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

Gay Dads Featured in Enfamil Commercial

A new ad for Enfamil showcases two gay men talking about their daughter.

The best kind of inclusion is when you're not singled out but instead included right along with everyone else. This kind inclusion inspires others to pursue their own dreams and desires, just like any one else. As part of our popular culture, we know that brands are uniquely suited to inspire us in this way.

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Maivon Wahid, a gay Muslim single dad living in Fiji, wrote an opinion piece for Gay Star News about the challenges he's faced on his road to self acceptance.

"I feel pressure on how I am supposed to behave and how I am perceived," he wrote oh how these competing identities play out for him, day to day.

Maivon described himself as an "odd" kid, who never quite fit in--something he still relates to today as an adult. "When I enter the masjid (mosque), I am always judged and questioned," he wrote. "Sometimes it's curiosity, but sometimes it's borderline bullying." He said he found a way to be both gay and Muslim, three years ago, when he met an openly gay Imam at a conference in Australia. "It was through him I was able to first appreciate who I was, then love who I had become and celebrate it."

Being gay in Fiji, he says also makes him feel the need to hide certain parts of himself. "In Fiji, I find the need to hide so many aspects of my authentic being," he wrote.

He also wrote of complications familiar to many single gay men who became dads from previous straight relationships. He writes: "As a single parent to the most beautiful son – I was married to my ex-wife for nine years – learning to become and celebrate the person you want to be is about more than just me; it's a legacy I want to leave for him and the next generation. Although it's hard to meet like-minded people (my dating life is non-existent!), in being myself, I believe I can show others it's OK to be you, and to love whoever you want to love."

Ultimately, despite the challenges he's faced, Maivon says he has found a way to reconcile these three identities into one. "Whether you're gay, Muslim or a single parent – or all three – there is a place and space for everyone," he wrote. "I have found my place in Islam, and am comfortable being the best version of gay I can be. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

Read the whole article here.


Change the World

Gay Dad and Christian Mom Have a Come to Jesus Moment on 'Wife Swap'

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Two men, Terrell and Jarius Joseph, were recently the first gay dads to be featured on the show "Wife Swap," where they swapped spouses with Nina and Matt, a religious, Christian couple. But the drama doesn't unfold in the same way as some previous episodes featuring religious mothers (see everyone's favorite "Crazy Christian Lady") because (plot twist!) the gay dads are religious, too.

At one point, Nina asks Jarius to lead the family in a prayer before dinner, because she felt it was important to show him "what the true love of God is." She is surprised, then, when Jarius quite naturally launches into a prayer.

Later in the episode, Nina says she wants to lead Jarius in a "devotional" about judgment. "Jesus knew that this would be a battle for us, so he was very stern in warning us in Matthew 7: 1-5," she say. "Do not judge or you too will be judged."

Jarius quickly points out that most Christian churches are unaccepting of LGBTQ members. "You say 'Don't judge people,'" Jarius says. "But you are."

"Now that I've talked with Jarius, I feel like I jumped to conclusions a bit," Nina tells the camera later on in the "I'm not a judgey person but I actually judged the situation and I don't like the way it makes me feel."

Watch the moment play out in full here:

'Do You Feel Like Being Gay is a Sin?' | Wife Swap Official Highlight www.youtube.com

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The New York Times took an in-depth look at this case in a piece that ran in the paper yesterday. While James was born and raised in the U.S, his husband Jonathan was originally born in Britain. That may be enough, according to the State Department, to deny their daughter citizenship.

"We're both Americans; we're married," James told the New York Times. "We just found it really hard to believe that we could have a child that wouldn't be able to be in our country."

According to decades-old immigration law, a child born abroad must have a biological connection to a parent that is a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible to receive citizenship upon birth. Children born via surrogacy are determined to be "out of wedlock," according to the Times report," which then requires a more onerous process to qualify for citizenship, such as demonstrating that a biological parent is not only an American citizen, but has spent at least five years in the country.

The intent of the law, which dates back to the 1950s, was to prevent people from claiming, falsely, that they are the children of U.S. parents. But LGBTQ advocates argue this archaic policy is being used intentionally to discriminates against same-sex couples, who often have to rely on donors, IVF and surrogacy in order to have biologically children, and are thus held to a higher standard.

"This is where our life is. This is where our jobs are," James told the Times. "Our daughter can't be here, but she has no one else to care for her."

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