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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News

Indiana Court Says Couples Using Sperm Donors​ Can Both Be Listed on Birth Certificate — But Ruling Excludes Male Couples

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, a major victory for LGBTQ parents — but the Attorney General may appeal to the Supreme Court.

On Friday, a US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling from a lower court that said that both parents in a same-sex relationship are entitled to be listed on the birth certificate — previously, the state of Indiana had required the non-biological parent within a same-sex relationship using assisted reproductive technologies to adopt their child after the birth in order to get her or his name listed on the birth certificate, a lengthy and expensive process not required of straight couples in the same situation.

It's a double standard LGBTQ parents have long been subjected to in many states across the country. So this represent a major win. As reported by CNN, this ruling "takes a lot of weight off" the shoulders of LGBTQ parents, said Karen Celestino-Horseman, a lawyer representing one of the couples in the case. "They've been living as families and wondering if this was going to tear them apart."

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals deliberated the case, according to CNN, for more than two and a half years, which is one of the longest in the court's history.

However, because all the plaintiffs in the case involved female same-sex couples using sperm donors, the ruling left open the similar question of parenting rights with respect to male couples. Indiana's Attorney General, moreover, may also appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

We'll be following the case closely and be sure to keep you up to date. For more on this recent decision, read CNN's article here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

As a Gay Dad, What's the Impact of Letting My Son Perform Drag?

Michael Duncan was excited when his 10-year-old son asked if he could perform in drag for charity — but he also felt fear and anxiety.

As LGBT parents, we have all lived through some sort of trauma in our lives. For many it is the rejection of our family, being bullied, or abuse. We learn to be vigilant of our surroundings and often are very cautious of who we trust. As adults, we start to become watchful of how much we share and we look for "red flags" around every corner.

So, what effect does this have on our children? Does it unintentionally cause us to be more jaded with our interactions involving others? For some the answer may be a resounding "no." But as we look deeper into the situation, we often find that through survival our interactions with others have changed and we may not even realize exactly how much we are projecting on those around us.

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Change the World

Gay Dads Use 'TikTok' To Fight for Acceptance

Kevin and Ivo are fighting to normalize LGBTQ parents through TikTok, a growing social media platform

"Are we fearful we're going to turn our son gay?" Kevin DiPalma, a red-bearded man, asks the camera.

"No!" says Kevin's son, Nasim, says

"Are we worried about bullies when he gets to school?" Kevin asks next.

"Yes!" Nasim said.

Thus is the nature of the videos Kevin and his husband Ivo upload to their TikTok account, a widely popular and rapidly growing social media platform among young people.

Within 6 months, the family had 200,000 followers across their social media.

See a complication of some of their videos below!


Gay Dad Life

Gong Hei Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

As we usher in the year of rat, we asked some of our dads how they honor this special time.

Today we're celebrating, alongside our families, the Chinese New Year! As we usher in the year of rat, we asked some of our dads how they honor this special time, what they do to celebrate, and how they're instilling these traditions in their kids. Here are some of their responses.

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Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

Keep reading...

Fatherhood, the gay way

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