TOP - PERSONAL ESSAYS

Boys Don't Play With Dolls

We were at the public pool and this happened: Milo saw an Ariel (The Little Mermaid) doll at the side of the pool and said, "Whoa!" He grabbed it and started to play with it. Then the mother of the little girl whom the doll belonged to said to us, "Boys don't play with dolls!"


Frank and I both said in unison, "Of course boys can play with dolls!"

Her daughter (maybe 5 years old) said to her mom, "Boys play with trucks. Girls play with dolls."

The mother said quietly to her daughter, "I know." She then asked us to leave the doll at poolside when we were done playing with it and swam off.

As Frank and I looked at each other with bewilderment, another mother with her son swam up to us to say, "Just to let you know, my son plays with dolls. That was the stupidest thing she could say!"

As much as we were astonished that the first mother actually said this to us, we were not that surprised. Gender-based toys and colours still seems to be an ongoing topic nowadays.

Just last year Target stopped gender labelling their toys. That of course had all the naysayers weighing in and voicing their opinions just how ridiculous it was. But is it really? Religious groups were calling for a boycott, asking their followers not to shop there. Now THAT is ridiculous.

Why are toys marketed toward girls in pink and mostly princesses? If a boy wants a princess doll, why is he labelled a "girl" or "gay"? Why are superheroes marketed mainly towards boys? Why is pink for girls and blue for boys?

Last year we were in a restaurant in Miami, feeding Milo from a pink bottle. A woman in her early 60's was sitting next to us. She turned to us and said, "Oh I thought your baby was a girl because he has a pink bottle!" To which Frank replied, "We don't believe pink is just for girls!"

Then she rolled her eyes so hard we thought they would get stuck in the back of her head and she turned around. There is nothing I love more than getting judged by complete strangers. (That was sarcasm by the way!)

As long as I can remember, I played Barbie with my sisters, and I also played with my Hot Wheels and He-Man figures. Although Frank used to hide his play with his sister's Barbies, times were different back then. The "Free To Be...You And Me" album and song book by Marlo Thomas just came out, and that album helped open the minds of parents that it's perfectly normal for a boy to play with a doll. In the song adaptation of "William's Doll" with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, it explains:

"Explaining, William wants a doll

So when he has a baby someday

He'll know how to dress it, put diapers on double

And gently caress it to bring up a bubble

And care for his baby as every good father

Should learn to do

William has a doll, William has a doll

'cause someday he is gonna be a father, too"

I am not quite sure why some parents are so against their boys playing with dolls, or taking dance, or even wearing pink. Do they really think this will make their son gay?

In our house there are no girly things or boy things. There aren't even mommy jobs or daddy jobs. Is it because we are a gay dad family and so of course there are no specific gender roles? Regardless of gender, in any household, the laundry needs to get washed, the dishes need to get cleaned, diapers need to get changed, the lawn needs to get mowed. My favorite question is always, "So who does the mommy stuff?" which is immediately followed up by, "Oh, I didn't mean it like that, but you know what I mean!"

Frank and I both are Milo's father, mother, playmate, disciplinarian, and caregiver. But most important of all, we are his parents. Milo will continue to wear pink, play with dolls, vacuum and clean, be a ballerina if he chooses to. He will use his imagination with whatever toy he is playing with, because a toy is a toy. He loves his little baby just as much as he loves his trains. I think people need to stop over-reacting with the whole dolls are for girls and trucks are for boys thing. Just let your kids be who they are, play with what they want to play with. In the end, they will grow up to be the persons they are meant to be.

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TOP - PERSONAL ESSAYS

When Everybody Asks a Gay Dad, “So, You’re the Mom?”

"So, you're the mom?" That's a question I get asked a lot by fellow parents, friends, family and casual acquaintances.

“So, you're the mom?" That's a question I get asked a lot by fellow parents, friends, family and casual acquaintances. I used to laugh it off as something funny, but always felt it was brash and lacked tact, frankly. I am a gay male who is also a parent to two adorable boys with another man. Does that, then, make it so one of us has to be the mother? It made me think of a few more questions I will dare to answer in this blog. Am I female? Am I trying to take a woman's place or roles? Am I trying to portray the stereotypical attributes of a motherly figure? Does society always feel the need to label or categorize?
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I've been living with HIV for close to 30 years. I don't need to wait until World AIDS Day to reflect on the tremendous impact HIV and AIDS have had on my life.

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Fun

Gay Dad Penguins Strike Again! This Time in Berlin Zoo

The latest male penguins to care for an egg together are Skipper and Ping in the Berlin Zoo.

First, there was Roy and Silo — the two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that served as inspiration for the famous children's book And Tango Makes Three. Then Magin Sphen got together in Sydney, where aquarium keepers gave the cocks (Calm down, that's what a male penguin is called!) a foster egg to care for.

And now, please welcome Skipper and Ping in Berlin to the latest list of gay dad penguins! As soon as the two emperor penguins arrived at the city's zoo, they set about trying to start a family, said Berlin Zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaege to DPA news.

"They kept trying to hatch fish and stones," Jaeger said.

So the zookeepers loaned the penguins an egg from a female penguin, who is apparently uninterested in hatching eggs on her own, according to the BBC.

Unsurprisingly, the gay penguins are killing it as parents. "The two male penguins are acting like exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg," Jaeger said,

Read the whole article on DPA here.

Change the World

Hungarian Company Raising Money for LGBTQ+ Organization with a LEGO® Heart

Startup WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is helping combat misinformation and prejudice in Central and Eastern Europe

Guest Post from WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD

WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is an innovative startup venture that sells LEGO® parts and unique creations. The core values of our company include social equality regardless of gender identity or origin. As LEGO® is a variety of colors and shapes, so are the people.

We all know that LEGO® is a brand that nearly everyone knows and likes between the age of 3 and 99 so this gives a great opportunity to connect unique LEGO® creations and Pride. We started a fundraising campaign for a Hungarian LGBTQ+ organization who's aim is to bring people closer to the LGBTQ+ community, they help to combat misinformation and prejudice regarding LGBTQ+ issues in Central- Eastern Europe since 2000.

You might know that gender equality and the circumstances of LGBTQ+ people is not the easiest in the former communist Eastern European countries like Hungary so this program is in a real need for help. For example a couple of month ago a member of the government said that homosexual people are not equal part of our society.

The essence of the campaign is when one buys a Pride Heart, a custom creation made of brand new and genuine LEGO® bricks the organization gets $10.00 donation so they can continue their important work. This Pride Heart is a nice necklace, a decoration in your home, and a cool gift to the one you love.

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Entertainment

Single Gay Dad Featured on Season Three of GLOW

Actor Kevin Cahoon joins the Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting in Vegas as a single gay dad — and drag queen — on Season Three of the hit Netflix show

For a couple of years now, Hollywood has been obsessed with gay dad characters (and who can blame them?) But the latest show to get hip to a story line featuring gay man raising kids is Netflix's GLOW, which explores a female wresting troop in the late 1980s.

But GLOW is helping represent a gay character that rarely gets time in the limelight:the single gay dad. In Season three of the hit comedy — which stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron — actor Kevin Cahoon joins the case as Bobby Barnes, a single gay father who plays a female impersonator. (80s divas only, of course — Joan Collins and Babs among them)


"I've never done female impersonation," the openly gay actor told OutSmart Magazine, "so I tried to learn really quick. You will know them all; I was very familiar with all of them. There were plenty of talk shows and performances on YouTube to study. I learned that their breathing was very informative."

A single gay dad AND drag queen on television? It's about damn time if you ask us.

Read the full interview with Cahoon here.

Politics

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.

DRAKE BUSATH/ UTCOURTS.GOV

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.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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