Change the World

How Gay Dads Are Using Instagram to Connect

Meet the gay dads from around the world who are using our Gays With Kids Instagram account to connect with other gay dad families!

It can be easy to dismiss Instagram as nothing more than a place for us to pretend our lives our perfect — smiling families, exotic vacations, maybe a FaceTuned pic or two — but for gay dads, it's more than that. Sure, we share our perfect family pics, too. But for LGBTQ families, who still face discrimination all across the country and world, sharing a picture of two gay dads, smiling happily and proudly with their kids, is also a political act. And it provides us an opportunity to lift up and support one another, wherever our families are, in cities and towns big and small.

And we're proud to provide an avenue for these families to meet and connect via our Instagram page (which just reached over 100,000 followers!!)


"I think the more we all connect the better" — Steve and Ben, with their son, Hudson

Dads Steve Smith and Ben Gaetanos live in Orlando, Florida, with their adopted son Hudson. "Instagram has been a great resource to connect with other gay dad families. We've met people through messages, seeing them on your feed, and from shared hashtags," said Steve. One of the families they connected with were local Orlando dads Ben and Aaron, and their adopted daughter Charlotte. The two families go on regular play-dates, and have enjoyed their shared experiences of being a two-dad family who have both adopted.

"I think the more we all connect and share our experiences the better," replied Steve when asked about if he'd recommend connecting with other families via Instagram. "Instagram is such great tool to showcase that our families are just the same as any other family. It's also nice as a parent to know that someone else out there is sharing in your experience. Parenting is such an amazing journey, and the more we can come together as a "village" to support each other the better!"

Another way this family utilizes Instagram is by setting up an account for their son - @littlemanhudson – so his birth-mom and her family can follow along as he grows up. "It's been such a great way for her to experience his milestones and feel included in all of his adventures."

"I reached out to another family when I saw their location wasn't far from us. It led to our first playdate." — Ricky, Jeffrey, and their kids

The Conways became parents through adoption and have found great success in the location tool on Instagram for finding other dads in their area, Upland, California. "I reached out to one of the families when I saw that their location was not far from us. I just messaged with a hello and started friendly conversations," said Ricky. "Eventually they lead to planning our first play date."

The dads say having a chance to connect with other families that look like their own has bee invaluable. "Being able to connect on a personal level and being able to talk about issues in our family dynamics that you couldn't really get through other families who are not going through the same experience."

Ricky and Jeffrey have made a real connection with fellow Instagrammers Drew and JJ who live nearby and share a passion for all things Disney like the Conways.

"Through the Gays With Kids Instagram, we found gay parents we can connect with almost every day" —Ben, Andy, and their twin daughters

Ben Smith and Andy Armbruster live in St. Louis, Missouri. Though their path to fatherhood was many years in the making, it gave them their twin daughters, Wren and Kit, through surrogacy.

Ben and Andy didn't have a large community of gay friends in St. Louis, and almost none were parents. And when they found out they were expecting twins, this only heightened their desire to connect with others who were either gay dads and had had or were expecting twins. "We didn't know how to find them in person so we created our @TwinLifeDads account on Instagram to try and connect with them," shared Ben. "We knew they were out there, we just didn't know where! We searched hashtags that included things like #fathers #dads #gaydads #husbands #fathersoftwins, etc. We've followed Gays With Kids online and through social media ever since we started thinking about having a family and found the Instagram account the most beneficial."

The dads-to-be (at the time) saw a few posts about gay men who had recently become dads, and so they reached out to a few via direct messages on Instagram, or through some posts that we liked. They ended up finding an incredibly supportive community! "One thing led to another and through the Gays With Kids account and through individual accounts we found same-sex parents that we could contact almost everyday and have honest conversation. It finally made sense to us what social media was all about!"

"We always look out for other Australian families on Gays With Kids," —Tim, Nic, and Dylan

Tim Wang and Nic Cher live in Brisbane, Australia, and became dads through surrogacy in the United States. (Read their story here.)

Tim and Nic have found Instagram to be an incredible tool to meet, connect (or reconnect in some cases) and share a bond with other same-sex families. They've found the recommended accounts on Instagram helpful, and they always keep an eye out for Australian families featured on Gays With Kids. From connecting with two-dad families whilst waiting in line at Disney World – then later realizing they were already friends on Instagram – to in-person meetups with other families.

After a few comments on their photos, and then messages, Tim and Nic met up with Simon of @champagnedadstyle, his husband Holt and their daughter Olivia earlier this year. "They were very welcoming," said Tim. "Simon and Holt fed us, showed us their gorgeous property, and took us on a tour of the grounds to see his three cows (they're super cute). And of course, Olivia, their daughter was just amazing with our little boy. The two played really well together."

They also reconnected with old friends – Gabin and Nathan (@gabinwu) – via Instagram and managed to visit them again on recent trip to the states.

This Australian family's next goal: to get to Family Week in Provincetown one year, and connect with even more dads in person!

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Change the World

4 Tips for Using Instagram to Connect with Gay Dads Offline

We asked gay dads who have successfully met up with other LGBTQ families offline for some of their tips

Last week, we ran a story about several gay dads who did the unthinkable: meet other gay dads IRL after connecting on Instagram! We get MANY questions from gay dads wondering how they can meet up with others in their area, so we decided to dig a bit deeper this week to get their advice. What can gay dads do to meet others off the 'gram?

1. Be kind — share others' excitement in parenting!


From @twinlifedads Ben and Andy:

"Be kind. That is absolutely it. Be kind to each other and don't be afraid to reach out. Respond to each other when you can. Share in excitement for each other. There is no reason to bring someone else down who might be excited about how they are parenting."

2. Drop a couple comments and likes before reaching out!

From @brisvegasdad Tim and Nic:

"I think drop comments now and then on their posts and instastories and see where things land. Chances are, if you're commenting on a post and it is a heartfelt response, they'll click through to your account, look at your photos and connect with you. And that's when the magic happens - you can introduce yourself, talk about your lives and how things are being a parent... and after a while, if you're in the same neighbourhood, you meet up and grow your friendship organically. That being said, I'm obsessed with Bobby Berk from Queer Eye and his husband Dewey Do - if they ever had kids, I'd probably be completely unsubtle and leave strange awkward comments on their instaposts saying, 'GAY DADS MEET UPSSSSS'."

3. Go in with no expectations

From @stevecsmith Steve and Ben:

"I always try to reach out without any expectations – mostly just to provide a positive comment. I like to leave it up to the other parents to comment or message back before suggesting meeting up or a playdate. Every family is different, so how each person is going to respond is different too."

4. Keep trying!

From @theconways13 Ricky and Jeff:

"Reach out to other families, start a light friendly conversation. Get to know each other and let conversations happen organically. If they lead to a play date great! Our first experience in meeting another lgbt family (not through ig/gwk) was very awkward cause there wasn't a whole lot of conversation happening before hand. The conversations leading up to the play date will help make the first play date with the family go a lot smoother and fun. Don't be afraid of not connecting with the other families. If it isn't successful the first time, continue reaching out to to other families- don't let it deter you from reaching out to others."

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