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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Foster/Foster-Adopt

This Gay Couple Was Inspired to Become Foster Dads Thanks to the Show "The Fosters"

Matthew and Brian say they used to feel like "unicorns" as gay foster dads. They're happy to see more LGBTQ couples take the plunge into the foster system.

Matthew Hamparian and his husband Brian Lawrence have been together for over 18 years and live in Columbus, Ohio. "We had talked about children for a long time," shared Matthew. They were inspired by the show "The Fosters," and watched it regularly as one of the staffers of the show was a friend of Brian's. In one of the episodes, Matthew remembers a conversation between a foster child and the biological child of his foster parents. The foster child asks if he was okay with the fact that he had to share his home with foster siblings. He responds that he is okay with it, because he and his family have enough of everything.

"It was very meaningful to us as we were both raised that when you got up the ladder, you threw the ladder back," explained Matthew.

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Gay Dad Life

Gay Single Dads Defend Andy Cohen's Right to Be on Grindr

After the Internet rushed to judge Andy Cohen for signing onto Grindr a couple of weeks after welcoming his newborn son home, fellow single gay dads rushed to his defense.

Last week, we wrote a post about reports that "What What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen had been "spotted" on gay dating app Grindr several weeks after welcoming a newborn into his home. This has some of his followers on social media all worked up"

"Get off Grindr and start being a dad," said one follower who appeared to think single parents must take a vow of celibacy the minute they start changing diapers. "You're sad, that kid has no chance," said another.

Well, suffice it to say that this judgment from people who are presumably not single gay dads of Andy Cohen certainly struck a nerve with our gay dad audience! We received well over 100 comments on this post on Facebook, the vast majority of them coming to Cohen's defense. We caught up with two fellow single gay dads to find out why the story struck a nerve.

"We don't have to live like monks!"

One of the most liked comments on our piece came from Owen Lonzar, who wrote the following:

"I have always been a good single father to my biological son who came to live with me when he was 7 years old. He is now 25 years old and we are very close. I used Grindr and dated while he lived with me. I never had anyone sleep over and he certainly never saw some man he didn't know hanging around my home. Single parents have to date responsibly and with sensitivity to their child but that doesn't mean they have to live like monks!"

We asked Cohen to elaborate a bit more on why the backlash against Cohen bothered him. He had the sense, he said, that much of the criticism against LGBTQ parents comes from gay men without children. "Gay men without kids have a lot to say," he said. "And all of it is ignorant, because they have no idea what it means to actually be a father." He said he was particularly disappointed in gay critics, given our shared history of discrimination. "You would think with all the prejudice we have faced that gay men would be less judgmental themselves," he said.

"Are we supposed to be celibate?"

Another commenter, Josue Sebastian Dones-Figueroa, who is a divorced father of five, questioned what Cohen's critics would prefer him do. "So what, parents are supposed to become celibate because they have kids?" he asked.

We followed up with Josue to ask him to elaborate a bit more: "The idea that just because he is a dad that he would need to stop being a man," he said, questioning why Cohen should have to put his life hold and stop dating, or having sex, just because he's now a father. "If the child is cared for loved and not neglected what is the problem? Life goes on right?"


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

Terrell and Jarius need your help. Earlier this week they were made aware of an act of discrimination against a male transgender student at Johnson High School in Gainesville, Georgia

"Dex Frier was elected by the student body to run for prom king but is now facing backlash from the school's administration," shared the dads via their Instagram. "The school's Superintendent is forcing Dex to either run as prom queen or not run at all. This is very unjust and does NOT reflect the opinion of the parents nor the students."

Watch their video below:

Dex, 17, who came out identifying as male in his sophomore year, spoke with Gainsville Times about being nominated by the student body. "Frier said he kept his emotions in check while at school, but 'the moment I got home, I immediately started crying. I've never been shown so much support before,' Frier added."

He was later informed by school officials that his name had been withdrawn and he could only run in the prom queen ballot.

Sadly, there have been rival petitions started in support of Dex's nomination being withdrawn, and he's received backlash from those who believe he shouldn't be able to run.

Although Terrell and Jarius do not know Dex personally, they were made aware of what was happening through Jarius co-worker who is a parent at the school. "He's such a brave kid and is standing firm in his beliefs, and we should support him," said Jarius.

These dads are asking all of us to take a minute and sign this petition and share with friends and family, or anyone you think could help.

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Learn How These Dads Used Social Media to Find Their Surrogate

In the latest "Broadway Husbands" vlog, Bret and Stephen discuss the rather unconventional way in which they found their surrogate: through a Facebook group.

In this, the Broadway Husbands' sixth video, Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna discuss the rather unprecedented process they went through to find their surrogate. The lucky couple also chat about winning an "Intended Parents" competition, which granted them the free services of a surrogacy agency who is now helping guide them (and their new surrogate!) on their journey.

In the first video below, get caught up to speed with the dads-to-be. Plus: there's bonus footage! Ever wondered about the financial side of their journey? In the second video, Bret and Stephen talk candidly about how they're managing to afford their dream of fatherhood.

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Gay Dad Life

Internet Conflicted About Advice Given to Closeted Gay Dad in the Guardian

Ok fellow gay dads: if you were the advice columnist at the Guardian, what would you have said?

Recently, in a post titled "I met my girlfriend's parents – and realized I once slept with her father," a man wrote into the advice column at the Guardian with the following predicament:

"Five years ago, I went through a bi phase and used to sleep around with pretty much everyone that came along, including other men. This changed when I fell in love with my new partner, who is everything to me. I recently met her parents and halfway through lunch realised that I had slept with her father. I was going to propose, but when my partner and her mother were away, he told me to end it with his daughter. I'm obviously in love – shall I just ignore him, or tell my partner?"

Pamela Stephenson, the Guardian's columnist, responded as follows:

"I am not sure you could ever have a comfortable future with your new partner. To tell the truth would be to court disaster: a probable break-up, plus the risk of a permanent rift between father and daughter and father and wife. Hiding the truth would lead to toxic secret-keeping that could be equally destructive in the long run. If this whole family was as open-minded and sexually open as you, it might be possible for you to become part of it. However, the father – your former lover – has made it clear that you will not be welcome. Walk away now, and avoid the massive pain that would otherwise be inflicted on your partner, her family and yourself."

Not all commenters agreed with Stephenson's advice.

"Assuming your girlfriend knows that you were bi until falling in love with her and that you slept with everybody in your path [which she deserved to know up front anyway] then you can give HER the option what to do with this bond, rather than leaving the choice to her dad," said one commenter.

Another said, "Walking away without explaining why would be callous and also allow the father to escape the possible consequences of his actions."

It's worth noting that none of these commenters, nor the columnist, are or will ever be gay dads, whose perspective on this bizarre situation may be uniquely valuable. Many gay dads have become fathers while still in the closet. And even those who became dads after coming out can still sympathize with the detrimental impacts of the closet on our lives and those of our families.

So what say you, gay dads, about this man's predicament?

Gay Dad Family Stories

This Women's History Month, Gay Men Honor the Gals Who Help Make Them Dads

Each and every man becomes a dad with the help of a woman. We asked gay dads to honor one who helped them along in their path to parenthood to help us celebrate women's history month.

Each and every one of us became (or will become) a dad with the help of a woman--more often than not, with the help of multiple women. So this Women's History Month, we choose to celebrate these women by asking you to tell us a bit about them. Enjoy these inspiring stories below. Want to honor a woman in your life who has helped you become a dad? Tell us about her at dads@gayswithkids.com

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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