Change the World

One Gay Dad's Fight Against Hate in Superior, Nebraska

Brian Splater is refusing to let homophobic and transphobic elected officials in his town go unchecked

Millie B. Photography

Guest post written by Brian Splater

No one ever should feel they will have a very lonely and secluded life as a child. But that is something me and many other gay kids believe as they are growing up.

The truth of the matter is there are people who will try everything in their power to have our rights go back in time instead of forward. It is very disheartening when these people are elected officials, or they are people who use their place of employment to spread their disgust and hate.


Moving to a small, rural and red community my husband and I knew there could still be many barriers in our process of wanting to have kids someday. A community of 2,000 is always harder for gay people than a community of 200,000 people. I always have said it is because they lack the education and experiences surrounding the different types of people who exist in this world. Even with this it was not going to prevent us from adopting two beautiful kids.

After being together for five years we decided it was time to adopt a child of our own. Little did we know we would be chosen for an adoption and we would get to adopt two children instead of one. My great-niece and my great-nephew had been in and out of foster care and taken away from their biological parents from the time they were born. Once our children's biological parents had their rights taken away from the state, we knew we had to step in and stop this pattern in their lives.

There are many feelings and emotions that go into bringing in two children into your home. Besides the unknowns that exist, we weren't going to allow the cowardly acts and the homophobic people from preventing this from happening.

It is amazing how two kids can make a difference in your lives. They have taught us what is truly important, never to sweat the small stuff, and never worry about the negativity others wish to shine down on us. They keep us grounded in the present and they make us realize it isn't the monetary or material things that are important, those things will never provide for complete happiness in one's life as two children will. Most importantly, they made us realize we must never hide from who we are as humans.

Being gay dads is an opportunity to stand up to the bullies who believe being gay is unnatural. Or that gays should never be able to adopt. It's an opportunity to be role models for our youth. It's also an opportunity to raise our children against stigma, judgment and other negativity that still lives in our world just because of a person's sexual orientation.

Millie B. Photography

One of the most amazing things about being a gay dad is how it has helped us in being a real strength to our children because we show them how to overcome adversity. It's because people who are gay have experienced enough judgment, abuse and other negativity throughout their lives to know how to educate their children when they witness or come face to face with people being treated unfairly.

All of this is something we still face today. In Superior, a town of just 2,000 people, in south central Nebraska, we have our own mayor and council members who love to sit behind their phones and computer screens and bully other people just because of a person's sexual orientation.

I have always believed that if you don't like policy or if you want change, one should either run for public office or they should join organizations that lobby in their beliefs. I did just that. Back in early 2018 I decided and announced that I would run for Mayor. For months I had been testing these waters. After this I quietly started putting my grass roots campaign together.

Because it took me some time to really come to a final answer if I should run, I missed the deadline to get on the ballot. I registered as a write-in. Once our Mayor, and our council members knew of my candidacy and once they knew the threat I was, the combativeness, hate, lies and the threats began.

I would never have dreamed of the tactics that were bowed to as I ran for Mayor. I had the Mayor have our own police try and intimidate me and my family. She, and council members, had our Utilities Manager, City Planner and our Economic Development Director attack me (from behind the scenes) and spread their imaginative and corrupt images about myself and my family. They also cornered, harassed daily and pushed our Chamber Manager out because of her support for me. Since, they have kicked people off of varying boards who supported me for Mayor.

In the end, just living in Superior for five years, I almost beat an incumbent of 12 years. I almost beat someone who had the last name and the married last name (her husband had been our County Attorney). Add in that I was gay and that we adopted two children, my supporters truly believed we started something good in our City and in our entire area. I had 315 write-ins to her 385 being on the ballot. Out of three Wards, I won Ward I and she only barely won Ward II.

Fast forward and for the past several months we have had Councilmen Disney, Peterson and Flores (who was appointed by this Mayor) continue their attacks against the LGBTQ community. To have these people say the LGBTQ community has a mental illness, that transgender is a made up work, having gays adopt kids is pushing our gay agenda on them, that we should have our plumbing checked out, that it's only political correctness for our equality and so many more of their ignorant statements; none of it will stand in the way of how we live our lives and it won't stand in the way of how we educate our children.

Sadly, all three of these elected officials work for our only hospital in Superior, Brodstone Memorial Hospital. They continue to preach and disperse their hate of gays and the transgender community. They continue to do this because this hospital seems to turn a blind eye and rather not answer an email I sent to the administrator back in March 2019.

For our two beautiful children's sake we will not rest until action is taken against these elected officials, who some are even EMT's

Millie B. Photography

Hate is very real and it is corrosive. A person's ignorance and deep bitterness often turns their hate into a hate crime. Hate breeds and it turns into targeting and violence. It can also cause serious harm and even death to the LGBTQ community.

For us, disarming hate should be on every resident of Superior's mind, not allowing this vicious cycle to continue. Superior is filled with kindness and compassion. It is overwhelmingly filled with residents who are hardworking and who respect one another. Unfortunately, the few can cause so much embarrassment, distress and outright shame for the rest of Superior. And that is happening as we speak.

Superior is better than allowing the likes of Rick Disney (Ward III) and Peterson (Ward I) to corrupt it. Superior is better than allowing a Mayor, who protects these people, and openly says "we must stick together…against these people," in open meetings. Superior is BETTER when they DENY members of management in allowing these homophobic and haters to continue spewing their hate in the hallways of places where the LGBTQ community MUST go for healthcare services and emergencies.

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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.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Thoughts and Prayers Aren't Working:​ One Father's Plea for Gun Reform

One gay dad's plea to our leaders to enact sensible gun control

My articles on GaysWithKids aspire to be lighthearted, helpful and humorous. This one won't be any of those things. Because I'm feeling heavyhearted, helpless and sad. Last week I woke up to news of yet another mass shooting. This time at a family-friendly Garlic Festival in northern California. I don't know if it's because this one hit so close to home, or if it's because the headline included a picture of the innocent 6-year old who was among those killed, but I am overcome with emotion. But mostly I am angry. And I don't know what to do with my anger.

Then, just a few days later came two additional horrific mass shootings that stole the lives of at least 32 more innocent people, many of them children. And then there's the "everyday" gun violence that plagues American cities like Chicago, where guns injured another 46 people this past weekend alone… creating so much turmoil, a hospital had to briefly stop taking patients.

How does one verbalize the collective sadness felt around the world? One can't. And that's why I am asking everyone reading this article to commit to getting involved in some way, to help end this epidemic once and for all. Even though the solution is so obvious, we can't allow ourselves to become numb to mass shootings. Because becoming numb isn't going to save anyone.

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Politics

Gay Russian Dads Forced to Flee Moscow

Fearing the Russian government might take their adopted kids into custody because of their sexual orientation, Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev fled Moscow

A married couple in Russia, with two adopted children, were just forced the flee their home in Moscow for fear that the authorities would take their children away, according to German news site Deutsche Welle.

Trouble started last month after investigators in Russia opened a criminal inquiry into the proceedings that had allowed the gay couple, Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, to legally adopt the two boys —adoption by LGBTQ people in Russia has typically not been recognized. The government became aware of the adoption proceedings after the gay couple brought their 12-year-old son to the hospital, who was complaining of a stomachache. The boy was fine, but after he mentioned offhand that he was adopted and lived with two fathers, the doctor called the police.

Andrei and Yevgeny granted an interview with Deutsche Welle after escaping Moscow, but on the advice of their lawyers have yet to disclose where they are currently located. Here is a quick recap of that conversation:

"In connection with the 'propaganda of non-traditional values,' the state representatives are accused of having neglected their duty of supervision," Andrei said, when asked to explain on what basis the Russian government might take his children into custody. "This means that lesbian couples could even have their biological children taken away because, through their lifestyle choices, they propagate "certain values."

Yevgeny also explained the events that led to the couple's harrowing escape "I was alone in Moscow at that time. A week after Andrei and the children had left the country, there was a knock on my door, but nobody called 'police, open up.' After half an hour the violent knocking stopped. My parents' home was searched. They were looking for the children and our Danish marriage certificate because we got married in Denmark in 2016. My friends then got me out of the country."

Read the full interview here.

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.

Gay Dad Family Stories

This Couple is Using 'Wheel of Fortune' Winnings to Help Fund Their Adoption

Need to raise money for your adoption fund? Why not try your luck on Wheel of Fortune like these guys!

Doug and Nick Roberts connected three and a half years ago via a dating app, and on their first date, the two immediately felt a connection. Doug, a psychologist, and Nick, a neuroscientist, were married 18 months later. Today the couple live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and they're ready to start their next exciting adventure together: fatherhood.

The husbands would like to have children, and Nick has always wanted to adopt. "We considered surrogacy, and may consider it in the future as we expand our family," said Doug, "but right now, it is cost-prohibitive. Adoption was easily the right choice for us as we begin to grow our family.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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