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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!

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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

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Breaking with Older Generations,  Most LGBTQ Millenials Say They Want Kids

According to new research by the Family Equality Council, the number of LGBTQ parents is expected to rise dramatically in the coming years

According to the LGBTQ Family Building Survey, recently released by the Family Equality Council, the majority of young LGBTQ say they are interested in becoming parent. This marks a dramatic shift when compared with the attitudes of older generations.

Among the survey's findings:

  • 63% of LGBTQ Millennials (aged 18-35) are considering expanding their families, either becoming parents for the first time, or by having more children
  • 48% of LGBTQ Millennials are actively planning to grow their families, compared to 55% of non-LGBTQ Millennials, a gap that has narrowed significantly in comparison to older generations
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The Family Equality Council goes on to recommend that family building providers "from reproductive endocrinologists and obstetricians to neonatal social workers, family law practitioners, and child welfare workers" begin preparing now to welcome future LGBTQ parents.

Read the full report here.

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Gay Dads More 'Equitable' in Parenting Roles Than Straight Dads, Says New Study

Unmoored by gender roles, gay dads take equal parts in being "playmates, caregivers, protectors, role models, morality guides,

A new study 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'.

'We learned that gay fathers' sharing of tasks is very equitable,' the researcher told the Montreal Gazette, who added there was a "high degree of engagement" by both gay dads in all types of parental roles. "What's really interesting is that they don't conform to roles of conventional fathers. They were able to redefine and propose new models of cultural notions of paternity and masculinity."

Unmoored by gender roles, gay dads take equal parts in being "playmates, caregivers, protectors, role models, morality guides,' the author said.

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After a homophobic encounter on the subway, BJ questions what the right response is, in an era of increasing vocal rightwing activists

On February 1, 2019, Frank and I went out on a date night, something we haven't done in a while. Our son was sleeping over at his grandparents for the night and we made plans with our friends to meet them for dinner downtown. We decided to save some money and take the subway into town instead of taking a taxi.

We boarded the subway and sat down opposite a couple, a man and woman. I noticed they looked at us as we boarded the train and began whispering to each other. Frank and I were talking to each other when I heard the man uttering under his breath, "F*$%ing faggots."

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