Gay Dad Life

What's it Like to Stay Friends With a Gay Couple After They Have Kids?

The guys behind the Daddy Square Podcast sought to find out by interviewing two of their best friends.

There are so many things that change from the time you decide you want to become a parent until it happens… and then after it happens. But one of the changes that may not be so obvious is the effect that all of this can have on your social life in general, and especially on close friends. And relationships with your closest gay friends – many of whom often don't have children – can be a real question. In our season finale we brought on two guests — each of them is best friends with a gay dad couple, to explore changes in close friendships after parenthood starts.


A couple of years ago, entrepreneur Leslie Farnsworth, who decided she didn't want to have kids, gave advice on TODAY for parents who want to remain close with a child-free friend: "talk about your children, because your girlfriend truly does want to hear about your little ones," she said, "but don't get into a long dish session on every detail of your kids' lives and completely forget to ask your friend what is happening in her world."

The internet is filled with advice and information for straight people (and especially for straight women) about friendship after major changes in life, and in particularly staying close when one friend has kids and the other doesn't. But what about the gays ("But What About the Gays" could be our podcast's sub-title)? The 'gayby boom' and the daily discourse on same sex parenting has yet to cover this subject, even though this issue is one of the biggest concerns among gay men who wish to have kids: what's going to happen to our social life? What's going to happen to our family-like relationship with our childless gay friends?

To open a window to this discussion we brought on not one but two gay best friends, who each share from his personal experience what it's like staying friends with a gay couple after they had children; what's changed and what hasn't.


Scott Bufford has been friends with Alex for 17 years, long before Alex met Yan. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Scott lives in Los Angeles and works as the Creative Director for the Television Academy and had previously worked in the art department at Disney. He is currently single.

Dwayne Landry has been friends with Richard and Tommy for 18 years, he knew them separately before they met each other. He has been through their child-making process with them up close, and has been in their twins' lives in the past 10 years like family. Originally from Louisiana, Dwayne lives in Los Angeles and works as an IT consultant.

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Gay Dad Life

A Gay Dad Shares His Experiences Raising a Trans Son on Latest Episode of Daddy Square

Author David Strah sat down with the Daddy Squared guys to talk about fatherhood, his book, and experiences raising a trans son

Here's a fact: gay parents are much more attentive to their kids' gender expressions than heterosexual parents. Just from the nature of growing up different, sometimes in an unwelcoming environment, we don't want our kids to suffer the emotional pain that we went through.

This is a partial explanation for an amazing growing phenomenon, where gay couples step forward and adopt transgender youth who were thrown out of their homes. In this episode of Daddy Squared we brought on David Strah, a family therapist from Los Angeles who specializes in LGBTQ issues. David is also a father of a transgender boy, and shares from his own personal experience.

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Gay Dad Life

Cooking with Kids: An Interview with David Burtka

David Burtka sits down with us to talk about his new book "Life is a Party."

When you're a young couple it's easy to order in or dine out on a daily basis, but when the kids come along, spending time in the kitchen to prepare nutritious and healthy meals for them can become a problem for some dads. We turned to gay dad and celebrity chef David Burtka who just published his debut recipe book Life is a Party, to get some advice, inspiration, and support as we take our baby steps in the kitchen.

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Gay Dad Life

When it Comes to "Work-Life" Balance, How Do Kids Tip the Scale?

Our latest episode of the podcast "Daddy Square" tackles the age old question of how best to achieve "work-life" balance once kids enter the picture.

It's very much in vogue to talk about "work-life balance." And if ever the question of that balance was most important – and difficult – it's when babies and kids enter the picture. This week we interviewed Mike Stommel, who seems to have figured this out pretty well, to tell us what worked for him and his family, what didn't, and how it's evolved over time. And as an added bonus, your hosts had a thinly veiled fight on-air about how it's working (or not) for them. What more could you ask for?!

"I try to follow routine. I think for us is about trying to find the balance between work life and spending quality time with the kids during the weekdays as well," says Mike Stommel, founder and principal of Lucky Break PR firm, a hard working dad. "I think that when they were newborns it was much easier. As they get older you have much more responsibility for their activities."
Mike says that after the age of 6 it's really important to keep a balance of trying to put the phone down, put the computer away and focus on "not-in-front-of-screen" activities, like cooking dinner, working with kids on homework or working on after school activities.

"My 10 year old is acutely aware of how much time I spend on my phone or my computer," he says. "I think that for the longest time she'd like to say that I didn't work, I just stared on my computer all day… and I'm like, 'honey that is work, I work for my computer.' so I think for her she's always asking why I'm always working and I feel like when I give her response it sometimes it's something like my parents would say. ('you like nice things don't you?!). I do feel a little bad, I think again It's finding balance and making sure that I take time off, I disconnect from electronics, I do dinner, I cook dinner pretty much every night, I sit down, do homework with them…"

Mike shares his hard work on finding the work-home balance. "Kids are taxing," he says, "it's difficult sometimes it's exhausting. It's also extremely rewarding. It's about finding a balance, it's about getting someone to watch your kids so you can go out and have drinks with friends and actually have adult time and balance out baby time. I think it's all about prioritizing and having that support system. Friends and family it's hugely important."

"If you are two parents and you are raising kids – get on the same page and never let the kids see you separated, especially as the kids get older. Especially it's about managing the kids and being consistent."



About Mike Stommel: Founder & Principal, Lucky Break Public Relations. Mike is a seasoned media professional with nearly two decades of experience leading high-impact PR campaigns for some of the nation's most established and respected brands. A coastal Virginia native, Mike grew up in a rural area with his parents and three sisters. Following his graduation from Virginia Tech, Mike moved to Los Angeles, California eventually meeting his now husband of 17 years. Mike enjoys a healthy balance of work and family life as a husband, father of two young children, and the founder of a thriving national communications firm. A frequent traveler for both work and leisure, Mike maintains an active lifestyle whether it is hitting his local CrossFit gym or supporting his children on the sidelines of weekend youth sports leagues, enjoying a family day at the beach or riding bikes around Los Angeles. Mike is an avid supporter of LGBTQ causes and is passionate advocate for LA's homeless youth.

Episode Credits:

Co-Hosts: Yan Dekel, Alex Maghen
Guest: Mike Stommel, Lucky Break Public Relations
Opening Theme: Hercules & Love Affair, "Leonora" buy here

Change the World

Judge's Decision in NY 'Compassionate Surrogacy' Case Involving Gay Dad Overturned

Though compensated surrogacy remains illegal in New York State, "compassionate surrogacy" arrangements are remain legal

Last week, an unanimous four-judge panel, part of the New York Appellate Division in Brooklyn, New York, revived a gay dad's petition to adopt his son born via surrogacy. The dad, identified as "Joseph P." in court documents, had earlier been denied his petition to adopt by a Queens County Family Court Judge, John M. Hunt. The Queens judge denied the petition because compensated surrogacy contracts are illegal in New York. However, the child born to Joseph was born via "compassionate surrogacy," meaning his gestational surrogate was not compensated.

The Appellate court's decision, written by Justice Alan D. Scheinkmanm called Hunt's decision "clearly erroneous," and held that a new Family Court judge should re-hear the case.

Judge Hunt's decision is all the more confusing since Joseph had actually already become a father via surrogacy in New York—three times over. In each instance, he used donor eggs and a friend serving, voluntarily, as the gestational surrogate. He had his first child in 2012, and then twins the following year. In all three instances, a Family Court judge granted Joseph's adoption petition, given that each child was conceived via "compassionate surrogacy," meaning no money changes hands in the course of a surrogacy journey between carrier an intended parent. This type of surrogacy arrangement is not illegal under to New York law. The social worker in Joseph's latest attempt to adopt, Gay City News noted, also gave him a favorable review, calling him "a mature, stable, and caring person who intentionally created a family of himself, the twins, and John."

Gay City News notes: "Justice Scheinkman provided a careful description of the laws governing surrogacy in New York. The Legislature provided that surrogacy contracts are unenforceable and treated as void. However, the only surrogacy contracts actually outlawed are those where the surrogate is compensated. It was clear to the Appellate Division that the Legislature did not mean to outlaw voluntary surrogacy arrangements, merely to make them unenforceable in the courts. Those who enter into a compensated surrogacy agreement face a small monetary fine and people who act as brokers to arrange such agreements are liable for a larger penalty. There is no penalty for voluntary, uncompensated surrogacy arrangements."

Read the full article here.

Entertainment

How Fatherhood Has Impacted Tom Daley's Diving Career for the Better

British diver Tom Daley, and new-ish gay dad, is looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in South Korea.

British diver Tom Daley is currently in the running to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in South Korea, his fourth if he competes, at the young age of just 26.

But he also has another concern that most young gay men his age couldn't fathom—fatherhood. He and his husband, filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, recently welcomed Robbie Ray via surrogacy in June 2018.

In an interview with the Independent, Daley explained how fatherhood has changed his routine and training, which he says is often for the better.

"It has changed my life completely in all of the best ways possible," Daley said. "It has changed my perspective, the way I think about things. [My son] is the most important thing in my life, everything I do is for him, everything I think about he is at the forefront of everything."

With respect to his diving career, Daley continued, "if you have a bad day at training, or a good day, you are grounded immediately when you get home through the door because you are having cuddles or you are having to change a dirty nappy. It is the first time that I have been able to leave diving at the diving board and not think about what I need to the next day in the pool."

Whatever the challenges he faces while training, he said, "I can leave it there because you don't have time to think about diving when you are looking after a kid under one."

The strategy seems to be working in Daley's favor. He recently enjoyed his most successful FINA Diving World Series ever this past Spring in Canada, winning 12 medals across five events. And barring any major catastrophe, he is overwhelmingly expected to qualify for South Korea 2020.

And we can't wait to cheer the young dad on!

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.

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Politics

America's First Gay Dad Governor Heads Into the Lion's Den

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently became the first elected Democrat to speak at the annual Western Conservative Summit in Denver

Last Friday, American's first gay dad Governor, Jared Polis, became the first elected Democrat to speak at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, where he urged the Republican crowd to help him build a "Colorado for all."

"While we should never gloss over the things that divide us, there is a lot more that unites us," Polis said. "When we close ourselves off from discussion or debate, and we reject the possibility of hearing and understanding other perspectives, it threatens the fabric of our democracy."

If he was hoping for a Kumbaya moment, he didn't exactly get it. As he was called to the stage, he was greeted with a smattering of applause—while others booed and shouted for a "recall" of the Governor.

"It was almost unbearable for me to sit there to listen to his talk," Abby Johnson, one of the event's attendees, told the Denver Post. "And I'm going to tell you why. He kept talking about equality for all persons, yet we live in a society where 60 million innocent human beings have been slaughtered in the name of choice. Where is their justice? Where is their equal rights?"

Polis was also criticized from his left flank for attending the same event that refuses to let the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP members, participate—and that featured Donald Trump Jr. as a speaker the same day. "To me it feels like vanity," Katie Farnan, a staffer with progressive group Indivisible, told the Denver Post. "He can go and be a hip Democratic governor who isn't afraid to go into GOP sanctuary. Or maybe it's recall insurance. But unless he was there to hold them accountable for their support for fascist and racist policies, what's the point?"

In response to the criticism from both sides of the political aisle, Polis told the Colorado Sun: "I think it's very important that Coloradans of different ideologies, different races, different geographies, different orientations and gender identities all really celebrate that we're all part of what makes Colorado great."

The event is hosted each year by Colorado Christian University to bring together conservatives from around the state, and the larger West.

What do you think, dads? Was Polis's decision to speak at the event a savvy political move or mere pandering?

Fatherhood, the gay way

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