Gay Dad Life

A Security Blanket for Gay Dad Families

“Where are the reindeer?”

This was the kitchen greeting from my son Jason, 2. It was my birthday morning and he knew there would be cake. But he had confused the two holidays.

“Where’s Santa?”

“Sweetie, it’s just Daddy’s birthday,” I said, picking him up.

“It’s not Christmas, Jason,” said my son, Keith, who at 5 years old needs to have all the answers at all times. “Christmas is in December.”

Jason put both hands on my cheeks to draw our faces together, a new trick he has to make me look him in the eye when he really wants something.

“Presents?” he asked, in his sweetest voice. “Presents?”

We have Christmas fever here already, which means we are again reading “A Charlie Brown Christmas." It’s a roller coaster for me. I cringe at Charlie’s cockeyed optimism about that little tree, and the utter defeat in his very shoulders when Lucy demands, “Can’t you even tell a good tree from a poor tree?”

I soldier on in the reading, though, the only catch in my voice coming when Linus wraps his precious security blanket around the tree’s base. I read Linus’ words to the boys and widening my eyes in my patented you-are-the-freaking-grown-up-do-not-cry manner. “It’s not bad at all, really,” Linus says. “It just needs a little love.”

Who among us hasn’t needed a little love? As gay dads, we mostly grew up being told that we are the poor tree. Recent years have made me feel cozy, a national recognition of my marriage cradling me in Linus’ warm blanket. “You’re not bad at all, really,” said my government. And now we face the uncertainty of this new president-elect, flanked by a vice president who said that being gay is a choice. Vice President-elect Mike Pence has even placed the world’s ills at our feet, saying, “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.”

When I came out to my dad, this is what he feared. I told him on July 4, 1995, while I was home from sophomore year of college. When I started the conversation, Dad was sorting through a kitchen junk drawer. Small tasks like these, bringing order to chaos, mattered to him.

He asked repeatedly if I was sure, and told me I was choosing a difficult life. He was not the 1990s version of a Pence guy by any means, but at that point he did see a choice, even if it was simply choosing to live openly and to commit to a gay identity. Dad died in 2000, proud of me but still fearing that my life would be difficult.

I thought about Dad when I woke up at dawn and checked my phone for election results. For me, the world was again the scary one he envisioned all those years ago, and I worried about the parents of gay and trans kids out there. The ones who want to encourage their kids to be themselves, but feel the fear about them drawing too much attention to themselves. I thought of my friends raising black children. The parents who, white or black, struggle with the pyrotechnic acrobatics of telling their kids to be subservient in order to survive police encounters while also saying they are as just good as anyone else.

But life calls, and that Wednesday morning we had a parent-teacher conference for our 2-year-old. It is a good school, but the owner is the type who spends the appointment explaining how great she is. As the meeting wrapped up, she went off her script.

“I want to tell you that you are doing a great job,” she started to say.

Now, my husband and I have heard this since we started out as parents. It’s always phrased as such: “A great job.” It’s not about us, it’s about us being two dudes and the low expectations for fathers. It’s said in a condescending way, but there are worse things to hear so we always nod and smile.

But this was different.

“Because you didn’t have to do this,” she continued. “I know you could be out there, you know, having a party.” And reader, she raised two fists to her shoulders and shimmied, a parody of how she imagined gay men naturally spend their time. Dancing, and, as she said, partying.

My husband and I cocked our heads at her, likely looking like two dogs who couldn’t possibly comprehend this foolish human.

“And instead you took in these boys…”

“THANKYOUFORYOURTIME,” I said, getting up to go.

My husband and I talked about it on the corner. We decided it was just idiocy, but it felt all of a piece. Our hopes about a Democrat winning lay in ruins, and here’s our son’s teacher telling us she knows our natural tendency is not to be nurturing. This is the deal: You say whatever comes to mind or heart, the consequences of how it make people feel be damned. Whatever, we decided, not a fight worth having.

I felt the eyes of passersby as I quickly kissed my husband goodbye. He was off to the office in his work as an adoption and surrogacy lawyer. His first worried call from a potential client came at 9:30 on the dot. It was a lesbian mom asking how to protect her relationship with their child during a Trump administration. Hers was the first of many calls and emails that my husband received that week from concerned parents. What can I do, each asked him in one way or another, to protect my kid?

The judging Lucy Van Pelts are everywhere, leaving us to just have to work harder to be the Linuses of the world, providing each other with comfort and solutions. I wish I could wrap an America-sized security blanket around you and your family today.

Show Comments ()
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
Gay Dad Life

Top 10 Reasons You Should Date a Gay Dad

Jay Turner lays out the top 10 reasons you should consider dating a single gay dad

We're gay dads. Many of us were married to women, and for various reasons we eventually found ourselves single and looking for companionship from another man. Life is a little more complicated for us because we have kids. But that shouldn't deter you from seeking a relationship with a gay dad. In fact, there are many reasons why we make better partners than men without children. We are generally more mature, responsible, and emotionally available. We are also better communicators.

Here are the top ten reasons why you should date a gay dad:

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Karamo Brown Co-Writes Children's Book with Son, Jason

The 'Queer Eye' star and his son named the story on a family mantra: You are Perfectly Designed

When his sons, Jason and Chris, were young, "Queer Eye" Star Karamo Brown repeated the same saying to them: "You are perfectly designed."

That mantra is now a Children's Book, cowritten by Karamo and his 22-year-old son, Jason, who used to come how and "say things like, 'I don't want to be me, I wish I was someone else, I wish I had a different life." As a parent, that "broke my heart," Karamo told Yahoo! Lifestyle. "I would say to him, 'You are blessed and you are perfect just the way you are,' as a reminder that you have been given so much and you should be appreciative and know that you're enough — I know that the world will try to tear you down, but if you can say to yourself, 'I am perfectly designed,' maybe it can quiet out some of those negative messages."

The illustrations, by Anoosha Syed, also make a point of displaying families of a variety of races and sexual orientations throughout the book.

Read more about Karamo's fascinating path to becoming a gay dad here, and then check out the video below that delves deeper into the inspiration behind "You Are Perfectly Designed," available on Amazon.

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

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 Family Stories

These Gay Dads Lost Everything After Hurricane Dorian — Except Hope

The couple, who live in "Hope Town" in the Bahamas, lost everything after suffering a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian this past summer.

Max Bethel-Jones, 52, had traveled to more than 120 countries over the last 30 years working with the United Nations, but had never been to the Bahamas — in 2015, he decided to apply for a private teaching job as a special needs teacher in Freeport on the island of Grand Bahama.

Just weeks after his arrival, he'd get a whole lot more than another pin in his map of visited countries when he attended a social event at Freeport Rugby. "My object was to ogle the local male talent but several women had other ideas," he said. One woman was particularly insistent, he said, but after a couple of drinks she got the hint that he batted for the other rugby team. "She promptly told me there was someone I should meet."

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