Gay Dad Life

Alone Together? Raising Children When the Relationship Ends

For decades, gay men who split pretty much just split. There weren’t all those legal hassles to deal with and there certainly weren’t any children. Times have changed, in case you haven’t noticed, and gay men with kids are learning how to get along after the relationships end. We spoke with three couples who have dissolved their partnerships, but kept up the relationships for some very important reasons. Let’s hear it for the kids.

When David Met Bob

For David and Bob, a funny thing happened on the way to family bliss. David, 54, and Bob, 52, met online and fell in love, and David uprooted his North Carolina world to Seattle, to live with Bob and Bob’s two adopted sons. Bob shared custody with his ex. And Bob’s ex had a new partner, and all four men would soon live a few houses away.

Sound like trouble a-brewin’? Hardly. With parenthood comes responsibility, and these four men learned how to make what could have been a difficult situation into a family values plan.

While Bob and his ex are, admittedly, no longer close, they share mutual respect. “We have the same circle of friends,” he says. “We go to the same events, same parties, and everything is really cordial. There are no remotely harsh words or anything. But we wouldn’t hang out were it not for the kids.”

The kids, of course, are what matters. Their custody agreement means the boys move houses every Thursday, and the distance is short in more ways than one.

“If the kids are affected, it creates a really bad situation, not healthy at all,” says Bob. “It didn’t matter what our personal feelings were.”

For David, Bob’s priorities were a deal maker. “That was one of the characteristics of Bob that I was attracted to,” he says. “They had put their difference aside and showed such a level of maturity, how they acted as co-parents.”

Today, Bob and David and ex and ex’s new partner, have done something unique: Essentially, they have given their children four dads, all of whom have equal say, in an environment that looks to the present and the future, not the past.

“We all have an equal voice,” says David, a man who entered what could have been a very volatile situation, but sounds more like a guy who just got free tickets to Disney World. “That goes for everything. With school, we all go together as a group. Same with parent conferences.”

David adds that the kids are lucky because “they have both worlds. They have four different adults with four different views of the world.”

New York State of Child

Ralph, and Joe, both 50, adopted their son 15 years ago when they lived in Manhattan. They never made their partnership legal, and they ended the relationship six years later, when their son was nine. The split was not pretty, and there was a point where Ralph contemplated suing for sole custody.

“We hated each other, plain and simple,” says Ralph, who even fled to California for a year. “I just wanted to get away. Joe and I alternated having our son six months at a time, plus back and forth on vacations, but it was a horrible strain on everyone.”

After fighting constantly over custody times, they decided on a smarter path.

“We decided that, screw it, we had to get along,” says Ralph. “Even though we were separated, we went to a couple's counselor to figure out how to cope. Had our son not been in the picture, we just would have left each other’s lives for good. But that was not an option. Now we alternate weeks with our son, no exceptions. And we alternate holidays.”

Their therapist, whom Ralph calls a “lifesaver,” provided them with rules about how to communicate, and boundaries they both needed to respect.

“I moved back to New York, which was part of the deal,” says Ralph. “Joe and I only spoke about our child, and we only spoke to each other in a good frame of mine. Once we got over our own garbage we realized how much we both loved talking about our child and everything that’s happening with him.”

Since Ralph and Joe’s breakup involved infidelity, they opted not to visit each other’s home, hang out together, or talk about new relationships unless necessary. The result?

“We get along great,” says Ralph. “After awhile you only care about what’s important—in this case that’s our son.”

Civilized Unions

Jeff, 46, and Gary, 53, got married in Massachusetts, then moved to Vermont, where they had to get a Civil Union, then, seven years ago, dissolved both, and on very good terms. One more thing: They have a seven-year-old adopted daughter, and she mattered more than anything.

“He lives one town over,” says Jeff, on his ex, Gary. “We both have new partners. We each have our daughter 50 percent of the time.”

“After seven years we do so many things together,” says Jeff, adding that all four men are close. “Barbecues, parent-teacher conferences; at music concerts for our daughter there are four of us there.”

Any nasty stories of bitter gay breakups don’t apply here, and don’t even enter Jeff’s head when he speaks.

“It was amicable,” says Jeff of the breakup. “We decided we’d be better off as friends.”

Like David and Bob, Jeff says his daughter gains from the extra parental figures. “She really gets something from each of us. One dad might be outdoorsy, one better at hair, one at nature. On vacation we took her to the Bahamas. Her other dads will take her fishing. She makes four Father’s Day cards. She loves everyone.”

Once again, perspective is key. “Gay men can be very selfish,” says Jeff. “Being self-absorbed, going to Provincetown, having a gym body. Having kids puts that stuff on the back burner. You’re seeing life through her eyes, and we want to be good role models. We’re still a family even if we’re not long-term soul mates.”

Jeff says there are no grudges, no hard feelings, no fights. Just, what he thinks, is a happy child.

“I always say I want her to be president someday because she’s going to have a great story to tell, about having four dads."

Show Comments ()
Gay Uncles

Gay Uncles are an Essential Part of This Gay Dad Family's Village

It takes a village to raise a child, and this village includes many gay uncles

In November last year, Ottawa-based husbands Matt Ottaviani and Rej Gareau (whose story we shared in July) became first-time dads through surrogacy. They were overjoyed to welcome their daughter Andy and become a family of three.

But as many of us know, raising a child isn't always just about the nuclear family. The African proverb "it takes a village to raise a child" is a commonly repeated phrase, and rings very true for many families. Matt and Rej are no different, and when they shared their story last month, one thing jumped out to us: the important role Andy's guncles play in her and her dads' lives.

In honor of Gay Uncles Day today, we reached out to Andy's many guncles to learn first-hand how their relationship with the family affects their lives. Here's what they had to say.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Need a Sitter for Your Kids? Gays With Kids Reviews UrbanSitter

Back-to-school is already here for some of us, and if you're looking for a sitter to help out with school runs, after-school pick-ups, and the occasional date night, check out our review of UrbanSitter.

Instagram @davidcblacker

We moved from New York to Boston the summer of 2017. Along with the Manhattan skyline, our beloved Broadway, and late-night cookie deliveries, we also left behind our sitters — two sisters who had become more like family.

After settling for several months into our new home and neighborhood, we realized we hadn't had a dads' night out since our move. Our kids were still too young to leave alone at night, so I began what I presumed would be the tedious task of finding a sitter.

The first thing I did was to leave a post on our local parents' Facebook group. The dad of one of our daughters' classmates told me about UrbanSitter, a website and mobile app that he'd had success using to find last-minute sitters a few times. He also mentioned that within the app, I could see see babysitters and nannies recommended by parents at our kids' school in addition to local parenting groups.

While I appreciated the tip, I let him know that I was really hoping for a direct referral. But when none others came from the — other than a couple of middle schoolers looking for their first sitting jobs — I decided to give it a try.

Keep reading... Show less

Move over Modern Family, there are some new gay dads taking over the small screen! Big Bad Boo Studios is bringing their animated series The Bravest Knight to Hulu. The series is based upon a children's book called "The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived" by Daniel Errico, and it follows the life of Sir Cedric - now grown and married to Prince Andrew - as he regales their adopted daughter Nia with tales of his knighthood journey as she trains to become a knight herself.

"We are so excited about The Bravest Knight, its values and our partnership with Hulu," said Shabnam Rezaei, the director of the series and co-founder of Big Bad Boo Studios. "They understand how to push the envelope with authentic storytelling."

"I immediately fell in love with the idea of a girl wanting to work hard and make something of herself," Rezaei continued. "I also have a nephew who has two dads, so it's a very personal issue for me. I want him to have role models when he's watching TV. I want him to feel like having two dads is completely normal. That's what this show is going to do for him."

Errico's book was first realized as an animation when Hulu created a short film based upon his writing and were interested in exploring the concept of a full series. "I watched the eight minutes on Hulu and at the end the prince and the knight get married and I was in tears," says Rezaei. Rezaei then stepped in to create all new art work including new character design by Tim Linklater and backgrounds by Sarita Kolhatra. Together, they created a kickass bible and pitched the series to Hulu and were successful.

Diversity and inclusivity is celebrated throughout The Bravest Knight, reflected by its casting choices. Nia is played by Storm Reid, from "A Wrinkle in Time," and her dads Sir Cedric and Prince Andrew are voiced by T.R. Knight and Wilson Cruz respectively. The star studded cast also includes Wanda Sykes, Bobby Moynihan, RuPaul, Steven Weber, Teri Polo, AJ McLean, Jazz Jennings, Maz Jobrani and Christine Baranski as the formidable Red Dragon.

"With so many wonderful stories yet to be told, we hope that The Bravest Knight stands as an example of the undeniable strength in inclusivity, and the inherent joy in all forms of love and identity," said Errico, the author of the original book.

The first 5 episodes were released on June 21, and there are 8 more planned for release before the end of the year. Be sure to tune in!

This is the Main Title Song for Big Bad Boo's Hulu Original Series "The Bravest Knight". The song is performed by Justin Tranter and composed by Michael Plow...


Utah Court Rules Gay Couples Can't Be Excluded From Surrogacy Contracts

The Utah Supreme Court found in favor of a gay couple attempting to enter into a surrogacy contract.


Earlier this month, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that a same-sex couples can't be excluded from entering into enforceable surrogacy contracts, and sent a case concerning a gay male couple back to trial court to approve their petition for a surrogacy arrangement.

As reported in Gay City News, the case concerns Utah's 2005 law on surrogacy, which was enacted prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state. As a result, the content of the law is gendered, saying that surrogacy contracts should only be enforceable if the "intended mother" is unable to bear a child. When a gay couple approached District Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox to enter into a surrogacy arrangement, he denied them, arguing that the state's law only concerned opposite sex couples.

"This opinion is an important contribution to the growing body of cases adopting a broad construction of the precedent created by Obergefell v. Hodges and the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Pavan v. Smith," according to GCN. "It's also worth noting that same-sex couples in Utah now enjoy a right denied them here in New York, where compensated gestational surrogacy contracts remain illegal for all couples."

Read the full article here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Thoughts and Prayers Aren't Working:​ One Father's Plea for Gun Reform

One gay dad's plea to our leaders to enact sensible gun control

My articles on GaysWithKids aspire to be lighthearted, helpful and humorous. This one won't be any of those things. Because I'm feeling heavyhearted, helpless and sad. Last week I woke up to news of yet another mass shooting. This time at a family-friendly Garlic Festival in northern California. I don't know if it's because this one hit so close to home, or if it's because the headline included a picture of the innocent 6-year old who was among those killed, but I am overcome with emotion. But mostly I am angry. And I don't know what to do with my anger.

Then, just a few days later came two additional horrific mass shootings that stole the lives of at least 32 more innocent people, many of them children. And then there's the "everyday" gun violence that plagues American cities like Chicago, where guns injured another 46 people this past weekend alone… creating so much turmoil, a hospital had to briefly stop taking patients.

How does one verbalize the collective sadness felt around the world? One can't. And that's why I am asking everyone reading this article to commit to getting involved in some way, to help end this epidemic once and for all. Even though the solution is so obvious, we can't allow ourselves to become numb to mass shootings. Because becoming numb isn't going to save anyone.

Keep reading... Show less

Gay Russian Dads Forced to Flee Moscow

Fearing the Russian government might take their adopted kids into custody because of their sexual orientation, Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev fled Moscow

A married couple in Russia, with two adopted children, were just forced the flee their home in Moscow for fear that the authorities would take their children away, according to German news site Deutsche Welle.

Trouble started last month after investigators in Russia opened a criminal inquiry into the proceedings that had allowed the gay couple, Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, to legally adopt the two boys —adoption by LGBTQ people in Russia has typically not been recognized. The government became aware of the adoption proceedings after the gay couple brought their 12-year-old son to the hospital, who was complaining of a stomachache. The boy was fine, but after he mentioned offhand that he was adopted and lived with two fathers, the doctor called the police.

Andrei and Yevgeny granted an interview with Deutsche Welle after escaping Moscow, but on the advice of their lawyers have yet to disclose where they are currently located. Here is a quick recap of that conversation:

"In connection with the 'propaganda of non-traditional values,' the state representatives are accused of having neglected their duty of supervision," Andrei said, when asked to explain on what basis the Russian government might take his children into custody. "This means that lesbian couples could even have their biological children taken away because, through their lifestyle choices, they propagate "certain values."

Yevgeny also explained the events that led to the couple's harrowing escape "I was alone in Moscow at that time. A week after Andrei and the children had left the country, there was a knock on my door, but nobody called 'police, open up.' After half an hour the violent knocking stopped. My parents' home was searched. They were looking for the children and our Danish marriage certificate because we got married in Denmark in 2016. My friends then got me out of the country."

Read the full interview here.

Gay Dad Family Stories

This Couple is Using 'Wheel of Fortune' Winnings to Help Fund Their Adoption

Need to raise money for your adoption fund? Why not try your luck on Wheel of Fortune like these guys!

Doug and Nick Roberts connected three and a half years ago via a dating app, and on their first date, the two immediately felt a connection. Doug, a psychologist, and Nick, a neuroscientist, were married 18 months later. Today the couple live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and they're ready to start their next exciting adventure together: fatherhood.

The husbands would like to have children, and Nick has always wanted to adopt. "We considered surrogacy, and may consider it in the future as we expand our family," said Doug, "but right now, it is cost-prohibitive. Adoption was easily the right choice for us as we begin to grow our family.

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