Newly Out Gay Dads

Derek McClary on Coming Out as a Gay Dad and Living His Authentic Life

Derek McClary, 41, from Ontario, Canada, has known he was gay from a very young age. He was teased and tormented for much of his childhood, starting in the fourth grade and continuing through the end of high school.


Before moving away to attend university, he actually made a conscious decision to "straighten out" to make sure the bullying didn't follow him to his new life. It was during these years that he met the woman who would become his wife. The two graduated from the same program in 1998 and were married soon after in 2001. Two daughters eventually joined the family.

Coming out

After more than a decade of trying to hide his authentic self, Derek had finally made the decision to tell his wife the truth -- that he was gay. While he struggled with just how and when to tell his wife, by January of 2014 he was forced into action. Sensing a possible threat that he would be outed became the impetus he needed to approach his wife one evening as she was cleaning the dishes after dinner.

Derek recalls that the two sat down and talked for a very long time. He summoned the courage to be completely honest with his now ex-wife. They agreed that they needed to work towards a separation, and, keeping their daughter's needs top of mind, they kept the communication open and honest.

Within a week Derek and his wife had confided in most of their friends and family. Before sharing the news of the impending separation with their daughters, they decided to take a family vacation to Walt Disney World. And they brought close family friends along with them. While all the adults on the trip knew about the impending changes that would soon affect the family, none of the kids did. As such, Derek remembers that the trip had some very surreal moments.

In March, the month following their family trip, Derek moved out into a condo that was close to the home in which his ex and two daughters would continue to live. "All in all it was as amicable as possible," shared Derek.

Coming clean to his kids

At first, neither Derek nor his ex-wife explained the true cause of the separation to their girls, who were 9 and 5 at the time. It wasn't until after Derek had been living in his condo for a couple of months that he and his ex-wife finally sat down with them to explain that their marriage ended because their daddy was gay. Derek says that they didn't really process the news fully as they were still hurting from the surprise of the separation.

"It didn't change their opinion of me," said Derek. "They told me that they still loved me." His eldest daughter was upset because she had just told all her friends about her parents' separation, and now she felt like she needed to share the reason behind their separation. His younger daughter asked if he wanted to "kiss boys" and then went back to playing.

On co-parenting

Today, Derek co-parents with his ex-wife. While she has primary custody, Derek gets the girls each Wednesday and every other weekend. "We try to support and enable each other to be individuals as well as co-parents," said Derek. "Our relationship has its ups and downs, but for the most part we are consistent and supportive of each other and our kids."

"I really don't think I have this thing mastered enough to give anyone advice," shared Derek honestly, though as you read more we think you'll understand why we respectfully disagree.

"We try to communicate as much as possible. And our situation has definitely been helped immensely by the fact that we live so close to each other. Also, everyone knows about our situation...friends, neighbors and even teachers. In fact, some of the kids' teachers have responded in a real positive and amazing manner to my coming out and to showing the girls real empathy following our separation!"

Derek tries to model a decent, respectful life for his two daughters. He is more liberal than his ex-wife, which can sometimes cause issues. He works at balancing his need to express his gayness and liberal opinions in a way that doesn't impact his daughters' relationship with their mom and friends.

Living his authentic life

"Coming out is such a personal and emotional event in each of our lives," recognizes Derek. "It really should happen on your own time and according to your own terms."

Even so, the reality is that under the best of circumstances not everyone we know will be open to the news.

"I lost some friends because of my decision," admits Derek. "However, the opportunity to strengthen many of the relationships that I had and the chance to build meaningful new relationships while being my authentic self has been incredible! Only now do I realize how much being in the closet limited my potential."

Derek is clearly still very much enjoying his new life. "Coming out has brought out my true personality." explained Derek. "I'm in a gay volleyball league that has allowed me to meet many amazing guys who have become really supportive friends."

Derek continues, "I have the privilege of being out at work and in my community. The only real struggle I have now is when my eldest daughter catches me checking out guys. She rolls her eyes a lot!"

"It's not always an easy journey," Derek says, ending his story for Gays With Kids. "And it sounds cliché, but we really only get one chance at life. Being true to yourself is so incredibly worth it!"

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Gay Dad Opens Up About His Experiences With Conversion Therapy

The California-based gay dad was one of 8 people to be interviewed about his experiences with the disproven practice of conversion therapy for The Cut.

Conversion therapy, the disproven practice of attempting to change an individual's sexual orientation through psychological interventions, has been in the news a lot lately. This past May, Maryland became the 11th state to completely ban the damaging therapy for minors. Some states are even considering bills to further prohibit the practice for adults.

Hollywood is paying attention to the trend, with two major movies, Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron Post, to be released before the end of the year.

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Gay Dad Comes Out to Son in a Hidden Camera TV Show

The scene, which aired in a recent episode of What Would You Do?, took place in a New Jersey diner.

A recently aired episode of ABC's What Would You Do? featured a staged situation in which a gay man comes out to his son in a restaurant in New Jersey. The premise of the show, which features hidden cameras, is to subject unsuspecting people to a certain dilemma, and then gauge their reaction as the drama unfolds.

This latest episode was inspired by a popular op-ed in the Washington Post by a man named Jared Bilski titled "My dad lived a lie. I'm determined my kids won't have to do the same." In the piece, Bilski writes about the regret he feels for his father, who finally came out to him just a few days before he passed away.

Bilski writes in part, "It wasn't death he was afraid of, at least not at that moment. My dad was terrified of how I'd react to hearing he'd been lying all along."

What would passersby in a crowded diner think of a father coming out to his son in a similarly-staged situation? John Quiñones, who hosts the hidden camera show, sought to find out. In the scene, a man, seated next to his wife, tell their son they are getting a divorce because of his sexual orientation. The couple then leave the room, leaving the son alone, pondering this news.

Fortunately, most of the feedback the young man receives from other diners who overhear the conversation are positive.

"You didn't lose him," one diner tells the son. "He is the same person with the same values and the same emotions. Let me tell you, it doesn't matter what age you are, divorce is divorce. It hurts. But these two people don't change. These two people still love you very, very much."

"It's still your dad, man," says another "Accept him for what it is, you know? It's the only thing you can do."

"Being gay, it's not a big deal," says yet another. "It doesn't change the fact that he's your dad."

You can watch the full clip of the touching episode here.

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

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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.

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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.

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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 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?"


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