Coming Out

How Coming Out Helped This Gay Man Find the Strength to Be a Dad

Steven Kerr shares the moment he came out to his ex-girlfriend. "From that moment on," he writes, "my strength and purpose have grown."



I had been given the appointment at 9am that Friday morning. As we drove around the corner to the convent, we were sitting in silence, both excited and nervous. I rang the bell to the nun's small mansion which stood quietly behind a lighting mega store. We waited. There was no response. After a few minutes I rang again starting to sweat in the hot July morning sun. The door clicked open and we slowly moved through.

We entered into a walled-in courtyard with garden and children's toys scattered among the rose bushes. To the right of us was a nun-mobile; tired and well-used. We walked to the main door in silence. An older lady opened the door. All I can remember was short hair, a men's short-sleeved shirt and a look on her face of complete confusion. She introduced herself as the Mother superior.

I suddenly saw the social worker, a 50-something, grey-haired, pony-tailed stereo-type who looked like he needed a good feed. He bustled past and took me aside, blocking the entry to the mansion.

"The Mother superior doesn't want to give you your daughter today. She is ill and hasn't been eating. The nuns want you to come back on Tuesday after her next doctor's appointment,"he said nervously.

I looked at him stony-faced. "I am not leaving here today without my daughter."

The past two days had been an absolute whirlwind since that initial phone call. I had rushed down to the adoption offices on the Wednesday full of excitement. The social worker had welcomed me and invited me to take a seat. He had a blue paper folder in his hands. As he opened the folder I tried to scan as much information as possible. Before he started speaking I had already seen the words "girl, 7 months, profoundly deaf."

That is when I fell in love for the first time in my life.

He went through my daughter's profile which was shocking at the very least. She had been born on the pauper's floor in a town to the south. The biological mother was homeless, a drug addict and had had no idea she had been pregnant. The only good deed the mother had done was sign over this wee soul to the social services immediately after the birth. I can never thank her enough for this.

I truly believe that from the moment of her conception, my daughter had been destined to be with me.

From the poor house she had been taken to the local hospital for a check-up and then onto the provincial capital for more check-ups. In my head my daughter had been rejected once, twice, three, four, five times. I was the sixth person in her very short life and I was not going to let her go – ever.

Now it was Friday, a mere two days later and I had to find a way to persuade these nuns to let me have my daughter.

It is fascinating sharing my story of these first days and experiences with my daughter. I wonder at my strength and sureness in overcoming obstacles alone during the whole adoption process. I worked through great moments of self-doubt when even people I loved questioned my ability (and sanity).

But where did that strength and purpose come from?

Just as I was writing this question, the Universe gave me the answer.

I received a WhatsApp message from the UK.

It was from my ex-girlfriend from university who told me she would be talking about me on Loose Women (UK version of The View), where she has been one of the panelists for a number of years.

As I watched I was thrust back in time to that very phone call when I came out to her. She is right; we had grown up together and had shared many firsts. I loved her and I could have so easily continued living that life; the one expected of me by others.

But, as I look back I realize now that that phone call marked a watershed in my life. It is the moment when I found the strength to take control. I found the strength to stop hurting people and allow them to experience the real me. It gave me the strength to start loving me for me.

That strength made it clear that I could no longer lie to the ones I loved, including my girlfriend. I knew that she would suffer, and that I needed to be there for her, but that eventually she could move on and find true happiness herself. I had no right to deny her that.

From that moment on, my strength and purpose have grown. Truth, love and self-ownership have given me the strength to fight on; to fight for me and fight for my daughter.

Love you Saira x

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Expert Advice

Your 15 Most Common Questions About Adoption, Answered by an Expert

We asked our Instagram community for their biggest questions about adoption. Then asked Molly Rampe Thomas of Choice Network to answer them.

As part of our new "Ask an Expert" series on Instagram, our community of dads and dads-to-be sent us their questions on adoption in the United States. Molly Rampe Thomas, founder of Choice Network, answered them.

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Gay Adoption

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Preparing for Your Home Study

Molly Rampe Thomas of Choice Network lists the 5 things gay men should keep in mind when preparing for your home study

The homestudy is the first step in the adoption process. In every state the homestudy is done a little differently, but all of them have the some combo of paperwork, trainings, and interviews. The homestudy can take anywhere from 2 months to 6 months to complete. Without it, you cannot adopt.

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News

Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals.

In a post on Facebook, Ed Smart, father of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart, came out as gay. He also discussed his strained relationship with his Mormon faith, claiming he felt he didn't feel comfortable living as an openly gay man in a church with a difficult history with respect to its LGBTQ members. He and his wife, Lois, have filed for divorce.

"This is one of the hardest letters I have ever written," he began the letter. "Hard because I am finally acknowledging a part of me that I have struggled with most of my life and never wanted to accept, but I must be true and honest with myself." He went on to acknowledged a new set of challenges facing he and his family as they navigate a divorce and his coming out — in the public eye, no less — but concluded, ultimately, that it's a "huge relief" to be "honest and truthful about my orientation."

He went on to condemn The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. "I didn't want to face the feelings I fought so hard to suppress, and didn't want to reach out and tell those being ostracized that I too am numbered among them. But I cannot do that any longer."

In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Ed Smart further discussed his reasons for coming out now, as a 64-year-old man.

"I mean, I knew that it would probably come out at some point, just because people can't leave things alone. I did anticipate that it would happen at some time, but my intention in writing it was to try to let my friends and family know, you know my extended family ... know where things were. So, you know, I was really concerned about how the rumor mill starts," he told the paper. "I knew that at some point in time, that would come out," he elaborated. "I didn't know when it would come out, and so I would rather have it come out the way that it did versus having some rumors going around, and you know the crazy way things can get twisted."

In 2002, Ed Smart's daughter Elizabeth was abducted at knife point by a married couple from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, Utah. She suffered physical and sexual abuse at the couple's hands, for nine months, until she was finally rescued by police. During the ordeal, papers — including the Salt Lake Tribute — speculated about Ed Smart's sexual orientation based on some fabricated information sold to the paper by tabloids like the National Enquirer. (The Enquirer retracted the story, and the reporters at the Tribute were ultimately fired.)

"I think that in April I started feeling like I needed to prepare something," Smart told the Tribute. "Because during Elizabeth's ordeal, there were things said, and it wasn't what I wanted to say, and I was not going to allow that to happen again."

As to how his family has taken the news, Smart said they've been "very kind" to him. "I think it was very difficult to have this kind of come out of the blue. I don't think any of them knew I was struggling with this, so it was something they were, if you want to call it, blindsided by. I totally get that. They've really been very wonderful."

Congrats to Ed Smart on making the difficult decision to live his truth. Read his full letter here and his interview with the Tribute here.

Gay Dad Photo Essays

Pics of the Moment Before and After Gay Men Become Dads

Dig through your phones — what was the last pic taken of you BEFORE you became a dad?

We all have THAT photo: the one taken moments after we become fathers for the first time. For some of us, we're doing "skin to skin" in a delivery room. For others, we're standing proudly alongside our newly adopted child and judge in a courtroom. However or wherever it happens, though, we make sure to snap a picture of it.

But what about that last photo BEFORE you first became a dad? What does that image look like, we wondered? Well, we asked our Instagram community to dig through through phones and find out. Some of us are enjoying a last carefree meal or glass of wine, others of us are captured nervously contemplating our futures. Whatever it is, we've decided these BEFORE pictures are just as meaningful.

Enjoy some of our favorites! Want to play along? Dig through your phones and send us your pics to dads@gayswithkids.com!

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Entertainment

Gay Dad in Sundance's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' is Relatable AF

Sundance hit "Brittany Runs a Marathon" stars a gay dad trying to get in shape.

Who would make for the best marathon training partner for an overweight, overly boozed 27-year-old woman? A gay dad, of course!

The pairing, for any gay man who has been subjected to impossible beauty standards (not unlike... literally all women?) makes a bit too much sense after watching the new Sundance film, "Brittany Runs a Marathon," starring SNL writer Jillian Bell (as the 27-year-old) and Micah Stock as the (somewhat *ahem* older) gay dad.

Based on a true story, the film follows Brittany, an overweight and over-boozed 20-something, trying to clean up her act by training for the New York City marathon — while doing so, she meets Seth (the gay dad), and the two begin to train together, along with Brittany's neighbor Catherine. Each has their own motivation for running: getting one's live together, recovering from a messy divorce, or an attempt to impress one's athletic son. (Which is the gay dad? Guess you'll have to watch to find out!)

We won't give too much more away, apart from saying that the trio — based off of actual people and events — really works. It's the feel good film you're waiting to see.

Popular

'Life Is Amazing': Congrats to Gay Dads Whose Families Recently Grew!

Help us congratulate gay dads on their recent births and adoptions last month!

Wishing all of these gay dads whose families expanded in the last month or so a lifetime of happiness! Congrats to everyone in our community on their recent births and adoptions!

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

We Gained a Son Through Foster Care — He Didn't Lose his Family

Foster-adopt expert Trey Rabun writes a moving essay about his own experiences as a parent in the foster care system.

My husband, Phil, and I talked about having children since out first date over 11 years ago. Like many other gay dads, we waited to start the journey to become parents until we felt secure with our careers, finances, and home life. This meant we didn't start the partnering journey until 2016 when we were eight years into our relationship.

When we first met, I was completing my graduate studies in social work and subsequently started a career working in foster care and adoption. This made our decision to pursue foster care-adoption as our path to parenthood a fairly easy one. In fact, I can't recall us discussing other avenues to parenthood, but I'm sure we briefly discussed them before solidifying our decision to become foster parents.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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