Change the World

These Brazilian Dads Were the First Gay Couple to Adopt a Newborn in Their State

Alexandre de Souza Amorim and Renato Oliveira Elias live in São José, Brazil, and have been together 7 years. They met online and, after a few days of talking virtually, met in-person for a movie and dinner. The night ended with the two of them spending hours in the car talking before they sealed their date with a kiss. They moved in together after a few months and were married January 11, 2012. Now they're dads to their beautiful daughter, Sara Elias Amorim, whom they met June 30, 2016, 15 days after she was born. Since that day, the three have never been apart for longer than a day. Here's their story.

Tell us about your path to parenthood. I remember when I "discovered" that I was gay, I suffered a lot because I felt I could never have children. I was just a boy of 12 years. Time passed and I discovered many other things. Being a father is something I've always wanted. I thought of other possibilities, having a biological child with a friend was the most latent. I grew up in a prejudiced society and also in a biased family in relation to adoption. But I grew up and formed my own opinion on the subject. It is not the blood or the flesh, but the heart and the love that make us a family.

What obstacles did you face on your path to fatherhood? During the process we did not suffer any kind of prejudice. There were no obstacles in that part. However, we were the first gay couple to adopt a newborn baby in our state and the first gay couple to stay in the hospital for almost 2 months. And some members of the medical team were not prepared to deal with it.

Our daughter was born premature, so she needed special care in the first few weeks. The hospital hotel only had rooms for the babies' mothers. This was a big hurdle. We slept in a chair for the first few weeks before the hospital directors changed the rules. Some nurses would not allow us to make the contact (see photo) because of pure prejudice. The weeks passed and things got better. None of these obstacles were a sacrifice. At that moment our only concern was that our daughter was 100% healthy. And she came out completely healthy.

How did your life change when you became a father? Our life has changed a lot. I think it changes for everyone. We are more united, we spend a lot of time together as a family. We plan family outings and trips. We get healthier eating habits. We smiled more. We play more. We fight more. Loved it more.

What have you learned from your children since you became a dad? I learned that I knew nothing about love. You only understand what it is to love unconditionally when you have children. I learned to optimize my time. I needed to get organized to have more time for my family. I've learned to value what really matters. And of course, I learned to make many types of soups.

Was there ever a moment that you or Renato experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself? We had no doubts at any time. Being a parent is something we both really wanted.

Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation? Yes, I think so. The way they look at us is different. It's not always a bad thing, but it should not be like this. Some people stop us on the streets to tell us that we are a beautiful family. Others stare at us with disgust. We do not care about that. But let's fight every fight we need to make our daughter happy.

Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? A difficult question, because the only thing I hope is that we are together and happy. I think this is the most important

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experiences creating or raising your family? Some days will not be easy. It can be very tiring. But at the end of the day you will know that this was the best choice you made in your life.

What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering pursuing your same path or parenthood? Paternity is a fantastic experience. Every day you will learn to be a better person, you will need to learn this because you will very much want your child to be proud of you. And you will wish your child to be a great person. You will also learn to be more patient and stronger. If you want to have your family, do not give up. Do not let anyone say you can not. You can. And it will be the best thing of your life.

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Change the World

"Dadvocates" Gather in D.C. to Demand Paid Family Leave for ALL Parents

"Dadvocate" and new gay dad Rudy Segovia joined others in D.C. recently to educate lawmakers on the need for paid family leave for ALL parents

On Tuesday October 22, Dove Men+Care and PL+US (Paid Leave for the United States) led the Dads' Day of Action on Capitol Hill. A group of over 40 dads and "dadvocates" from across the states lobbied key member of Congress on the issue of paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads. They shared stories of their struggles to take time off when welcoming new family members and the challenges dads face with no paid paternity leave.

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Change the World

A Gay Fertility Doctor Opens Up About His Own Path to Parenthood

Parenthood is the "one and only job" held by the majority of the population, wrote gay fertility doctor Mark Leondires in a recent op-ed for The Advocate

Dr. Mark Leondires, founder of the fertility clinic RMA of Connecticut, has helped thousands of LGBTQ people become parents over the years. But in a recent op-ed for The Advocate, he discussed his own path to parenthood as a gay man, and some of the lessons he's learned along the way.

"Similar to most gay men I struggled with the coming out process," Dr. Leondires wrote. "I strongly desired to be a parent. And as a fertility doctor I knew this was possible. What was enlightening was after we had our first child is that in the eyes of my community, I went from being a gay man or gay professional to being a parent just like most of my straight friends."

Dr. Leondires goes on to say his reasons for opening up about his parenting journey is to offer some perspective LGBTQ people who are considering parenthood. "Once you have a family you will have this common bond with the vast majority of our population and something they can relate to — having children," he wrote. "You are no longer someone living this "special" lifestyle, you are a parent on a shared journey."

Being a parent is the "one and only job" held by the majority of the population, he continued. "It is also the only job you can't be fired from."

Understanding this commonality helped Dr. Leondires in his coming out process, he said. "I had to be proud of my family because I want them to be proud of our family," he wrote. "It wasn't about me anymore. The reality is that 5-7% of patients identify as LGBTQ+, and there may be a greater likelihood that your child might be LGBTQ+ because you are. Therefore, you need to be proud of who you are and who your family is, establish and maintain this foundation unconditionally."

Read Dr. Leondires entire essay here.

Change the World

Is This the First Photo to Show a Positive Image of Gay Dads in the Media?

This photo from 1983 originally ran in a Life Magazine piece called "the Double Closet"

Last month was LGBTQ History Month! And to celebrate, the online magazine LGBTQ Nation ran tidbits of history all month long. For one post, they dug up the above image — which they claim is the first, published in a mainstream media outlet, to show gay parents depicted in a positive light.

The image was part of a Life Magazine article called "the Double Closet." The photograph was taken by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, J. Ross Baughman. Whether this was truly the first image of its kind or not, it's a heartwarming photo nonetheless that helps show gay dads have been forming loving families for decades. And we couldn't be more thrilled that in recent years, his images is standing in some pretty good company! Each and every day, we help add to the archives of images showing positive depictions of gay dads — 2,824 images, and counting — on our Instagram page.

Check out the rest of the History Month series on LGBTQ Nation!

Gay Dad Photo Essays

Falling for Fall: 33 Photos of Gay Dads and Kids at the Pumpkin Patch

Oh my gourd, it's fall! To celebrate, we rounded up 33 pics (and whole lot of pun-kins) in our annual fall photo essay!

Don your checked shirt, grab them apples, and shine those smiles while perched on pumpkins — it's the annual fall family photo op! A trip to the pumpkin patch and / or apple orchard is a staple family fall outing, and we're here for it. 🎃🍎🍂👨👨👧👦

Thanks to these dads who shared their pics with us! Share your own to and we'll add them to this post!

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Gay Dad Family Stories

David and Ben Met on the Dance Floor — and Are Now Grooving Their Way Through Fatherhood

David and Ben, who became fathers with the help of Northwest Surrogacy Center, live in Melbourne with their daughter, Maia.

In 2003, while both studying at Reading University in the UK, Ben Suter and David Cocks met after locking eyes on the dance floor and then being introduced by a mutual friend. Ben, a meteorologist and Operations Manager, and David, an Assistant Principal, have been together ever since. They moved to Australia together in 2010, seeking a different life, and an overall better work-life balance. The chose Cairns in Queensland as their new home, between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, "taking life a bit easier," said David. The couple were also married in June 2016, back home in England.

While David always wanted kids, Ben took a little convincing. So they started their parenting journey with a dog, Titan, who quickly became like their first born. From there, Ben came around rather quickly.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Single Gay Dad and the City

When Kyle decided to take his four kids, ages 6-11, to New York City on vacation, his friends thought he was crazy.

"You're crazy, Kyle."

"You can't be serious? A single dad taking four kids to the Big Apple? Think again."

"That's bold. There's no way I'd do that."

Those were a few of the responses I heard from my friends as I told them I was thinking of booking a trip to New York City with four kids, ages 11-6. My children's fall vacation from school was approaching and I wanted to get out of the house and explore. Was the Big Apple too much of an adventure?

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National's Pitcher Cites Wife's Two Moms as Reason for Declining White House Invite

"I think that's an important part of allyship," Doolittle said of his wife's two moms.

Sean Doolittle, pitcher for the Washington Nationals, declined an invitation to the White House after his team won the World Series this year. In an interview with the Washington Post, he listed his numerous reasons for staying home — and a main consideration, he revealed, was his wife's two moms.

"I want to show support for them. I think that's an important part of allyship, and I don't want to turn my back on them," Doolittle said during the interview.

Trump's treatment of a minority groups, generally, factored into his decision as well. "I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can't get past that stuff."

Doolitttle clarified that his decision had little to do with policy disagreements with the White House. "There's a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we've done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the 'shithole countries.'"

He concluded by saying he respected his teammates decision to attend the White house ceremony. "I want people to know that I put thought into this, and at the end of the day, I just can't go."

Read more of the Washington Post interview here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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