime blogger Erik Alexander breaks down five reasons he loves Gays With Kids to celebrate our 5th birthday!

Photo Credit: BSA Photography

In the divisive and polarizing environment that gay dads live in today, what would we do without Gays With Kids? Honestly.
Just think about it. GWK gives the gay dads of America and across the world an outlet to feel a sense of belonging and inclusion that, for many, is difficult to find. Furthermore, GWK is primarily about us—gay dads.

With that being said, this is GWK's 5th anniversary! So how better to show my appreciation than to list My 5 reasons Why: We Love Gays With Kids!

Keep reading... Show less
Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Newly Out Gay Dad Feels 'Demoted' After Divorce

Cameron Call showed up to his first family Thanksgiving since coming out and getting a divorce — and struggles to find himself "stuck with the singles."

Cameron Call, who came out in summer 2019, has generously agreed to chronicle his coming out journey for Gays With Kids over the next several months — the highs, lows and everything in between. Read his first article here.

Denial is an interesting thing. It's easy to think you're potentially above it, avoiding it, assume it doesn't apply to you because you'd NEVER do that, or maybe you're just simply avoiding it altogether. After finally coming out, I liked to think that I was done denying anything from now on. But unfortunately that's not the case.

And this fact became very clear to me over Thanksgiving.

Keep reading... Show less
Resources

New Report Details the 'Price of Parenthood' for LGBTQ People

A new report by the Family Equality Council takes a deep dive into the current state of cost for becoming a parent as an LGBTQ person

Parenthood is expensive. But parenthood while queer is still prohibitively costly for so many segments of the LGBTQ community interested in pursuing a family, according to a new repot by the Family Equality Council, titled, "Building LGBTQ+ Families: The Price of Parenthood."

Among the more interesting findings was this one: the cost of family planning is relatively similar for all LGBTQ people, regardless of income level. This shows "that the desire to have children exists regardless of financial security," the report's authors conclude.

Research for the report was conducted through an online survey of 500 LGBTQ adults over the age of 18, and was conducted between July 11-18, 2018. For comparison, the survey also included 1,004 adults who did not identify as LGBTQ.

Other interesting findings of the report include:

  • 29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, and error associated with question-wording and response options.29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Regardless of annual household income, 45-53% of LGBTQ+ millennials are planning to become parents for the first time or add another child to their family. Those making less than $25,000 a year are considering becoming parents at very similar rates as those making over $100,000.
  • Data from the Family Building Survey reveals that LGBTQ+ households making over $100,000 annually are considering the full range of paths to parenthood, from surrogacy and private adoption to foster care and IVF. The most popular options under consideration in this income bracket are private adoption (74% are considering), foster care (42%), and IVF or reciprocal IVF (21%). At the other end of the economic spectrum, for LGBTQ+ individuals in households making less than $25,000 annually, the most commonly considered paths to parenthood are intercourse (35% are considering), foster care (30%), and adoption (23%).

What to Buy

A Gift Guide for LGBTQ Inclusive Children's Books

Need some ideas for good LGBTQ-inclusive children's books? Look no further than our gift guide!

Every year we see more books released that feature our families, and we're here for it! We're especially excited for the day when diverse and LGBTQ+ inclusive books are less of "the odd one out" and rather considered part of every kids' everyday literacy.

To help us reach that day, we need to keep supporting our community and allies who write these stories. So here's a list of some of the great books that need to be in your library, and gifts to the other kids in your lives.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Broadway Performer's Surrogacy Journey Briefly Sidetracked — for One Very 'Wicked' Reason

"Broadway Husbands" Stephen and Bret explain the exciting reasons they had to hit pause on their surrogacy journey — but don't worry, they're back on track!

In the latest video of the Broadway Husbands sharing their path to fatherhood, Stephen and Bret explain their hiatus for the past 4 months. The couple have big news to share including a relocation, a job announcement, and the fact that they're getting ready to restart their journey (which they had to take a brief pause from since September).

Watch their video to find out their latest news.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse