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

Gay Dads Featured on Cover of Parents Magazine for First Time

Fitness guru Shaun T. and his husband Scott Blokker are the first gay dads to be featured on the cover of Parents Magazine

I literally never thought I'd see the day. Literally.

Gay fathers on the cover of Parents Magazine! Gay fathers being celebrated in a "main stream" publication about being parents. Gay fathers!

I don't want to get overly dramatic here, but this is a milestone. A massive cultural milestone.

Sure, gay dads have come a long way in being accepted in our popular culture, but to my eye we've never been on the cover of a big popular parenting magazine celebrating our parenting skills. As if we are the norm.

We are now - thanks to Parents Magazine.

This is a particular milestone for me because I have a bit of a history with the magazine and with parenting publications in general. My first job out of grad school was in brand marketing at Johnson's Baby Products where I did indeed run advertising in this particular magazine. Back then though we only featured married, straight couples. There were no other kinds of parents to feature back in the day! And if I'm to be really honest, they were generally white, married, straight couples.

I distinctly remember one photo shoot where I forgot to put a wedding ring on the "husband's" finger and we had to reshoot it. No photoshop back then!

Now admittedly this was before I was a dad and before I was out, but as the years went by and I embraced my own journey as a gay dad, there were no role models or pop culture markers to say that I (and other gay dads) were accepted. There were no Andy Cohens publicly making baby announcements. We were alone on our parenting.

It was hard. There was a constant barrage of straight parenting norms that constantly reminded us that we were different.
Not any more! Being a gay dad, or any dad, is now simply being a parent. A good parent. A loving parent. And we have Parents Magazine to thank for the reminder and endorsement, with hopefully more to come.

And I can't help but think, and actually know, that this kind of normalization will inspire the next generation of gay dads who will simply accept, without hesitation, that fatherhood as a gay man is a real, accepted, and normal option.

Bravo!

Gay Dad Family Stories

9-Year-Old Girl Starts Successful Jewelry Line With Help of Gay Dads

Riley Petersen is 9 (!) and already a Creative Director, with the help of her gay dads

Riley Kinnane-Petersen is 9 years old, enjoys playing tennis, being with friends, has a pet cat, and lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her two dads, John Petersen and William Kinnane. She's also the official Creative Director of a successful jewelry line she founded with the help of her dads. Two years ago, John even quit his day job to assist in the day-to-day operations of the jewelry company.

What began as a long road to adoption for William and John, has become a thriving creative business, and more importantly a family.

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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

Study Finds Two-Thirds of Gay Dads Experienced Stigma in Last Year

The study also found that over half of gay dads have avoided certain social situations in the last year for fear of experiencing stigma.

According to new research by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the vast majority of gay men and their children experience some form of stigma. The findings are based on a survey of 732 gay father across 47 states in the United States.

More gay men are becoming fathers each year, and have more options for doing so than ever before: including adoption, foster care, and surrogacy. However as the study's authors write: "Despite legal, medical, and social advances, gay fathers and their children continue to experience stigma and avoid situations because of fear of stigma. Increasing evidence reveals that stigma is associated with reduced well-being of children and adults, including psychiatric symptoms and suicidality"

Almost two-thirds of respondents, or 63.5%, reported experiencing stigma based on being a gay father within the last year. Over half, or 51.2%, said they have avoided situations for fear of stigma, in the past year. Importantly, the study found that fathers living in states with more legal protections for LGBTQ people and families experienced fewer barriers and stigma. Most experiences of stigma (almost 35%) occurred, unsurprisingly, in a religious environment. But another quarter of gay dads said they experienced stigma from a wide variety of other sources, including: family members, neighbors, waiters, service providers, and salespeople

Surprisingly (or perhaps not?) another source of stigma cited by the study originates from other gay men. "Gay men report suspicion and criticism for their decision to be parents from gay friends who have not chosen parenthood." The study also says gay dads often feel "isolation in their parental role."

The study concludes, "Despite growing acceptance of parenting by same-gender adults, barriers and stigma persist. States' legal and social protections for lesbian and gay individuals and families appear to be effective in reducing experiences of stigma for gay fathers."

Read the whole study here.

Gay Dad Photo Essays

5 Pics of Ricky Martin In Newborn Baby Bliss

He may be a superstar most of the year, but with a new baby girl at home, Ricky Martin is just a regular ol' dad deep in the throes of newborn baby bliss.

On January 1st, 2019 superstar Ricky Martin and his husband Jwan Yosef shared a post via Instagram announcing that they'd welcomed a baby girl named Lucia into their family.

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Broadway Husbands Talk Eggs, Embryos and Exciting News

The husbands explain what is considered a good egg retrieval.

In their previous video, Broadway Husbands Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna shared that they found their egg donor. In this video, the dads-to-be discuss their embryo creation process. And - spoiler alert - there are now frozen Hanna-Shuford embryos, and the husbands are ready for their next step: finding a gestational carrier.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

Adoption for These Dads Was Like a "Rollercoaster" But Well Worth the Ride

After multiple scam attempts, bizarre leads, and a birth mom's change of heart, Jason and Alex finally became dads.

Photo credit: Dale Stine

Every gay man who pursues fatherhood fights for their right to become a dad. They've had to keep going even when at times it's seemed hopeless. Jason Hunt-Suarez and Alex Suarez's story is no different. They had their hearts set on adoption; overcame multiple scams, some very bizarre leads, a birth mother's change of heart at the 11th hour, their adoption agency going bankrupt, and tens of thousands of dollars lost along the way. But after a long, turbulent, and heart-wrenching three-year-long journey, it was all worth it.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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