Gay Dad Life

Father’s Day is upon us: reflections on fatherhood

I think I’ve written about this before: what Father’s Day means to me and my family. Sadly, because it means so little, we had to have another discussion this past weekend about when we celebrate whom and why. I know, not very committed, right? In our defense, we’re still very new to this…I am a dad 365 days per year, but I’ve only been one for a good fourteen months.

Last week, I visited my own father. My dad is the quintessential straight male. Born into a conservative family in 1941, he left raising the kids to my mom. In fact, he worked so hard and so much that I have very few (less than a handful) memories of him actually stepping in. The only time he really got involved was when I hit my mom with a flute over the head (horrible child that I was, I know) in protest, wanting to play the piano instead. Rather than chastising me with a belt, as my mom had demanded, we talked. It worked wonders, and I was scared shitless. The second time he got involved was when my folks found out I am gay. He picked me up from school, and we talked. It was the worst conversation of my entire life. So, overall, as a parenting role model, my dad was not much to write home about: he never taught me how to shave and we never had the ‘talk’. Only recently, now that I’m forty-six, he told me the best way for a man to pee standing up. Thanks, Dad. TMI! Forty years ago, I might have appreciated the tip, but now? I’d still rather sit than go through public displays of you know who…

During my visit, the topic of parenting came up. As we talked, he suddenly blurted out just how proud he was of me and Alex and how we raise our son, so far his only grandchild.

I was deeply touched because, to be honest, I don’t reflect much on being a father anymore. I think most of you parents of toddlers can attest that they simply keep us too busy to spend much time thinking about anything. And when they’re not up and about, we are so tired that we tend to take naps whenever and wherever we get a chance, just to keep up with our most basic need of sleep.

I’m not even sure if I really do qualify as a good parent. I mean, I get upset with Sascha all the time, when he’s picking dirt from our potted plants, or when he insists on eating the sand on the playground rather than just playing with it, or when he opens our closet and pulls out all the shoes, throwing half of them downstairs. Or worst, when he goes after the cat food, putting some into his mouth and the rest into the water bowl. (Having a cat on a veterinary special diet is expensive enough, having to replace the bowl all the time…) I’m just saying, there are a lot of “don’ts” and “stay aways from that,” which in my mother tongue translates into a gazillion of “si lo’s!” (pronounced approximately ‘c lo’), a word I’m sure he understands perfectly well and quite masterfully chooses to ignore.

After my talk with Dad, and his unexpected compliment, I started to wonder what it was that made me such a great parent in his eyes. He didn’t really mention much apart form being there and being patient, and I guess that’s really it. We’re just there, we watch over our kids, we protect them, we’re there for them, we love them, we nurture them, and we do what every other parent does (you may read, “what every other mom does”). And I know plenty of straight dads who do the same. Times have changed – and they are changing – and I’m just being a parent.

When push comes to shove – when the pungent smell announces the need for an urgent diaper change, when our little ones trip over their feet and hurt, when they stretch out a finger to point at something full of questions, when they literally fall asleep on our shoulders – we parent, we change those diapers, we treat rashes, we blow on little wounds and make them go away with gigantic Band Aids, we answer questions with long answers as if we were taking a college test, and we hold our babies, rock them, kiss them, and make sure they sleep as gently as they can on our square and not very soft shoulders. And there is one thing that connects the dots between all of these selfless acts: love, unconditional love. And love knows no sexual orientation; love knows no gender. We’re all simply parents. I only wish that everyone could see it that way.

So, come Father’s Day this Sunday, I hope that I might get some time off, maybe sleep in an hour – catch up on some of that sleep I miss so much. This hope, of course, depends on my son’s inclination for where he wants to play. If he starts to play in his room, right above ours, I can forget about sleep. But maybe Alex will cook for me on Sunday and do laundry and the rest of my chores. Who knows? It would be nice to be acknowledged for the love we give, not because we expect recognition, but simply as a way of saying, “I appreciate and I see what you’re doing for me/us.” Come November, and Swedish Father’s Day, I’ll make sure to highlight Alex’s contribution as well.

With that, I wish you all a very happy Father’s Day, and on behalf of all of our kids: thank you! Keep up the good work you all do.


Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

Dads Tell Us Their 'Gayest Moment Ever' as Parents

We may be dads — but we're still gay, dammit! And these "gayest moments ever," sent to us from our Instagram community, prove it.

Did your child know all the lyrics to Madonna songs by age 3? Do your kids critique all the red carpet lewks from the Tony Awards? Do you often have baby food, diapers, sparkling white wine, gourmet appetizer, and fresh cut flowers in your shopping cart — all in one trip? If you answered 'yes' to any of the above, you just might be... a gay dad.

We asked the dads in our Instagram community to share their gayest moments as a dad, ever, and their responses were just as hilarious as they were relatable.

Here's a great way to start the week...

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Photo Essays

How Single Dads Are Celebrating Valentine's Day This Year

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers! We caught up with 8 single gay dads to see how they plan to celebrate Valentine's Day with this year.

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers; it's also a day to celebrate our loved ones. And that's exactly what these single dads are doing.

Within our community, GWK has a large group of admirable, active, and awesome (!) single dads and we want to honor them! On Valentine's Day, they and their kids celebrate their family unit in the sweetest possible ways. We asked the dads to share these moments with us, and, where possible, one of the most heartwarming things they've experienced with their kids on Valentine's Day to date.

Hear their stories below.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Photo Essays

11 Gay Couples Share Secrets to Their Long-Term Relationships This Valentine's Day

This Valentine's Day, we spoke with 11 gay dad couples who've been together for almost a decade or longer to learn what's made their relationships last

You're the peanut butter to my jelly, the gin to my tonic, the strawberries to my cream, the Mr. to my Mr.!

Happy Valentine's Day folks! We're excited to celebrate this day of lurrrrvvve by featuring a few dads in our community who've been together for almost a decade or more! And they're ready to share their secrets to a successful relationship and parenting partnership.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Family Stories

Gay Dads Forced to Flee Russia Find Refuge in Seattle

After fleeing Moscow last spring, this family of four has started new lives for themselves in Seattle.

For almost ten years, Andrei Yaganov, 45, and his husband Evgeny Erofeev, 32, managed to live a fairly ordinary life in Moscow, Russia. The two men both held down respectable office jobs. And their two sons — Denis and Yuri, now 14 and 12 respectively — went to daycare and school without issue. Despite being headed by a same-sex couple in a country with notoriously aggressive laws and attitudes towards the LGBTQ community, the foursome went about their lives just like any other family.

Adoption by LGBTQ couples, like same-sex marriage, is illegal in Russia. But the couple managed to circumvent the ban by having Andrei adopt as a single parent. Andrei became only the third single man in Moscow, he was told during his placement process, to do so.

Keep reading...
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

'A Gay Man's Wife': One Couple's Co-Parenting Journey

The podcast 'A Gay Man's Wife,' explores how one woman makes her marriage to a gay man work for her — and their family.

Guest post written by Michael and Tawyne, hosts of A Gay Man's Wife

Michael: Growing up, I always knew I was different. I knew that what my family perceived as normal wasn't who I was. Only when I hit a certain maturity in my teenage years did I understand that I was gay. Still, I didn't know what that meant for me at the time. When I was 16 I met Tawyne (15) and immediately felt something that I didn't quite understand. She was wild like a tornado and captivated me. Throughout the first year of our friendship we fell in love.

Keep reading...

Supreme Court to Hear Major Case Concerning LGBTQ Foster Care Parents

The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether cities are allowed to exclude tax-funded adoption agencies from foster care systems if they refuse to work with gay couples.

In 2018, city officials in Philadelphia decided to exclude Catholic Social Services, which refuses to work with LGBTQ couples, from participating in its foster-care system. The agency sued, claiming religious discrimination, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit unanimously ruled against the agency, citing the need to comply with nondiscrimination policies.

The case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, follows a 2018 Supreme Court decision regarding a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. In that case, the court narrowly ruled that the baker bad been discriminated against, on religious grounds, by the state's civil rights commission. It did not decide the broader issue: whether an entity can be exempt from local non-discrimination ordinances on the basis of religious freedom.

The court — whose ideological center has shifted to the right since the addition of Justice Brett Kavanaugh in fall 2018 — may choose to do so now. Advocates quickly called on the court to consider the potential impact on the more than 400,000 children currently in the foster care system:

"We already have a severe shortage of foster families willing and able to open their hearts and homes to these children," said Leslie Cooper, deputy director of the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project. "Allowing foster care agencies to exclude qualified families based on religious requirements that have nothing to do with the ability to care for a child such as their sexual orientation or faith would make it even worse. We can't afford to have loving families turned away or deterred by the risk of discrimination."

"It is unconscionable to turn away prospective foster and adoptive families because they are LGBTQ, religious minorities, or for any other reason unrelated to their capacity to love and care for children," said HRC President Alphonso David. "We reject the suggestion that taxpayer-funded child welfare services should be allowed to put discrimination over a child's best interest. This case could also have implications for religious refusals that go far beyond child welfare. The Supreme Court must make it clear that freedom of religion does not include using taxpayer funds to further marginalize vulnerable communities."

The court may choose to override a 1990 decision, Employment Division v. Smith, which created the current standard for carving out religious exemptions. In that case, the court ruled that laws that target a specific faith, or express hostility towards certain beliefs, are unconstitutional — but this standard has long been abhorred by religious conservatives, who think it doesn't offer enough protections for religions. If the court does overrule Smith, it could have far-ranging consequences. " As noted on Slate, "it would allow anyone to demand a carve-out from laws that go against their religion, unless those laws are 'narrowly tailored' to serve a 'compelling government interest.'"

The four members of the court's conservative wing — Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh —have all signaled an openness to reconsider Smith. The ruling's fate, then, likely rests in the hands of the court's new swing vote, Chief Justice Roberts.

For more, read the full article on Slate.


What's it Like to Be a Child of the 'Gayby Boom'?

Tosca Langbert, who grew up with two dads, writes a piece for the Harvard Business Review about what it's like being among the first children of the "Gayby Boom" to come of age.

We've previously written about the pressure on LGBTQ parents to appear perfect, given that so many in the United States still feel out families shouldn't exist in the first place. And we know this pressure trickles down to our kids. But In an article for the Harvard Business Review titled 'The Gayby Boom Is Here to Stay," author Tosca Langbert eloquently writes, from her perspective, about the experience of beingone of the first children to come of age during an era when LGBTQ parenthood is far more commonplace. She and her two siblings, she notes, "were raised in a family that was an impossibility only decades ago."

In the article, Langbert said she knew from a young age that her family was different from those of most of her peers, who had one a father and a mother. But otherwise, she writes, she didn't feel like her family differed much. "Like any other parents, Dad sat in the carpool lane after school and taught us how to ride our bikes," she writes, "while Papa took us to the movies on the weekends and separated the whites from the colors."

Keep reading...

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse