Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Why This Gay Dad Always Dreaded Parent-Teacher Conferences

With his kids well into their twenties, Jim Joseph gets nostalgic watching friends post back-to-school images of pics of their kids trick-or-treating. One thing he doesn't miss though? The dreaded parent-teacher conference.

I know that social media has gotten a lot of flak in the last couple of years, mostly because of its political tendencies and political, shall we say, drama. Sure, I'm acutely aware of that. But there's a part of social media that is still exceedingly fun and rewarding, and I've been enjoying it a lot lately.

It's been so much fun seeing all of my friends and colleagues with their families during this year's back-to-school and Halloween festivities. School uniforms, backpacks, bake sales, fundraisers, and, of course, Halloween costumes.

I'm getting the chance to relive the years when I did all of that when my kids were young (they are now well into their '20's now!). I miss it. A lot.

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Gay Dad Life

Gay Dads Featured in Commercial for Australian Apparel Brand,  Sportscraft

Just in time for Father's Day in Australia this year, and local apparel brand Sportcraft is honoring all kinds of fathers with this new inclusive commercial.

I just love this new campaign from Australian apparel brand, Sportscraft. Father's Day in Australia was September 2nd this year, so the brand is seeking to honor real fathers…real fathers who wear Sportcraft clothes!

But that's not what I love about the campaign, although I have to say that the clothes are quite the rage IMHO. What I love is how the brand celebrates fathers of all kinds…single, married, and yes gay.

The best part is that the brand doesn't oversell the concept, even though they are selling the clothes. No one gets a label, except for the clothes. These are just dads being dads, and on the Sportscraft website you can read, see, and hear what makes each of them special. And it's not because they're single, married, or gay. It's just because they're dads.

Click here to see the entire series of dads with their kids. Or click here to see the profile of gay dads Mike and Colin, along with a video of their kids saying how much their kids mean to them.

We don't need labels, we just need to be acknowledged for the contribution we bring to our families, no matter what our families.

Bravo, Sportscraft!

Change the World

New Audi Ad Features Gay Dad Family

The brand Audi asks us to think about what we would say to our children about what families will look like in twenty years.

The brand Audi in the UK just gave us all a little gift...a short form video that simply asks us what we think families will look like in the future. The brand Audi asks us to think about what we would say to our children about what families will look like in twenty years.

#FutureFamilies.

In the process, however, Audi UK is actually showcasing the many faces of families already happening today. Not in twenty years, but today! Same-sex, mixed-race, singles...you name it and we see family. #FutureFamilies.

The gift from Audi UK comes from the fact that in many ways we are already #FutureFamilies. We've come such a long way towards acceptance that any form of family is family and we are all equal in our ability to form a family.

And the gift from Audi UK comes from the realization that perhaps we will soon no longer need to label what form of family we are. Perhaps we will no longer feel the need to say same-sex, mixed-race, singles. Perhaps that is #FutureFamilies and perhaps we are already there.

Harry and Meghan just started their very own as well. #FutureFamilies

Change the World

Gay Dads in Ads: Latest in Inclusive Marketing Campaigns!

Marketing expert Jim Joseph gives a run down of gay dads included in recent marketing campaigns

I love marketing. In fact, I was one of those kids who knew right from the start that I wanted to go into marketing...what ever that was! And I've been in marketing my entire career now, close to thirty years!

I'm also a dad, a gay dad...For not quite thirty years.

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I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Dad 2.0 Summit in New Orleans, for the second year in a row. If you're not familiar with it, Dad 2.0 is a collection of Daddy Bloggers who create influential content about modern day fatherhood. Hence the "2.0." They are an amazing bunch of guys...inspiring to say the least.

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I remember watching the first episode of the original Will & Grace. I had recently come out as a gay father, wondering how I was going to fit into the world now that I was no longer "straight." Growing up there were no gay role models to aspire or relate to. So many of us were out there on our own. Even though I was in my 30's when I came out, I did so before Ellen and before Will & Grace. So the first run of the show was, well, liberating. Freeing. Exhilarating.

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#NotGood.

I just finished watching a few episodes of the new season of Bravo's Flipping Out. While I'm not a big fan of the show, I was interested in the storyline this time out. But I am now so disappointed, I can't even find the words to describe what I watched.

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In my book "Out and About Dad," I talked about feeling relieved when my kids turned eighteen because I no longer had to fear them being taken away from me. Well, the truth is that I didn't really know what relief felt like until now, watching them successfully graduate from college and start their adult careers.

They made it. And I made it too.

I’m sure every parent feels this same sense of relief. It’s a universal emotion. But for a gay father, I believe it’s more intense. As gay fathers we face more societal pressures than our straight counterparts. We just do. My parenting skills were questioned on a regular basis just because I’m gay. My motivations were questioned just because I’m gay. And my children's future was questioned just because I’m gay.

“Those poor kids,” was a common statement said under their breaths and behind my back.

Sure, there were the occasional allies, especially the teachers, but I was left in parental isolation most of the time. I didn’t fit the norm and I didn’t fit in. The other parents didn’t really let me in. I was basically one of only a few active fathers, and pretty much the only gay one. At least the only public gay one that I knew.

“You people shouldn’t have kids,” was said to me more than once to my face and I’m sure more than a few times when I wasn’t around.

Oh really?

But I still felt it was important to let everyone know that I was gay as I was raising my kids. I didn’t keep it hidden, that’s for sure. I didn't hide my partner (now husband) either along the way. I just figured that no one could possibly be judgmental and prejudiced if they actually knew me. I was right some of the time. But I was wrong a lot of the time, too.

So, when I heard the Dean announce my son’s name at his college graduation, imagine the rush of emotions that rushed over me: pride, love, and relief. All at once.

It's a relief that only a gay father could possibly know. And while I know times have changed for those raising their young kids now, I also know that it’s still not easy. And for that we have each other.

For those of you thinking how lucky I am to have seen my kids make it and to not have to care for them anymore, you are perfectly right. But I do have to share that my son is now living with us in New York as he navigates his first job and budging his salary on a Manhattan budget.

Gay empty nest? Not quite yet.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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