TOP - Change the World

A Gay Dad's Message from the Heart to his Facebook Friends

A Facebook message from the heart by gay dad Michael Anderson as he reflects on the outcome of the election and what it may mean for his family and loved ones.

Bear with me. Here’s my only political post for the year: To my friends who voted for Trump, I get it. Really, honestly I do. I’m all about change and flushing our stagnant government system. It needs it.

Unfortunately, and as I’m sure you know, many groups of Americans feel there are serious consequences for them with this particular president-elect and his vice president-elect. It’s easy to get caught up in our lives and our problems and not worry about the lives of people who don’t seem relatable to us. We are all guilty of this. I am guilty of this.

But I am from one of these concerned groups, and you know me. You might even like me. And I’m always impressed when people from my past who I’ve made the mistake of assuming they wouldn’t be accepting make even the simplest of gestures by “liking” a photo of my family on Facebook. It’s meaningful. You see that my family is just like yours or the other families in your life.

We have our ups and downs like you do and make tough choices so that we can give our kid the best life possible. My life with my family is more than what 14-year-old me could have ever hoped for and it’s amazing to feel supported. There is also security in knowing that we are married in the eyes of the law and that the government sees our kid’s adoption and our family as protected and legitimate.

But I suddenly don’t feel secure anymore. Vice president-elect Pence has an extensive anti-gay record from supporting gay conversion therapy on kids that literally includes trying to (but failing to) electro-shock the gay out, to signing legislation in his state in 2013 to jail any same-sex couple who attempted to get a marriage certificate. All of the progress that we have made that gives my family a sense of belonging and security is very likely to be erased.

But worse than that for me is this: I’ve always known that there are plenty of crazy people out there who would hurt me just for who I am, or hurt my family for who we are, but I have always felt this sense of protection, that there is this greater good around us, and a government that in the end would protect me even in the days when they didn’t agree with me.

But suddenly that is gone. I’m scared that there are people out there who feel empowered because our president-elect has not distanced himself from the KKK and other hate groups. Without condemnation comes permission, and I honestly don’t feel like government under this administration would do much to protect me. I’m scared for the future. I’m scared for me, I’m scared for my family, and more than anything I’m scared for my multiracial daughter who isn’t old enough yet to understand that people are out there who will hurt her or demean her simply for the color of her skin or because she is female.

I love my country and I want us all to come together and make the most of this new direction for our nation, but I’m counting on you when it gets rough. I want you to think about me and my family and how it affects other people like us when our rights and protections get taken away. And my real hope is that we can all think beyond the bubbles we live in and about every group in our country that is frightened, including so many who have so much more reason to be worried than I do.

People aren’t whining about losing; they are deeply mourning the loss of hope that they too can feel included and be happy in America, the land of the free.

Thanks for hearing me out.

Editor's note: Gay dads, please read After the Election: Where Do We Go From Here? to learn how you can help make a difference now!

Show Comments ()

First, their birth photo went viral as a positive symbol of gay parenthood. Now, it's making the rounds for a different reason: Gays with Kids contributors BJ Barone and Frankie Nelson recently learned conservative activists have used their photo to fight against gay family rights for months.

Irish political candidate Mary Fitzgibbon, whose Twitter posts consist almost entirely of Frankie and BJ's touching birth photos, gory fetus photos and more gory fetus photos, believes gay surrogacy "robs" children of motherly love.

It's not the first time the couple has heard those arguments; they received plenty of negative comments when their photo went viral in 2014. But then, they were so overwhelmed by well-wishes from around the world — coupled with the sleepless delirium of parenting a newborn.

"It was very emotional and heartening to know that there's a lot of people out there who support you and support us and they just want the best," BJ says.

This is different.

"It's kind of shocking," BJ says. "They were using our photo to prove how disgusting that was and how wrong this is."

Italy's long-awaited gay marriage vote has stalled because it would expand gay adoption rights, thereby easing the surrogacy process. The Catholic church has strongly opposed the bill despite overwhelming public support of gay marriage.

In Ireland, a gay marriage law passed in 2015, with adoption and surrogacy again a heated topic. In both countries, polling showed the public still mostly opposed to same-sex adoption.

Photographer Linsday Foster has spoken out against Fitzgibbon's use of her photo and says Fitzgibbon also used the image in 2015 to oppose Ireland's gay marriage referendum.

Foster says when she confronted Fitzgibbon online, she replied that the photo had been co-opted by activists in Italy long before she used it.

"That was her response," she says. "Like I've singled her out."

Just like for Frank and BJ, illegal use isn't the only thing that's incensed Foster: "My work is being misrepresented for something I don't believe in."

Frank and BJ remain optimistic that their powerful photo will have positive effects even when used as a tool for hate.

"Even though it's now being used in negative ways, it's also bringing awareness, right?" BJ says. "A lot of people who might not understand [surrogacy] may look into it again."

Yesterday, BJ looked at the photo for the first time. Like, really looked at it.

"It's overwhelming to me. Now that Milo is 19 months, it's so interesting to look at his face," he says. So much has changed since he was a slime-covered newborn, the umbilical cord still attached when the photo was snapped.

"And I'm so happy that Milo is ours." That, he says, Fitzgibbon cannot ruin. "Milo is one of the happiest and healthiest little boys we know. Frank and I look at Milo and are so lucky that he is our son. We are doing our all to give him the best life possible."

To speak out against illegal and hateful use of their family's photo, Frankie and BJ ask that you share your own beautiful family photos with @MaryFitzgibbon on Twitter (or via email at maryfitzgibbon2016@gmail.com) using the hashtag #wearefamily.

If you'd like to see more beautiful tender photos of gay dads and their kids, check out the photos in Tender Moments: The Best Instagram Photos of Gay Dads Cuddling and Sleeping With Their Kids

American Girl dolls have, for decades, been young girls' most fiercely coveted toy, its catalogue pored over and the impeccably curated tiny scenes memorized by heart.

Keep reading... Show less
Expert Advice

How to Get Your Little Ones to Eat (and Enjoy!) Their Vegetables

Meet David and Danny fathers and founders of Kekoa Foods sharing some tips on how to keep your little ones eating their healthy vegetables during the hecticness of the holidays.


Watch:

Tip Number 1 – Try to prepare your own meals with fresh ingredients. Doing so gives you better control over the amount of sugar, sodium and cholesterol you and your family consume.

Tip Number 2 – Experiment in your kitchen with herbs and spices you haven't used before. Some items we've added in recent years include cumin, tarragon, curry, turmeric and ginger. Start slowly, though, you can always add more next time.

Tip Number 3 – Use veggies instead of pasta to get more veggies in your diet. We like spaghetti squash, zucchini and beets for this purpose and toss them with our favorite sauce.

Tip Number 4 – Instead of adding cream to veggie dishes to get your kids to eat them, sprinkle them with just a touch of parmesan cheese and add fresh lemon juice. It enhances flavor without adding a significant amount of cholesterol or fat.

Sponsored

A 'Men Having Babies' Conference Started These Happy New Dads on Their Path to Parenthood

In the Bay Area? Sign up now for the next Men Having Babies Conference taking place this January 12-13!

Last year, after 12 years together, Jimmy Nguyen and Michael Duque were finally ready to become dads. And so in 2017 they began their journey to fatherhood. Little did they know how quickly that would become a reality. What began with a serendipitous sighting of an ad for an upcoming Men Having Babies conference resulted in the joyous birth of their son in October 2018. Here's their story.

Keep reading... Show less
Surrogacy for Gay Men

Understanding the Legal Process of Gay Surrogacy

Next up on the Daddy Squared podcast! Yan and Alex talk with a fertility lawyer, Richard Vaughn, about the legal elements of the IVF process

When thinking about having kids via surrogacy, the legal part is just as important as the IVF process itself. Making sure that the agreements with the surrogate and the egg donor are set up properly is a solid base for the whole process itself. And then there are issues like legal guardianship and birth certificates that are also crucial for finishing the process with babies that are completely, legally yours. We turned to Fertility Lawyer and gay dad Richard Vaughn of International Fertility Law Group, to set the record straight about the legal steps that must be taken when having babies through IVF.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

Rebel Dad: 1st Gay Canadian to Adopt Internationally Writes New Memoir

David McKinstry set a legal precedent in 1997. A few years later, with his second husband, Michael, he did so again when they became the first gay Canadian couple to co-adopt children.

Excerpt #1 – From Chapter 1: The Search (1793 Words)

As the first openly gay Canadian man approved to adopt internationally, David McKinstry set a legal precedent in 1997. A few years later, with his second husband, Michael, he did so again when they became the first gay Canadian couple to co-adopt children.

The following is an excerpt from the first chapter of his new book Rebel Dad: Triumphing Over Bureaucracy to Adopt to Orphans Born Worlds Apart. Here, it's 1998 and David finds himself in India. While in India, David visits several orphanages with his guide, Vinod, on his quest to adopt. With Indian adoption officials being extremely homophobic at the time, David could not reveal that he was a gay man.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

FOLLOW OUR FAMILIES

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse