Gay Dad Life

A Beauty Queen is Born

A few weeks ago I entered my six-month-old in a country beauty pageant. I’ve always been curious about the pageant scene and thought that while she still won’t have a memory of the experience, why not try it. I’d hate to traumatize her with flashbacks of little girls crying on stage, watching creepy dance routines, and worst of all, losing. My fears were unfounded: we ended the day with a sash and tiara.


More than one person I talked with about the pageant voiced concerns about taking my black baby with gay dads to a Midwestern rural town for competition. While I understand prejudice runs rampant in many areas, would we really experience discrimination at a beauty pageant? Doesn’t the gay mafia run them? It was something I had never thought about. But our admission fee was paid, and we were going to sashay down the runway come hate or high water.

The pageant was a scene right out of Toddlers and Tiaras. Little girls pranced about in vibrantly colored, way too expensive dresses, sipping pixie sticks, and waiting for show time. We sat in the corner, in our $5 eBay dress, sizing up the competition. As the 0 to 23 month age group took to the stage, white girls in full glitz surrounded my black baby in her second-hand party dress. Aside from one other baby, all the other girls could walk. As their names were called, and the spotlight shone on each girl, they began to run away, cry, or stand sheepishly, staring out at the crowd. My daughter smiled.

We didn’t enter all the categories within the pageant. Something didn’t feel right about the swimsuit category. So we were automatically out of the running for the grand prize. At crowning, when they announce the winners, categories came and went. And we remained seated. Then it happened. We won the beauty category for our age group. We got a trophy, a sash, and a tiara. My baby couldn't have cared less. I was thrilled.

The overall pageant winner was the only other black girl in the competition. After announcing our win to friends and family, it was an apparent consensus my daughter won because they were looking for something exotic. Exotic? Suddenly fears of discrimination from a racist crowd and hostile judging panel vanished, replaced instead with confidence a rural pageant would reward a unique beauty in a sea of similar.

I’m a white guy (in a relationship with another white guy) raising a black baby. And while I’ve thought casually about how race has played and will play a role in our daughter’s upbringing, so far I’ve only dealt first-hand with the fact while learning about hair care products. It didn’t cross my mind that exposing her to social settings could have a negative impact on her. Sitting here typing, I realize I’ve been naïve.

I’m glad we entered the pageant; happy we won and happy the concerns of our friends and family came to naught. I’m also happy we went because those conversations were had. Whether I was just clueless or filled with Opie Taylor optimism, the world is indeed a tough place. And while I’ll shield my daughter from it for as long as possible, it means I have to be aware of it myself.

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Gay Dad Life

'NolaPapa' Launches YouTube Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

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Sending Nola love to each of ya!

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"Dad," Jonathan said. "Would you just get out of the house and go on a date already?" (You may remember wise-beyond-his-years Jonathan from this post that went viral of a tattoo he got commemorating his adoption day.)

On his son's encouragement, Richard started dipping a tentative toe back into the dating pool. In 2015, he met Kevin thanks to mutual friends that introduced them via social media. It took four months before Richard introduced Kevin to his son, who was a Sophomore in high school at the time.

On New Year's Eve in 2017, Kevin proposed while the couple was vacationing in Palm Springs. The city has an outdoor festival every year, he explained, which the couple attended. The band Plain White T's happened to be performing their hit "Hey There Delilah" as Kevin got down on one knee and proposed. "Now whenever I hear that song it brings back memories of that night," Richard said.

Richard and Kevin married on March 30, 2019 back at the scene of the crime — in Palm Springs, at the Frederick Loewe Estate. Jonathan was Richard's best man, and also walked him down the aisle (awwww.....). Kevin's brother Bobby served as his best man.

"As so many wonderful moments continue to happen for us in Palm Springs, we now own a home there in addition to our primary residence in Bentonville, Arkansas," said Richard.

Check out video from the couple's special day below!


And Jonathan is now an E4 Master-at-Arms in the US Navy.

Gay Uncles

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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.

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We all have THAT photo: the one taken moments after we become fathers for the first time. For some of us, we're doing "skin to skin" in a delivery room. For others, we're standing proudly alongside our newly adopted child and judge in a courtroom. However or wherever it happens, though, we make sure to snap a picture of it.

But what about that last photo BEFORE you first became a dad? What does that image look like, we wondered? Well, we asked our Instagram community to dig through through phones and find out. Some of us are enjoying a last carefree meal or glass of wine, others of us are captured nervously contemplating our futures. Whatever it is, we've decided these BEFORE pictures are just as meaningful.

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Who would make for the best marathon training partner for an overweight, overly boozed 27-year-old woman? A gay dad, of course!

The pairing, for any gay man who has been subjected to impossible beauty standards (not unlike... literally all women?) makes a bit too much sense after watching the new Sundance film, "Brittany Runs a Marathon," starring SNL writer Jillian Bell (as the 27-year-old) and Micah Stock as the (somewhat *ahem* older) gay dad.

Based on a true story, the film follows Brittany, an overweight and over-boozed 20-something, trying to clean up her act by training for the New York City marathon — while doing so, she meets Seth (the gay dad), and the two begin to train together, along with Brittany's neighbor Catherine. Each has their own motivation for running: getting one's live together, recovering from a messy divorce, or an attempt to impress one's athletic son. (Which is the gay dad? Guess you'll have to watch to find out!)

We won't give too much more away, apart from saying that the trio — based off of actual people and events — really works. It's the feel good film you're waiting to see.

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Your 15 Most Common Questions About Adoption, Answered by an Expert

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As part of our new "Ask an Expert" series on Instagram, our community of dads and dads-to-be sent us their questions on adoption in the United States. Molly Rampe Thomas, founder of Choice Network, answered them.

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Popular

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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