Gay Dad Life

Best Diaper Bags for Dapper Dads

We asked our readers - and one very stylish mom with two sons under four - for their favorite diaper bags for new dads.


For dads-to-be, buying a diaper bag can feel like a monumental purchase: one of the first signs of impending fatherhood. Our readers told us that dads are looking for a diaper bags that's easy to carry but easy enough on the eyes too. Many of you said you're looking to carry just the basics in your diaper bag. A few dads told us they didn't want anything that looked too much like a purse. Gays With Kids reader John told us he fit everything he needed in a simple camera case.

Kevin recommends the backpacks from Dad Gear ($99). Made in America, we like the quick-access compartment for wipes. Apparently Ashton Kutcher used a Dad Gear diaper bag too.

We'd never heard of the Mission Critical brand before, so thanks for the intro Keith. Their backpack ($150) is on the larger side so it could the best diaper bag for families with twins or for larger trips.

Now for something completely different! Jordan and his husband use this leather tote style diaper bag from Matt and Nat ($195) . "It looks like a nice, proper bag, that you can take with you even when you're dressed up. . .Has enough room for everything you need, but isn't so large that it gets filled with junk," Jordan explained.

William gave a shout-out to his trim Mummy Backpack in basic black ($68.99). It locks bottles upright in a secure position - big plus as new dads on the go will quickly discover. The name "mummy" is frustrating - why are they ignoring half their market?

This is "the best doesn't-really-look-like-a-diaper-bag diaper bag around" according to Kevin. The Shoulder Messenger Bag from Diaper Dudes is $54.95 on Amazon.

 

Our stylish mom friend? As many of you suggested, she uses a backpack that isn't really made to be a diaper bag at all. This is the Kanken from Swedish brand Fjallraven ($80). It comes in a rainbow of color choices and multiple sizes too.

We also heard that dads look to Herschel, Eastpak and Brooklyn-based brand State for diaper bags and diaper backpacks.

One finale note from you guys about diaper bags that really made our day:  Joe wanted to make sure his daughters felt comfortable. He told us: "We knew our adopted daughters loved 'My Little Pony' so went with the large back pack." Sometimes dads can be magic!

Thanks for the diaper bag suggestions and stories over on our Facebook page. Keep them coming!

 

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Change the World

Ricky Martin's Kids Design Shirt to Help Victims of Hurricane Maria

Ricky Martin's latest project is aiming to raise funds for Puerto Rico by selling t-shirts designed by his twins, Matteo and Valentino.

Since Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria last year, Ricky Martin has been at the forefront of relief efforts, traveling frequently to his home island to help rebuild houses, raise money, and increase awareness of the continuing struggle there.

Earlier this month, the gay dad of two announced his most recent effort to support the cause, a campaign called "De mi familia a tu familia" (From my family to your family). The project is aiming to raise funds for Puerto Rico by selling t-shirts designed by his twins, Matteo and Valentino.

On the anniversary of the hurricane, the singer took to twitter, writing: "this is stronger than me. I could not wait another day. A year later, we FOLLOW #Allin4PR. The number of deaths after hurricane Maria was high, but the spirit of my people is UNBREAKABLE."

He continued, writing: "As we continue to strengthen hearts and demand hope, we still need your help. Therefore, from my family to yours, I share with you a symbol of hope, our beautiful flag, painted by my children. All proceeds from the limited edition of this shirt help the Ricky Martin Foundation continue to provide sustenance – not only in the reconstruction of homes in Loíza, but for emotional healing and social transformation."

To support the cause by buying the shirt made by Ricky Martin's kids, follow this link.

Gay Dad Life

Dads, What's the Ickiest Thing You've Had to Do as a Parent?

Our latest "Hey Dads, Gay Dads!" video features fun sentences like, "And then he threw up in my face..." and "he pooped in the back of my car, and I didn't have enough wipes...."

From poop explosions and throw-up, to getting creative with the clean-up, we've experienced our fair share of gross. Watch these gay dads recount some of their "ickiest" moments. What's yours?


Gay Dad Family Stories

They Met at NYE Party in 2012. Now, They're Married and About to Be Dads Via Adoption

Mike and Charlie are thrilled to be on the waiting list to become dads through adoption.

Nestled in the sand on a beach in Maui, newlyweds Mike and Charlie Erwin began to discuss the future, and more importantly, when they were going to grow their family. It was 2016, and the couple were on their honeymoon. They met in 2012 at a New Year's Eve party when Charlie fixed Mike's bow tie. "We were total strangers," said Charlie, "but he was lopsided; it was adorable." But back to the beach. It was on the sandy shore that they decided to be married for two years before beginning their road to fatherhood.

It'll be two years to the day on October 8, and they're already on their way to becoming dads through adoption.

Keep reading... Show less
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One Surrogate's Experience Carrying Twins for Gay and HIV+ Intended Parents

Checking the "yes" box to serve as a surrogate in the Special Program for Assisted Reproduction (SPAR) program, she says, was one of the most rewarding decisions she's ever made

Photo credit: Cassandra Photo

In partnership with Circle Surrogacy. Written by a Circle surrogate who carried twins for an international gay couple in the SPAR program.

The word serendipity is such a magical word, and one that's rarely used. But so far, it's the best word I can think of to describe my surrogacy experience, carrying twins for a gay HIV positive couple in the SPAR program.

I came to surrogacy because I have been drawn to help others my whole life. Because of a medical condition, my sister is unable to have her own children. I witnessed first-hand the painful questions young women are asked all too often: "When are you going to have kids?" Hearing my sister reply, "I won't be" helped shape me into who I am today, and my decision to become a surrogate.

I was looking for something exceptional in my surrogacy, but I didn't know exactly what that was. When I applied to be a surrogate, I had never thought of all the different walks of life waiting and hoping for someone to come along and help create a family for them.

Saying "yes" to the Special Program for Assisted Reproduction (SPAR).

During the application process I was asked if I would consider carrying a baby for intended parents in SPAR. I initially checked off the "NO" box; originally, I wasn't interested in working with someone in the SPAR program who was HIV+. Honestly, I did not fully understand what I read about it, and it seemed complicated and frightening. Checking off "No" seemed easier. But I sat there for a moment, trying to open up my mind. I thought to myself, 'What's the harm in checking "Yes" and getting more information?' Becoming a surrogate was going to be the biggest learning experience of my life, and I wanted to be all in! I changed my answer to "Yes," which I now feel was serendipity.

Soon after submitting my application, I received my first intended parent profile almost immediately. I was so excited I could burst! There were names and faces behind all this paperwork—an international gay couple in the SPAR program. Wow!

Their pictures were happy and handsome. At first, I felt a little overwhelmed. For some reason I expected a cookie-cutter heterosexual couple from Iowa or another U.S. state. My husband and I discussed the couple's profile extensively.

I had so much going through my head. What if these intended parents got sick from HIV and were not able to take care of their babies? I wondered what their lives looked like day to day, what medications they were taking, and their overall health. Most of these questions came from my lack of knowledge of HIV, and the advancements that have been made over the past few decades. So I did more research.

My husband and I learned that men in the SPAR program must be actively treating their HIV. My IPs were just as "healthy" as anyone else I could carry for. We also spoke with Dr. Kiessling about the science behind the program, and how it has been made possible that a man can be a bio dad without passing on HIV to the carrier of the baby. Dr. Kiessling explained the process of making all of this possible and safe; she is an expert in her field and has devoted her life to this research and development. With that knowledge, I felt completely comfortable that I was not at risk.

When we Skyped with our intended parents, I never once thought about SPAR or HIV. These two men were intriguing. It came down to the fact that I felt that they should have the same right as anyone else to experience parenthood. Both my husband and I knew they were the right match for us. From then on, I can honestly say joining SPAR became a non-issue for me.

SPAR didn't define the dads, parenthood did.

During my journey, I only shared with my husband and a few close friends of mine that my intended parents were HIV positive. After I first met my intended parents, I really never thought about it. I did not want HIV to define them. I wanted to get to know them as soon-to-be dads. I wanted them to have a surrogacy experience just as anyone else would. This is the most exciting time of their lives and one of the most exciting times of mine! I did not feel like it was my business to share personal information about my IPs to others. No one else goes around introducing people as a medical diagnosis so why should they be treated that way? We just felt joy!

While I never focused on the fact that my IPs were HIV+, I felt more connected to them because they were in the SPAR program. I knew they didn't have the same number of gestational carrier match options that gay men who weren't part of the SPAR program had. It felt even more gratifying for me to be able to be the person who helped make their dreams come true.

Love is love.

I wholeheartedly believe that checking the "Yes" box was a defining moment in my life. I expanded my mind to something so pure and brand new. The concept, however, was one that was very familiar to me: Love is love, and everyone deserves to have their wildest dreams come true. These two men who walked into my life now have two flawless, healthy baby boys and will forever be a family.

I still keep in touch with the dads, and they send me photos and updates of the babies. Even though I carried their babies, I'm the one who is grateful that they came into our lives. I learned so much on my surrogacy journey, and grew as a person, and I have them to thank.

***

If you'd like more information on Circle's SPAR program, please visit our page on SPAR parenting






.

Change the World

Jared Polis on Track to Be Nation's First Gay Male (and Gay Dad!) Governor in Colorado

Jared Polis is leading his Republican challenger by comfortable margins according to recent polls

Openly gay Congressman Jared Polis, the Democratic nominee for Governor in Colorado, is currently leading in the polls against his Republican Challenger, Walker Stapleton. Polis shook up the Governor's race last summer in Colorado by throwing his hat into the ring for the Democratic primary. If elected, the dad of two would become the nation's first openly gay male Governor. (Kate Brown, the openly bisexual Governor of Oregon, is the only member of the LGBTQ community to win election to a state's highest Executive office in the country.)

Polis, who was first elected to represent Colorado's Second Congressional District in 2008 and serves as co-chairman of the LGBT Equality Caucus, is no stranger to making history. In 2011, when he and his partner Marlon Reis announced the birth of their son, Caspian Julius, Polis became the first openly gay parent to serve in the United States Congress. The couple welcomed a daughter, named Cora, in 2014.

Despite making history in this way, Polis and his husband have thus far kept private about their family, declining to state publicly whether their children were adopted or born via surrogacy.

Polis, who already beat out a crowded field of fellow Democrats vying for the state's top position, was seen as a strong contended as soon as he entered the race. He has been among the state's more popular Representatives, consistently winning reelection with comfortable margins. Also, thanks to several successful internet ventures prior to his turn as a public servant, he is one of the top 10 wealthiest members of Congress, meaning he's had plenty of cash on hand for his campaign.

Change the World

In a First, Two Male Mice Make Offspring Without Female DNA

Thanks to advances in gene editing and stem cells, scientists in China helped two male mice create offspring together, without any female DNA.

Thanks to advances in gene editing and stem cells, scientists in China helped two male mice create offspring together, without any female DNA. The feat had already been accomplished with two female mice, but this latest advancement marks the first time two male mice have created offspring that were carried to full term.

This marks a major advancement, but it's not time to start lining up at your local fertility clinic just yet, guys: while the mice pups born from two females were healthy, and were even able to conceive their own offspring, those born to two male pups died shortly after their birth.

A recent article in National Geographic helps explain why the feat is more difficult with makes. One of the main barriers is due to a process called "imprinting," during the development of sperm and eggs, when "tags" attach to our chromosomes. In mammals, these tags vary by sex.

"For female mouse pairs, they had to delete three locations to get healthy young," according to the article. "For male mouse pairs, they had to snip seven regions."

For the female pups, snipping just these three regions allowed the pups to grow at a normal rate. Snipping the seven regions in males allows the babies to develop to full term, but it is not enough, yet, to allow the offspring to live much past birth.

An additional barrier: to make an individual, you have to have an egg. "Males don't have eggs," a developmental biologist helpfully points out in the piece.

Read the full article here.

Change the World

Australian Politician Gives Impassioned Defense of Gay Men's Access to Altruistic Surrogacy

A new bill passed by the Western Australian Legislative Assembly aims to make it legal for gay men and couples to use "altruistic" surrogacy to start their families.

This month, the Western Australian Legislative Assembly passed a bill to allow single men and gay couples to access "altruistic surrogacy" to start their families. Previously, only single women, lesbian couples and heterosexual couples were allowed to pursue surrogacy arrangements. (Read more about different types of surrogacy arrangements.)

The legislation passed after a long and at times heated debate, during which John Carey, one of three out gay members of the parliament, made an impassioned defense of gay men's ability to access altruistic surrogacy as a means to start their families.

"I came into politics to believe in the best of people, to appeal to the best our our humanity, to show greater kindness, to understand that despite our differences there is much that brings us together," Carey said at the beginning of the debate, according to Out in Perth, which reported on the proceedings. "This is why I proudly stand here today as a member of parliament, and to support progressive change, to support that humanity in our community.

Carey stressed that children being raised by LGBTQ people, "are loved. They are respected. They are supported in their aspirations and their dreams. They go to school, they visit school, they to to playgroups and they mix with they peers, and they are all raised by same-sex parents, and many of them male couples."

Allowing gay men to access altruistic surrogacy was a substantive win for the local LGBTQ community, which also recently saw gay marriage legalized. But it is also, as Carey noted in his speech, a symbolic one. "Every bit of reform which tackles discrimination, which removes those barriers is critically important," he said. "It's not just for those same-sex couples who want to have a child, but also for all those young generations who will see another part of discrimination dismantled from our legislation."

Read Carey's full defense of the bill, which will next be read and debated in the Legislative Council, here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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