Change the World

Dads Give Their Best Advice to Gay Men Dreaming of Fatherhood

Last week we asked dads in our community a question: what is the ONE piece of advice you would give to a gay man who's considering fatherhood but hasn't taken the plunge yet? We got tons of great advice! See below:


The most common piece of advice we got? Quit procrastinating and just do it! "There will never be the 'perfect' time, says Casey Simon. "Do it! That simple. It is selfless, hard, emotional with sleepless nights and poopy diapers..... but 1 billion times worth every second."

Others agreed that parenthood can be an easy goal to put off. "There are always excuses," wrote Joe Hopkins. "Not being a dad is one of the regrets of my life."

"I haven't done everything right in my life," said Octavius Smiley-Humphries, "but I sure as hell got one thing right and that was becoming a father!"

#2 Be Open to All Possibilities

Fatherhood can occur for gay men in so many different ways. Many of our readers say that being open to different options can help you achieve your goal.

"Be open to ideas and approaches that you would normally dismiss," said Mark Deacon. "Open Adoption, Foster to Adopt, etc.. It may just open up opportunities that will change your life!"

Lots of dads specifically mentioned to be open to the foster care system. "We looked into it last March," said Andrew P Steiner. "Went thru training, and just adopted a wonderful boy. Costs are minimal. Hang on tight, as it can be a long road, but ours went quick."

#3 Do Your Homework!

Another sage piece of advice from our gay dad gurus: make sure you head into parenthood having done your research!

"Read, meet with people and begin," said Zane Alexander. "You can stop in the process, at any time once you're in it. But if you sit on the outside, thinking you will never know and never get started. Dive in."

Other dads offered some practical advice. "Find out if your work has "paternity' or 'bonding' leave," said Matt Burton, who recently finalized the adoption of his son (below). "That way you can spend some quality time bonding with the new child."


#4 You Can Be Gay and Be a Dad

On a site named "Gays With Kids," this piece of advice might seem obvious. But we've heard from many gay men who have told us they thought their sexuality would prevent them from becoming dads. Gay men who are raising kids are here to tell you: you can be gay and be a dad.

"As a gay father of 3 beautiful kids, you CAN be a great dad and also be gay," wrote Jeff Smith. "If fatherhood is in your heart, find a way to make it happen."


#5 You Can Be Single and Be a Dad

This is also a self-evident piece of advice: plenty of men are single parents and are raising happy and healthy kids. But often, many gay men put off becoming fathers for fear of doing it on their own. Several gay dads spoke up to say that, while it may be harder to go it alone, they couldn't be happier to be dads.

"Being in charge of someone else when you're by yourself... can really take a toll," said Michael Wayne. "But my son, adopted from foster care, is probably one of the only reasons I can make it sometimes. You don't need a partner to do it, bro. Boyfriends come and go, but you'll be your kid's dad forever."

#6 Find Your Support System... You'll Need It

Whether you're single or in a relationship, have family nearby or not, many gay dads point to the importance of building a support system---whatever that may look like for you.

"Find a trusted babysitter, daycare, and especially other single (and non-single) parents you will meet," said Bud Lake. "My husband just took one of our sons classmates to school today because his mom was in a bind."

You may need to look beyond your current circle to find the support you need, cautioned PaulnBrendan Upcroft. "Being a father requires a huge commitment of your time and energy," he said. "You will need the support of friends and family who understand what you are dealing with and have some interest in your journey."

#7 Get Your Sleep In Now

A piece of universal advice given by practically every parent? Take time for yourself now! "Take a vacation," said Chad LaDuke. "It will be a while before you get another one without the kiddo."


Read More:

Best Pride T-Shirts for Toddlers!

Best Diaper Bags for Dapper Dads

An Adoption Agency's Top Children's Books Picks

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Change the World

Hungarian Company Raising Money for LGBTQ+ Organization with a LEGO® Heart

Startup WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is helping combat misinformation and prejudice in Central and Eastern Europe

Guest Post from WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD

WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is an innovative startup venture that sells LEGO® parts and unique creations. The core values of our company include social equality regardless of gender identity or origin. As LEGO® is a variety of colors and shapes, so are the people.

We all know that LEGO® is a brand that nearly everyone knows and likes between the age of 3 and 99 so this gives a great opportunity to connect unique LEGO® creations and Pride. We started a fundraising campaign for a Hungarian LGBTQ+ organization who's aim is to bring people closer to the LGBTQ+ community, they help to combat misinformation and prejudice regarding LGBTQ+ issues in Central- Eastern Europe since 2000.

You might know that gender equality and the circumstances of LGBTQ+ people is not the easiest in the former communist Eastern European countries like Hungary so this program is in a real need for help. For example a couple of month ago a member of the government said that homosexual people are not equal part of our society.

The essence of the campaign is when one buys a Pride Heart, a custom creation made of brand new and genuine LEGO® bricks the organization gets $10.00 donation so they can continue their important work. This Pride Heart is a nice necklace, a decoration in your home, and a cool gift to the one you love.

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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."

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!!)

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Fun

Gay Dad Penguins Strike Again! This Time in Berlin Zoo

The latest male penguins to care for an egg together are Skipper and Ping in the Berlin Zoo.

First, there was Roy and Silo — the two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that served as inspiration for the famous children's book And Tango Makes Three. Then Magin Sphen got together in Sydney, where aquarium keepers gave the cocks (Calm down, that's what a male penguin is called!) a foster egg to care for.

And now, please welcome Skipper and Ping in Berlin to the latest list of gay dad penguins! As soon as the two emperor penguins arrived at the city's zoo, they set about trying to start a family, said Berlin Zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaege to DPA news.

"They kept trying to hatch fish and stones," Jaeger said.

So the zookeepers loaned the penguins an egg from a female penguin, who is apparently uninterested in hatching eggs on her own, according to the BBC.

Unsurprisingly, the gay penguins are killing it as parents. "The two male penguins are acting like exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg," Jaeger said,

Read the whole article on DPA here.

Entertainment

Single Gay Dad Featured on Season Three of GLOW

Actor Kevin Cahoon joins the Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting in Vegas as a single gay dad — and drag queen — on Season Three of the hit Netflix show

For a couple of years now, Hollywood has been obsessed with gay dad characters (and who can blame them?) But the latest show to get hip to a story line featuring gay man raising kids is Netflix's GLOW, which explores a female wresting troop in the late 1980s.

But GLOW is helping represent a gay character that rarely gets time in the limelight:the single gay dad. In Season three of the hit comedy — which stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron — actor Kevin Cahoon joins the case as Bobby Barnes, a single gay father who plays a female impersonator. (80s divas only, of course — Joan Collins and Babs among them)


"I've never done female impersonation," the openly gay actor told OutSmart Magazine, "so I tried to learn really quick. You will know them all; I was very familiar with all of them. There were plenty of talk shows and performances on YouTube to study. I learned that their breathing was very informative."

A single gay dad AND drag queen on television? It's about damn time if you ask us.

Read the full interview with Cahoon here.

Politics

Utah Court Rules Gay Couples Can't Be Excluded From Surrogacy Contracts

The Utah Supreme Court found in favor of a gay couple attempting to enter into a surrogacy contract.

DRAKE BUSATH/ UTCOURTS.GOV

Earlier this month, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that a same-sex couples can't be excluded from entering into enforceable surrogacy contracts, and sent a case concerning a gay male couple back to trial court to approve their petition for a surrogacy arrangement.

As reported in Gay City News, the case concerns Utah's 2005 law on surrogacy, which was enacted prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state. As a result, the content of the law is gendered, saying that surrogacy contracts should only be enforceable if the "intended mother" is unable to bear a child. When a gay couple approached District Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox to enter into a surrogacy arrangement, he denied them, arguing that the state's law only concerned opposite sex couples.

"This opinion is an important contribution to the growing body of cases adopting a broad construction of the precedent created by Obergefell v. Hodges and the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Pavan v. Smith," according to GCN. "It's also worth noting that same-sex couples in Utah now enjoy a right denied them here in New York, where compensated gestational surrogacy contracts remain illegal for all couples."

Read the full article here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Thoughts and Prayers Aren't Working:​ One Father's Plea for Gun Reform

One gay dad's plea to our leaders to enact sensible gun control

My articles on GaysWithKids aspire to be lighthearted, helpful and humorous. This one won't be any of those things. Because I'm feeling heavyhearted, helpless and sad. Last week I woke up to news of yet another mass shooting. This time at a family-friendly Garlic Festival in northern California. I don't know if it's because this one hit so close to home, or if it's because the headline included a picture of the innocent 6-year old who was among those killed, but I am overcome with emotion. But mostly I am angry. And I don't know what to do with my anger.

Then, just a few days later came two additional horrific mass shootings that stole the lives of at least 32 more innocent people, many of them children. And then there's the "everyday" gun violence that plagues American cities like Chicago, where guns injured another 46 people this past weekend alone… creating so much turmoil, a hospital had to briefly stop taking patients.

How does one verbalize the collective sadness felt around the world? One can't. And that's why I am asking everyone reading this article to commit to getting involved in some way, to help end this epidemic once and for all. Even though the solution is so obvious, we can't allow ourselves to become numb to mass shootings. Because becoming numb isn't going to save anyone.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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