TOP - Trans Dads

Becoming Papa

For as far back as I can remember, I have wanted to be a parent. As soon as I could talk I asked for baby dolls, and then later, I asked for a baby brother. I got both. By age 5 I had the full-fledged “baby fever" that some women approaching their thirties feel. I had a special doll, Jessica, that came everywhere with me. I dressed her in my old baby clothes, I wore her in a carrier I bought at a yard sale, I took her on adventures in the woods and sat her in the basket of my bike. I remember pretending to nurse her as I had seen my mother and aunts do with their babies. I treated her like she was a real baby, like she was my baby, she was my practice for someday when I would get to have a real baby of my own. Even though I was born and raised female, I don't recall being strongly connected to the idea of pregnancy and birth, I just knew I wanted babies and imagined that someday I would probably adopt children. I wanted to start a family young and have a house full of kids.


As I grew up and went through puberty my feelings about my gender began to shift. Being a girl was fine as long as I stayed a girl, a tomboy, androgynous, ambiguous, a kid. But now I was “becoming a woman," a "young lady." The ideal repulsed me, except I didn't have words for it then, and I didn't know I had any other options. I tried to yield to it, but I never felt quite right and I began to like myself less and less. This coming of age all happened before the internet was a useful tool so the only transgender people that I ever heard of were sensationalized on trashy daytime talk shows and I knew that I didn't identify with them. The teenage years are a difficult time for everyone and I thought that the awkwardness with my body, sexuality and gender would pass. I thought that eventually I would meet the right guy and we would have a family and I wouldn't feel so anxious in my body. Little did I know that would actually happen, but I would take a very different path to get there.

As my twenties approached I had learned the word transgender and that's how I began to identify. I explored the parameters of my new gender, the kind of man I wanted to be, the kind of people I wanted to date, the kind of life I wanted to have. I settled into my identity throughout my twenties: I learned where my it was flexible and where it was not; I had relationships with both women and men but eventually was only interested in dating men. I medically transitioned by taking testosterone and having chest surgery. By my late twenties my gender wasn't on the front burner anymore, it didn't come up often and I wasn't quick to bring it up unsolicited. For all intents and purposes, I moved through the world as a queer man, and once I felt at home in my own skin, I knew I was really ready to find a partner and start a family.

When I medically transitioned, I considered that I would probably never be able to have a biological child. (That is what I had been told at the time.) It did cause me to pause and think but the idea of ever being pregnant was so far outside of my comfort zone it didn't ever seem like a plausible idea. So I forged ahead and assumed that I would take a different route to parenthood. I began exploring what adoption would require of me. I quickly learned that it would involve a lot of money and little privacy about my past and present life. While I lived comfortably, I didn't come close to having the money to cover the cost of a home study, birth mother expenses, legal fees, adoption fees, etc. Surrogacy never personally appealed to me and also can be a costly undertaking. I considered becoming a foster parent, and while fostering is something I think I could do and someday might like to do, first I wanted to have a baby that would be mine – not necessarily in the biological sense, but in the forever sense. I felt discouraged that I would never get the chance to become a Papa.

Then I started to think about the other option that I had previously discarded. I have the means to carry a child. I wasn't sure whether I would be physically be able to because of all the years I had taken testosterone, but other transmen before me had done it and they had healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. I decided to let the little seed of an idea take some time to root and grow. The idea did more than grow, it blossomed. It wasn't just a means to have a baby, but the way I really wanted to have a baby. Once I was comfortable with myself, and confidently passing as male, the idea of carrying a child began to have some appeal. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I believed that it was something I could do, and the more I considered it the more it felt like the right choice. As I turned thirty I made a deal with myself that by time I was 32, single or partnered, I would be on the path to fatherhood.

Fast forward a few years; I had been in a relationship for 2 years with my current boyfriend, we had many talks and discussions about building a family and despite our big and little fears we mostly felt excited and hopeful, so we decided to move forward. With the support of my doctor I stopped taking hormones, I got a clean bill of health, and after 10 years on hormones, my cycle started up again. (Never before had I looked forward to having a period.) We had begun to discuss the best time to start trying, and then it happened. Just two weeks after my 32nd birthday we made a baby. For nine months our little one grew, from a speck the size of a poppy seed to a fully formed baby. Somewhere in those nine months I began to appreciate my body in a way I had never been able to before – not a female body or a male body but a transgender body. A body that has the capacity to grow a beard and grow a baby. A body that, on May 20, 2014, after a long and painful but uncomplicated natural labor and delivery, finally made me a papa.

Stephen, Rowen and Josh

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The Trans Dad

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TOP - Trans Dads

Real Men Give Birth

In this first article for Gays With Kids on transgender fatherhood, journalist E.J. Graff investigates the experiences of two transdads who each carried and delivered their own child.
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Inside the Weird World of Expectations for Gay Dads

At social gatherings with other parents, Grant Minkhorst finds he's often the only father in the room

In my two months as a parent, I've had the pleasure of meeting a lot of new parents. As a gay dad, I am the one signing up for little activity groups and social gatherings with other new parents. I am often the only father in the room. I find myself trying to "fit in" by discussing all of the things that new moms talk about: nap schedules, feeding, baby gear and "that the sidewalks are too narrow!" But there are some topics of conversation to which I cannot contribute (e.g., breast feeding). As a social person, this can leave me feeling a little isolated, almost as if I exist just outside the real parenting bubble. Because being a mom is different.

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Three Eagles, Two Male one Female, Form Nontraditional Family

Three bald eagles in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge are sharing a nest and incubating eggs together

According to the Advocate, three bald eagles — two male and one female — are sharing a nest and incubating eggs together.

"Families come in all shapes and sizes, and that's true for wildlife too!" wrote the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services on Facebook. "Meet Valor I, Valor II and Starr, a breeding trio of bald eagles that live along the Mississippi River in Illinois. For several years, fans from all over the world have been watching this nontraditional family through a webcam as the eagles deal with the trials and tribulations of parenting."

The thruple came to be in unique way. "The nest was originally inhabited by Valor I and another female eagle named Hope," wrote the Advocate. "Initially, Valor I had poor parenting skills — he didn't hunt or guard the nest while Hope was away. Valor II entered the nest in 2013 to pick up the slack — and taught Valor I some parenting skills in the process. Hope left the nest in March 2017 after she was injured by other birds. But instead of going off to find new mates, the male eagles decided to stick together until Starr joined their nest in September 2017."

Though rare, this isn't the first time that a trio of eagles have come to share nests in this way. According to USA Today, other trruples were have been spotted in Alaska in 1977, in Minnesota in 1983 and in California in 1992.

Check out this family below!


Trio Eagle Cam Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge Live Stream www.youtube.com

Gay Dad Life

In the U.K.? Join These Dads at Events Supporting LGBTQ Parents!

The dads behind the blog TwoDads.U.K are ramping up their support of other LGBTQ parents. Check out these events they're a part of!

What a couple of years it's been for us! When our daughter Talulah was born via UK surrogacy back in October 2016, we decided to take to Instagram and Facebook to document the parental highs and lows. Little did we expect for it to be where it is now. We always had the ambition to help other intended fathers understand more about surrogacy, and we also had the added driver to do our best to influence others – help open some of the closed minds with regards to same-sex parenting.

Here we are now, pregnant again with our son which we revealed Live on Facebook! We're due in August, we're now writing several blogs, social media influencers and launching a new business focusing on our main mission to support others and being advocates for UK surrogacy. It's no wonder we're shattered!

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Change the World

These Guys Are Proof: Bisexual Dads Exist!

Far more LGBTQ parents fall into the "B" category than any other. Here are three of their inspiring stories.

A couple months ago, Gays With Kids received the following message via one of our social media channels:

"Hey guys, love what you do. But where are your stories about bi men who are dads? Do they not exist? I get the sense from your page that most queer dads identify as gay. I identify as bi (or pansexual) and want to become a dad one day, but just never see my story represented. Are they just not out there?"We can say with resounding certainly that YES bisexual dads absolutely exist. In fact, of all the letters in our acronym, far more LGBTQ parents fall into the "b" category than any other.

But our reader is certainly right in one respect--we don't hear the stories of bisexual/pansexual dads told nearly often enough. While we occasionally find stories to tell about bi dads, like this great one from earlier this year from a dad who just came out, we otherwise aren't often finding stories of bi dads nearly as easy as we do gay dads. We're sure this is due to any number of reasons--societal pressure to stay closeted from both the straight and LGBTQ communities along with erasure of bisexuality both come to mind.

But it's also because we haven't done the best job reaching out specifically to the bi dad community! We hope to start changing that, starting by bringing you the stories of three bid dads in our community.

(Are you a bi dad? Click here so we can help tell your story and increase exposure for the bi dad community, or drop us a line at dads@gayswithkids.com!)

James Shoemaker, bisexual dad of three, in Alton Illinois

James Shoemaker, who is 65-years-old and lives in Alton, Illinois, says he's known he was bisexual since the age of five. Still he lived what he called a "happily socially heterosexual" life throughout his adolescence, until he had his first same-sex experience in college at the age of 18-years-old.

In his 20s, he began his first same-sex relationship with a man, which lasted about five years. But soon the conversation turned towards children. James wanted his own biological children, something that would have been difficult, particularly at the time, to achieve. He and his boyfriends split, and soon after James met the woman who would become his wife. Since he had previously been in a relationship with a man, and his friends and family were aware of his sexuality, there was no hiding his bisexuality from his wife. There was no hiding my bisexuality from her

"We were both in our 30's, and both wanted kids," James said. "Wo were both kind of desperate to find a partner and she expressed that."

He and his wife proceeded to have three daughters together and lived what he called a fairly "conventional" life. "There was so much societal support [for raising a family] within conventional marriage," he said. "This was new to me, since I came out at age 17, and was used to being "different".

Being in a relationship with a woman, James said, alienated him from much of the LGBTQ activism that began to take hold in the 1980s and 1990s. "I felt I could not act as a representative for gay rights while married to a woman and raising kids with her," he said.

When his youngest daughter turned 18, he and his wife split and, and James began, once again, to date other men. Eventually, he met Paul Mutphy, who he has been dating for four years. Since reentering the world dating another man, he's had to confront, at times, people's misconceptions about his bisexuality. "It's not just gay guys looking for more social acceptance," James said, noting that "Bi rights" has not really caught the public's attention in the same way as "gay rights".

Maxwell Hosford, bi trans dad of one, in Yakima Washington


Maxwell Hosford, who lives in Yakima, Washington, came out as bisexual when he was 13-years-old. "I was still questioning myself," he said "and the term bisexual seemed to fit me."

A year later, when he was 14, Maxwell also came out as trans. "I had heard about Chaz Bono on the radio one morning before school and it got me thinking," he said. "I realized that I wasn't the only one who felt that way and that there was a term for how I've felt."

Though people often conflate sexual orientation and gender identity, Maxwell stressed that he sees his identity as trans and bisexual as perfectly natural. "I see them interacting in a way of fluidity," he said. "Not straight but not gay. Just a feeling of love."

Maxwell described his path to parenthood as a bit of an accident. "I was on testosterone for two years but had a four-week break because i was switching doctors," he said. During that break, Maxwell ended up getting pregnant, and wasn't aware of the pregnancy for several months after. "I just thought my body was just being weird from starting T again," he said. Once he took the test and saw the two pink lines, though he knew his life was about to change forever. He went to Planned Parenthood the very next day.

Being pregnant while trans, Maxwell said, was an incredible experience. "I was comfortable enough with my gender identity that I didn't have very much dysphoria," he said, though he noted he did face a lot of misgendering from strangers. "But I understood that because I did have a big ole pregnant belly," he said. He was grateful for his medical team who all referred to him according to the correct pronouns.

Soon after, his son Harrison was born. As soon as he held him in his arms, Maxwell said the entire process was worth it. "All the misgendering, all the questions and people misunderstanding doesn't matter once you have that baby in your arms nothing matters but that little bundle of joy."

Three years ago, Maxwell met his current fiancé, Chase Heiserman, via a gay dating app, and the three now live together as a family. He says he couldn't be happier, but he does face some difficulty as a bi trans man within his broader community. "In some peoples eyes my fiancé and I are a straight couple because I'm trans and he's cisgender," he said. Some of the difficulty has even stemmed from other trans men. "I've had some bad comments from other transmen regarding my pregnancy and how it doesn't make me trans," he said, noting he continues to fight the perception that he is not "trans enough" because he chose to carry his own baby.

Through it all, though, Maxwell says becoming a father has been the biggest blessing in his life. "Being able to carry my baby and bond through those nine months was amazing," he said. "I'm breastfeeding, which is hard as I'm trans, and so I'm self conscious of my large breasts now but it's such a bonding experience that it doesn't matter when I see the look of love and the comfort he gets from it."

For other gay, bi and trans men considering fatherhood, Maxwell has this simple piece of advice: "Go for it."

Michael MacDonald, bi dad of two, in Monterery California 

Michael MacDonald, who is 28-years-old and living in Monterey California, says he came out as bisexual over two years ago. He has two daughters, who are four and two-and-a-half years old, that were born while he was married to his ex-wife. "My children are amazing," he said. "They have been so incredibly strong and brave having mom in one house and dad in another."

Both children were fairly young when Michael and his ex separated, so "they didn't really break a deeply ingrained idea of what a family unit is like. They have always just sort of known that mom and dad don't live together."

Co-parenting isn't always easy, Michael said, noting it's "one of the hardest things in the world." He and his ex overcome any potential difficulty, though, by always putting the children first. "As long as they are happy, healthy and loved, that is all that matters," he said. "I'm so fortunate to have such an incredible/pain in the butt partner to help me raise these amazing little girls."

Though the separation was hard on all of them, Michael said it's also been an amazing experience watching his children's resiliency. "I am so proud of the beautiful little people they are," he said. "Their adaptability, courage and love is something really spectacular."

Since the separation, Michael hasn't been in a serious relationship, but he has dated both men and women, something he says has been "absolutely challenging. Not only does he need to overcome all the typical challenges of a newly divorced parent ("Do they like kids? Would they be a good stepparent?") but also the added stresses of being bisexual. "It can sometimes just be a bit too much for some women to handle," he said.

He has been intentional about making sure his children have known, from a young age, that "daddy likes girls and boys," he said. "They have grown up seeing me interact with people I've dated in a romantic way, like hand holding, abd expressing affection, so I think as they get older it's not something that will ever really seem foreign or different to them to see me with a man or woman," he said.

In his dates with other men, Michael says most guys tend to be surprised to learn that he has biological children. "But once I explain that I am bisexual, it's usually much more easily understood," he said. He is more irritated, though, when people question or outright refuse to recognize his bisexuality. "While I understand and have witnessed many guys who use bisexuality as a "stepping stone" of sorts when coming out," he said, it does not mean that "bisexuality is not real or valid."

As a bisexual dad, he also says he can feel isolated at times within the broader parenting community. "It can be a little intimidating feeling like you don't really belong to one side or another," he said. "There's this huge network of gay parents, and, of course straight parents. Being sort of in the middle can sometimes create a feeling of isolation"

The biggest misconception about bisexual dads who have split with their wives, he said, is that sexual orientation isn't always the reason for the separation. "When my ex wife and I separated, while my bisexuality did play a small part in it, it was not the reason we separated," he said. He added that while life might not be perfect, it's good. "My children are happy, healthy, and loved," he said. "That's really what matters the most."

Fatherhood, the gay way

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