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."

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Today is National Coming Out Day, and as we celebrate, we're sharing six coming out stories from dads in our community. Their personal stories are heartwarming, relatable, and empowering. Happy Coming Out Day, and remember, live your truth!

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Change the World

10 Inspiring Coming Out Stories From Gay Dads

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our recent stories about gay men with kids coming out to live their most authentic lives.

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our best articles of gay dads coming out to live their authentic lives.

#1. Former NFL Player Jeff Rohrer, and Father of Two, Comes Out as Gay and Marries Longterm Partner

Jeff Rohrer, a father of two teenage boys via a previous relationship with a woman, is the first NFL player to marry another man. Read the article here.

#2. Coming Out to His Wife Was Painful, Says This Salt Lake-Based Dad of Four. But it Started Him on a Path of Authenticity

After Kyle came out to his wife, with whom he has four children, "she listened, she mourned and she loved," he said. Read the article here.

#3. Gay Dads Share Their Coming Out Stories for National Coming Out Day

We asked several gay dads to share their coming out stories in honor of National Coming Out Day, whose stories are heartwarming, instructive, and everything in between. Read the article here.

#4. Gay Muslim Single Dad Writes Op Ed on His Path to Self Acceptance

Maivon Wahid writes about the challenges of reconciling three separate, but equally important, identities in an opinion piece for Gay Star News. Read the article here.

#5. One Gay Dad's Path Towards Realizing Being Gay and Christian are Not Mutually Exclusive

Gay dads Matt and David Clark-Sally talk about coming out, parenting as gay men, and reconciling faith and sexuality. Read the article here.

#6. Republican Utah Lawmaker, and Dad of Two, Comes Out as Gay in Moving Video

Nathan Ivie has many important identities he's proud of: Mormon, Republican, Utahn, father of two... and gay. Read the article here.

#7. How Coming Out Helped This Gay Man Find the Strength to Be a Dad

Steven Kerr shares the moment he came out to his ex-girlfriend. "From that moment on," he writes, "my strength and purpose have grown." Read the article here.

#8. Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. Read the article here.

#9. The Best Part of Coming Out, Says This Gay Dad, Is Being an Out and Proud Role Model for His Daughter

"I couldn't face myself in the mirror and think that I could be a good dad and role model for my child when I was lying to myself every moment of every day," said Nate Wormington of his decision to come out. Read the article here.

#10. These Gay Dads Via Previous Marriages Have Adopted a Motto Since Coming Out and Finding Each Other: "United We Stand"

Vincent and Richard both had children in previous marriages with women; together, with their ex-wives, they are helping raise seven beautiful kids. Read the article here.

Change the World

Single Gay Man Adopts Girl Passed Over by 20 Previous Families

Luca Trapanese, a gay dad from Naples, Italy, adopted a baby with Down syndrome who had been rejected twenty times previously

Luca Trapanese, a single 41-year-old gay man from Naples, Italy, had always wanted to become a dad. But in Italy, it was only legal for married heterosexual couples to adopt until 2017. Even then, he was told that he'd only be able to adopt a "hard to place" child, with mental or physical challenges.

"They told me that they would only give me sick children, with severe disabilities, or with behavioral problems," he told the BBC in an interview. "I was absolutely ok with that."

And that's how Alba, a little girl with Down syndrome, came into his life. Abandoned at birth, she had been passed over by 20 separate families before Luca was approached about providing her a home. Luca, who has worked and volunteered with people with disabilities from a young age, readily agreed.

"I'm proud to be her father," Luca said. "Alba was never a second option because she had a disability. I wanted her to be my daughter."

Listen to the entire interview here.

Coming Out

My Gay Shame Is Officially Cancelled

After years of feeling ashamed of being gay, David Blacker has finally overcome it. And his son had a lot to do with it.

Scrolling through my social media feeds, reading all the posts about National Coming Out Day reminds me just how valuable it is for us to share our stories and be as open, vulnerable and authentic as possible. Warning: this article is about to get real AF, so now might be a good time to switch back to the Face-Aging app that gives Russia all your personal data.

Oh good, you stayed. Don't say I didn't warn you.

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Growing a Thicker Skin

Experiencing hateful and hurtful comments, Erik Alexander had to learn an important lesson: how to ignore the trolls.

Photo credit: BSA Photography

Twenty years ago when I came out, it was unbearably hard. As I have written before, I am from the Deep South. Anyone who dared to deviate from social norms was sure to be ostracized. It's not that these people were born hateful or mean; rather, it probably had more to do with them not being subjected to other lifestyles. Anything different from their own experiences sparked fear and confusion. Homosexuality, interracial relationships, religious differences – these were all unfamiliar territories to the average person I grew up around. Thus, growing up was particularly difficult.

I remember lying in bed at night when I was a little boy. I would pray and beg God to not let me be gay. Every single night I would end my prayers with "... and God, please don't let me have nightmares and please don't let me be gay." I remember crying myself to sleep many nights. I was embarrassed and ashamed. And I wanted God to cure me.

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Finding work/life balance is hard enough... but can be even harder for gay dads.

Having kids is an amazing part of life, and it should be fun. Life does tend to get in the way sometimes, and one huge aspect of that is work. Striking that balance between work and home life is tough. If you both work it's even harder.

And if you're a gay couple, it can have it's own set of problems above and beyond the standard work-life issues that people face. Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study that focused specifically on the experiences of same-sex couples who wanted to make moves towards a work/life balance.

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These Adoptive Dads Gained an Extended Family Through Foster Care

Adoptive dads Edward and Andrew have maintained a close relationship with their twins' biological family.

Celebrating gay, bi and trans fatherhood is what we do on Gays With Kids. We rejoice in whatever paths our community took to become parents. But many of those journeys come with heartbreak, sometimes for the intended parents, and sometimes for the biological family from whom the adoption or foster placement occurs. With an open adoption, the adoptive and biological families come to an arrangement which best benefits the child, and that's when something truly beautiful can occur. This isn't always possible in every scenario, but when it does, we're exceedingly thankful. Can a child ever have too many family members loving them? Not likely. This was husbands of five years Edward and Andrew Senn's experience.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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