"Dadvocates" Gather in D.C. to Demand Paid Family Leave for ALL Parents
"Dadvocate" and new gay dad Rudy Segovia joined others in D.C. recently to educate lawmakers on the need for paid family leave for ALL parents
On Tuesday October 22, Dove Men+Care and PL+US (Paid Leave for the United States) led the Dads' Day of Action on Capitol Hill. A group of over 40 dads and "dadvocates" from across the states lobbied key member of Congress on the issue of paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads. They shared stories of their struggles to take time off when welcoming new family members and the challenges dads face with no paid paternity leave.
Gay dad Rudy Segovia with dadvocate Alexis Ohanian
The group was co-led by paid paternity leave dadvocate Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit and husband to Serena Williams, who shared his own personal story of taking leave to be with his daughter after Serena had a challenging birth and recovery. The dads split their time and spoke with several key legislators including U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Chuck Schumer, Marco Rubio, Majority House Whip U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, as well as representatives from several Democratic presidential candidates.
Dadvocate and new gay dad Rudy Segovia attended and was proud to be part of the Dads' Day of Action and to share his story. Here's his recollection of the day.
"Words cannot express the pride that I felt and continue to feel as a part of the Day of Action. This day stood to bring awareness for paid paternity leave and shine spotlight on fatherhood. As a member of the LGBTQA+ community, I was honored to be able to have our voices heard in this conversation.
In our situation, our child will be raised by two fathers, and that's where paid paternity leave becomes a central issue. It's not a "luxury," but a necessity because many gay fathers need to travel for their adoption or surrogacy, sometimes lasting weeks, and that's not even time to spend at home with a newborn or new member(s) of the family.
Before the Day of Action, we had a group dinner, so we could hear all the stories of the dads. I shared our personal journey, as did the other dads. As the only gay father in the group, I wasn't sure how my story would fit in with everyone, but I was overwhelmed with the love and support from everyone.
On the Day of Action, we began with a few group photographs before we split up into three group. Having never been inside Capital Hill, I didn't know what to expect. Our first meeting was with Senator Cory Booker's staff. I was delighted to see the rainbow and trans flag hanging outside his office (of course I needed a photo). I was able to share my story of fatherhood as a gay dad, and why paid paternity leave is so important in our situation and many dads like us. Meetings like this continued with Senator Gillibrand and with Senator Hawley's office.
Throughout the day, I was constantly met with support and love. This historical event taught me that we always need to be open and proud of who we are. Some people may not understand or have ever met a gay father, but once you put a face to our types of families, and the more open we are, the more we can do our part to change the world. I can't wait for the day that I can share this story with our child, and want her to be proud of the work we were able to accomplish and the importance of fatherhood that we were able to share."
Rudy and his husband Andy holding their baby daughter, born November 2019
Remember to sign the Paternity Leave Pledge as we continue to advocate for paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads and stay tuned while we continue to advocate and share next steps.