Fun

A Happy Gay Uncles Day to Us All

Last year, on August 14, the Internet lit up with the hashtag #GayUnclesDay, accompanied by countless adorable pictures of gay men beaming for the camera alongside their nieces and nephews. This year we're hoping to make Gay Uncles Day even bigger and better. So get in on the fun by telling the best gay uncle you know to send us their pics posing with their nieces and nephews to dads@gayswithkids.com for our latest photo essay.


As one would expect with any LGBTQ-themed holiday, last year others used the hashtag as an excuse to throw some social media sass:

"Not one tweet from my nephews or nieces on #GayUnclesDay," one Twitter user bemoaned of the non-existent holiday. "Cut them out of my will. The cash is going to a home for retired circus hamsters."

The social media sensation was all in good fun, of course, and I'm supportive of any holiday that leads Olympic bobsledder Simon Dunn to post this picture on his Instagram, but it's worth noting that not every gay uncle felt celebrated that day:

"If only I was allowed to have a relationship with my either of my sister's kids," said Tristan Michel Sauvageau, a gay man with a large list of friends on Facebook. "I bet it's nice being a gay uncle. I guess I'll never know."

For many gay men, National Gay Uncles Day was just another silly social media antic. But for others like Tristan, the hashtag contained a message that was at best aspirational and at worst a reminder of how far we have yet to go.

"I am not allowed in [my sister's] home," Tristan said when I contacted him via Facebook to ask him about the recent hashtag trend. "And have only met two of the three children. So whenever I see any holidays pertaining to 'family' I am filled with resentment, regret, anxiety, depression, and longing."



Looked at from this lens, it wasn't really the celebrities who joined in with a tweet or two or the funny "guncle" memes that gave #GayUnclesDay any sense of meaning. It was the straight people who chose to participate:

"Did not know #GayUnclesDay was a thing," said one user via Twitter. "It should be. My children have the best uncles."

"Happy #GayUnclesDay to my brother and his fiancé," said another on Facebook. "Connor is one lucky kid because of you two!"

For straight people, the simple act of posting the #GayUnclesDay hashtag was a sign of solidarity. Not only did it signal their willingness to celebrate the LGBTQ people in their families, but also — crucially — their openness to allowing them to carry on a meaningful relationship with their children.

That might not be so remarkable in today's world, when entire towns come together to respond to anti-LGBTQ bigotry with acts of solidarity. But it wasn't so long ago when gay men were equated with pedophilia in the minds of many of our straight family members, an association the religious right has exploited for decades to prevent LGBTQ people from becoming parents in our own right.

Visibility has gradually helped to change this and many other harmful perceptions of the LGBTQ community, and with any luck, social media campaigns like National Gay Uncles Day will help continue that trend so that some day all gay uncles can join in the fun.

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Change the World

Enter the First EVER 'Gays With Kids' Family Halloween Costume Contest!

Share your terror-ific family costume photos with us and you could win $500!

This year, we're DEAD EXCITED to be hosting our very first Halloween Family Costume competition! Every year we see the amazing costumes that our gay, bi and trans families come up with, and this year we really wanted to celebrate y'all with a fun and friendly family competition. Our amazing panel of judges (which includes comedian and fellow gay dad Alec Mapa, gay dad influencer Devon Gibby, and our co-founders Brian and Ferd!) will select the prize winners based on the following criteria: creativity, uniqueness, nerve... and overall fabulousness.

The prizes are...*drum roll please*

For first place: $500 cash prize

Two runners-up families: $250 Amazon voucher*

Competition information

Submissions must be sent to halloween@gayswithkids.com by October 31 midnight PST, along with dads' first names, Instagram handle (if you're on Instagram), and the city / state or country where they live.

Competition to be judged on November 1st, and the winners will be announced on Saturday November 2nd via Instagram and Facebook. Winners will also be notified via email and must respond within 48 hours to claim their prize.

All submitted photos will be included in our Halloween Gay Dad Family 2019 roundup

One of the runner-up families will be selected via a voting page (featuring 21 families) that we will set up on the website. When it's live on November 1st, 9am EST, we'll encourage folks to vote for their favorite family costumes! You'll have till midnight Friday PST - we know this isn't long so you'll have to act fast! - and we'll be sharing plenty of reminders via our Instagram to encourage folks to vote!

Rules for entry

Gay, bi and trans dads: Send us your favorite family photo(s) of Halloween 2019 showing each and every member of the family in costume: Dad(s) and child(ren). All those featured in the photo must be in costume, and must include at least one dad.

One entry per family, although you may submit up to 5 different photos of your family in the same costumes.

*For our overseas families: if selected as a winner, your runner-up prizes will be an alternative to the American Amazon gift voucher, but also worth US$250.

Meet the fabulous judges...

Alec Mapa

Actor, writer, comedian, and dad, Alec Mapa is America's Gaysian Sweetheart. We know him from his roles on Half & Half, Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives. He's also husband to Jamie Hebert and proud dad to son Zion, whom they adopted through foster care when he was 5 years old. Watch Alec on his hilarious comedy special "Baby Daddy" on YouTube.

Devon Gibby

Dad of two through a previous straight relationship, and Instagram Influencer @dadndaddies joins our panel of judges. We've witnessed some amazing costumes from Devon in the past so we believe he'll be bringing his A-game to selecting the best, most creative, most faaaaabulous family costumes around!

Brian Rosenberg

Co-founder of Gays With Kids, Brian is dad of three kids through adoption and surrogacy. He lives in Boston with his husband Ferd, and together they started Gays With Kids almost six years at their kitchen table. Brian is proud of and humbled by the Gays With Kids community, and is excited to throw his hat into the judging pool.

A big thank you to our amazing sponsored and supporters!

All prizes were generously donated by some incredible dads in our community, for which we are super grateful!

Gold:

Thomas and Brandon are proud dads to their two sons through adoption. They're also the co-founders of Feinsod Consulting, a Medical IT Consulting firm, located in Orlando, Florida. Their firm offers a comprehensive range of services to ensure their client's medical and healthcare practices deliver technical excellence with every patient.

Silver:

Chad Henson is a doting dad to his daughter and husband to Ray. He's also a gay father who is grateful for this community.

Brian Martinez is the proud husband to Adriian, stepdad to their daughter, and also a food and lifestyle entrepreneur based in the Bronx. His five current businesses include Fresco's Cantina, The Coffee Break Company, The Bronx Barber Shop, La Parada Pit Stop, and Travesias, all located in the Bronx, NY.

Bronze:

Rick Clemons is a dad and husband, as well as a life coach, motivational speaker, author and podcaster. His superpower is guiding men out of the closets of their life - to break free of fear, make bold moves, and live life without apology. Check out his website: Gay Mans Life Coach,

Brandon Adkins and Jamie Wince are fiancés, set to marry in 2020, and also dads to their two kids whom they had through previous relationships. They are owners of Adkins Raceway, a karting experience for everyone at every age and every skill level based in Port Washington, Ohio. Even if you're new to the sport, they offer introductory karting classes, so if you're in Ohio, go check them out!

Matthew and Ian Leprino are new dads to a baby boy, and owners of The Ridgewood Company, a Denver-area Real Estate Brokerage.


Halloween

Five Dads Who Spook the Competition Each Year With DIY Halloween Looks!

These dads are kings of DIY Halloween costumes — and the results spook (I mean speak) for themselves!

Not only do gay dads win at Halloween, we also create WINNING outfits and creations with our own hands! Check out these dads who've slayed Halloween every year with their ghoulishly imaginative skills!

Keep reading...
Fun

Gay Dad Penguins Strike Again! This Time in Berlin Zoo

The latest male penguins to care for an egg together are Skipper and Ping in the Berlin Zoo.

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 now, please welcome 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.

"They kept trying to hatch fish and stones," Jaeger said.

So the zookeepers loaned the penguins an egg from a female penguin, who is apparently uninterested in hatching eggs on her own, according to the BBC.

Unsurprisingly, the gay penguins are killing it as parents. "The two male penguins are acting like exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg," Jaeger said,

Read the whole article on DPA here.

Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

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.

Only so much growth and learning can occur when we limit ourselves to our fears. If people never did anything they were afraid to do, life would be incredibly boring and far too predictable. At some point we must face the things we fear and just go for it not knowing what will happen next.

After finally coming out to my ex-wife after ten years of marriage (see previous articles for that story), and eventually telling my family I knew there was one more step I needed to make.

I am a business owner. I am a structural chiropractor and am highly specialized in my field. Nearly four years ago I opened my own clinic, Horizon Chiropractic Center, in Phoenix, Arizona. I poured my whole heart, body, and soul into the creation of my practice and its growth. Opening a business fresh out of school is no simple task and I worked hard to build my practice with close relationships and word of mouth referrals. I established myself as an expert and built a strong reputation as a family man, and my ex-wife and kids were the face of my practice.

I loved and do love every person who has ever come into my office and treat them like family. We laugh together during visits, celebrate wins, cry together, often hug, and cheer each other on regarding various things in our life. That's also a large part of who I am: a people person. I enjoy spending quality time with those I am privileged to help. No one comes in my office and only sees me for 2-5 minutes.

Even though there was so much good that I had built into my brand and reputation fear eventually found its way into my business too. I was afraid of what would happen if people found out the truth. Would they be okay with having a gay chiropractor? Would they still trust me to be able to help them? Of course, the story in my head I was telling myself was much bigger and badder than it needed to be.

When we decided to get a divorce, I felt strongly that I needed to face these fears and begin telling a number of patients the truth of what was happening in my life. I know in reality it is no one's business but my own. However, I felt like I needed to let my patients who had become like family to me truly see me for who I am, and who I always was. And so slowly, case by case, I began to tell a select number of people.

I'll never forget the first patient I told. She had been coming in for years and was bringing her son in to see me who is on the autism spectrum. It was the day after my ex-wife and I decided to get a divorce and she could tell something heavy was on my mind. I eventually came out to her. The first words out of her mouth were "I am so proud of you!" We cried and hugged and it was the complete opposite of what I ever expected. And it was perfect. I felt loved. I felt accepted. I felt seen.

As time went on it got easier. And overall the responses were all completely positive and supportive. Out of all the patients I told and those who found out from other circles, only three stopped coming in to see me. Since coming out, my office has grown tremendously. My reputation hasn't changed. If anything, it's solidified. I can't help but think that part of that is due to finally embracing all of me and allowing others the same opportunity.

I read somewhere once that you never really stop coming out of the closet. And I've noticed that too. Sure, not everyone needs to know; it isn't everyone's business. And I hope that one day we live in a time period where fear doesn't prevent anyone from being seen. I want to contribute to the upward trajectory I think our society is headed of understanding, acceptance, support, and equality.

I would love to be able to say that after coming out publicly I no longer feel fear; but I do. And I think in some ways I always will no matter what. But that's part of life, right? Recognizing fear when we have it but then choosing to move forward out of love – love for others, but maybe more importantly love for ourselves.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

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.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Family Stories

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."

Keep reading...
Surrogacy for Gay Men

Interested in Surrogacy? Check Out These Bay Area Events This Weekend

If you're in the Bay Area this weekend, two major events are happening that will be of interest for dads-to-be and surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF)

If you're in San Francisco or the surrounding area, clear your calendar this weekend. Two events are happening simultaneously that are significant for dads-to-be AND surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF). For an outlines of both events, check out below.

Keep reading...

Fatherhood, the gay way

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