Gay Dad Life

Finding Acceptance for My Gay Family in NYC’s Private Schools

It was an amazing open house at Saint David’s, an all-boys school in the heart of the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The headmaster and his four student disciples delivered an unbelievable and passionate sermon on what the school had to offer—from the amazing facilities and faculty to its vast exposure across all disciplines—and more importantly how they hold true to their mission to “be good men.”


Yet, the headmaster’s final remark truly epitomized how far we still have to go:

“And if you forget everything I have just said over the past hour’s lecture, I want you to look over to your wife and listen to her intuition," he said. "We all know that the mother’s gut is the ultimate decision maker and always chooses the correct path for your boy, his future and your family.”

Holy shit!

I looked over to the empty seat on my right, where my partner, Andy, should have been (he was in Hong Kong for business) and thought to myself, “Is this the reason no gay parents have sent their kids to this institution?” How, in this day and age, in this great metropolitan city of ours with all backgrounds, faiths and orientations, could this be vocalized? How could such a prestigious institution not recognize the myriad ways a family can be composed, and not use the correct word of “spouse” or “partner”? Even then, single parents would be left out of the equation.

The application process for private schools in the city of New York is a rat race for all parents. As gay parents, however, we have the added pressure of making sure the school is as diverse and accepting as they claim to be.  There are simple actions that give a sense of the diversity and thoughtfulness of each institution: Do application forms have “Mr. and Mrs.” scrawled on top? Do they ask questions such as, “Will you and your wife be attending this event?”

Some background on what this crazy process entails: it starts one and half years before your child enters kindergarten. Ridiculous indeed, I know! But welcome to the big concrete jungle we call home. One must start attending open house spring tours the year prior to applying to get a sense of if the school is the right fit for your child and family, but also to start developing a relationship with the admissions committee.

After the tours come the applications, which are released the day after Labor Day and resemble college admissions applications. Did you forget you were supposed to work on an essay over the summer outlining why your child should be granted admission to this school, their strengths and weaknesses, your family dynamic and what specific attributes you are looking for in a school? This essay is standard across all schools, but it needs to be professional and informative, with your own flair and twist.

Once all has been submitted, the school schedules a playdate for your child and an interview for the parents. The playdate is 45 minutes or so, and requires the child to conquer basic tasks of writing, mathematics, social play and independent activities—A mere 45 minutes to determine a successful admission or a complete and utter failure. During the playdate, the parent interview will be coordinated to occur simultaneously. The parent interview allows the committee to dive deeper into your family, the child’s needs and truly learn whether or not you fit their overall plan for the coming year’s admitting class and continued tradition.

The author's partner, Andy, and his two sons

After both the interview and playdate are completed, there are several events in the coming months that are just as important to attend to ensure your presence and commitment is felt. The schools usually visit your child in their current preschool to again assess all their attributes, reconfirming and/or dismissing their planned acceptance.

Once you have narrowed down the schools to your top choices, a very well-orchestrated first choice letter is sent, but the main coordination is between your current exmissions director and the private school. With some back and forth and some pre-commitment discussions, you arrive at a conclusion on what would be the best placement for the child, with his or her best interests at heart. Two weeks into February, the notifications of acceptance are sent, concluding the process with a final acceptance and a signed contract—for the lucky ones. What an enormous roller coaster and commitment.

This process may be particular to the world of New York City’s private schools, but anyone can relate to trying to find the right environment for your child. It was critical for us to find a school that would be accepting of our family dynamic. As we went through the steps of the applications process, acceptance and diversity needed to be demonstrated in the initial stages, in all the paperwork and communications. The lectures, open houses and tours needed to be sensitive to everyone’s identity and family dynamic. Diversity stems from all angles and requires cultural acceptance. The culture is the school’s commitment to progress from the student body, the curriculum and initiatives to accepting criticisms that affect positive actions for powerful change.

If we could give advice to these schools, we’d encourage them to do their research and not be afraid to ask questions! If you know a gay family is applying to the school or joining the tour group, know that it’s okay to ask how your children refer to you, like Daddy or Papa.

Schools should anticipate questions from gay parents as well. How diverse is the school? Are there any other gay families enrolled? What about any gay students who have come out? How have they been supported? What initiatives toward diversity and acceptance are already in the works, and what is lacking or being worked on for the future? All of these questions are standard and show some element of concern and understanding toward progress.

It is completely fine to admit that you don’t yet have a diverse student body, but you must at least be making efforts to place awareness into the curriculum. There must be some understanding that it’s unjust, and a willingness to put corrective actions in place for the future.

Even if we did get accepted to Saint David’s, before signing any contract we would have needed to have a discussion with the administration on having an open-door policy and making sure they were willing to change with the times and admit any lack of sensitivity.

Everyone says you find the school that’s right for you and your family; you just know it when you walk through the doors. For us, we decided on Allen-Stevenson and the Dwight School for our two boys, but saw so many accepting and diverse schools throughout the process, like Cathedral School, St. Hilda’s, St. Hughes and Trevor Day School. You see it in the student body and the parents, and you hear it in educated and formal discussions—it’s emanating from the walls.

These administrations didn’t necessarily have all the answers, but they asked the right questions. This is the key.

 

 

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Gay Dad Life

How Canada's 'Gay Dollar' Helped This Gay Man Reflect on His Biggest Regret—Not Having Kids

Canada unveiled a 'gay dollar' coin earlier this year, helping Gregory Walters reflect on the progress the LGBTQ community has made—and his decision to forgo having children children

Earlier this year, Canada unveiled a rainbow-stripped coin dollar to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country's decision to decriminalize homosexuality. With the coins now firmly in circulation, Gregory Walters, who lives in Vancouver, wrote a moving essay for the Globe and Mail, expressing joy for how far Canada has come on the issue of gay rights, but how the coin is also a symbolic representation of the "greatest regret" of his life—his decision not to adopt children.

Gregory writes that he had hoped to adopt a child ever since his early career working with persons with developmental disabilities. "Several children I worked with were wards of the State of Texas," he wrote. "Their parents having relinquished all rights either owing to egregious acts of abuse or a lack of desire to raise someone with so many needs. There were days when I felt, 'If I could just take you home and raise you.' I knew there was a need for adopting persons with special needs but my own internalized homophobia got in the way yet again. Despite what is probably my own gift in working with children, I never felt worthy enough to be a parent. I always felt that if I were a gay dad it would create more of a liability for the child."

Gregory decision to forgo having children, he says, is his "greatest regret." While he takes responsibility for some of this decision, he also adds: "society's view of homosexuals and its opinions regarding gay adoptions also played a major part."

To critics of Canada's coin, some of who have said its a cheap political pander to the LGBTQ community, Gregory concludes with this thought:

"I don't care if the indulged majority who never had to question marriage or raising children or being secure in a job may feel the coin is frivolous. The coin isn't for them in the first place. It's an acknowledgment for those of us who repressed our true selves and felt oppressed. It is for gays who never lived to see rights and protections enshrined in law. It is for younger LGBTQ people to learn more about how far we've come and to gain a deeper sense of gay pride. For these reasons, the coin has value so much greater than any monetary designation. The coin represents both empowerment and normalization."

Read Gregory's full essay here.

Gay Dad Life

8 Pics of Ricky Martin Being an Adorable Dad Because Why Not?

Here's some pics of Ricky Martin being an adorable dad because we've ALL had a long week and deserve this don't we??

Earlier this year, in January 2019, superstar Ricky Martin and his husband Jwan Yosef shared a post via Instagram announcing that they'd welcomed a baby girl named Lucia into their family. With twin 9-year-old sons in the house as well, Ricky and Jwan now have a very full casa. Fortunately, the dads are giving us a little glimpse into their chaotic but fun-filled home lives via Instagram. We rounded up 8 of our fav recent parenting pics by the popstar because we've all had long weeks and we deserve this don't we??

Enjoy!

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Gay Dad Life

17 T.V. Shows Featuring Gay Dad Characters

Gay dads are all the rage on the small screen these days... here are 17 shows that prominently feature gay dad characters!

The 2019-2020 TV season will soon be upon us! In recent years, gay dad characters have been all the rage... will we see more representation this fall? We sure hope so! But in the meantime, we'll be content reviewing this list of 17 shows that have (somewhat) prominently featured gay dad characters!

Also we KNOW we're missing some, so drop us a line in the comments to tell us what we should add!

1. Grace & Frankie

In this Netflix original series, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston play gay dads who come out to their wives and children well past their primes. Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda play the ex-wives, rounding out the star-studded cast. Now in its fourth season, the show has been well received and sheds an interesting light on the complications involved with fathers who come out later in life.

Entertainment

How Fatherhood Has Impacted Tom Daley's Diving Career for the Better

British diver Tom Daley, and new-ish gay dad, is looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in South Korea.

British diver Tom Daley is currently in the running to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in South Korea, his fourth if he competes, at the young age of just 26.

But he also has another concern that most young gay men his age couldn't fathom—fatherhood. He and his husband, filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, recently welcomed Robbie Ray via surrogacy in June 2018.

In an interview with the Independent, Daley explained how fatherhood has changed his routine and training, which he says is often for the better.

"It has changed my life completely in all of the best ways possible," Daley said. "It has changed my perspective, the way I think about things. [My son] is the most important thing in my life, everything I do is for him, everything I think about he is at the forefront of everything."

With respect to his diving career, Daley continued, "if you have a bad day at training, or a good day, you are grounded immediately when you get home through the door because you are having cuddles or you are having to change a dirty nappy. It is the first time that I have been able to leave diving at the diving board and not think about what I need to the next day in the pool."

Whatever the challenges he faces while training, he said, "I can leave it there because you don't have time to think about diving when you are looking after a kid under one."

The strategy seems to be working in Daley's favor. He recently enjoyed his most successful FINA Diving World Series ever this past Spring in Canada, winning 12 medals across five events. And barring any major catastrophe, he is overwhelmingly expected to qualify for South Korea 2020.

And we can't wait to cheer the young dad on!

Change the World

One Gay Dad's Fight Against Hate in Superior, Nebraska

Brian Splater is refusing to let homophobic and transphobic elected officials in his town go unchecked

Millie B. Photography

Guest post written by Brian Splater

No one ever should feel they will have a very lonely and secluded life as a child. But that is something me and many other gay kids believe as they are growing up.

The truth of the matter is there are people who will try everything in their power to have our rights go back in time instead of forward. It is very disheartening when these people are elected officials, or they are people who use their place of employment to spread their disgust and hate.

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Politics

America's First Gay Dad Governor Heads Into the Lion's Den

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently became the first elected Democrat to speak at the annual Western Conservative Summit in Denver

Last Friday, American's first gay dad Governor, Jared Polis, became the first elected Democrat to speak at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, where he urged the Republican crowd to help him build a "Colorado for all."

"While we should never gloss over the things that divide us, there is a lot more that unites us," Polis said. "When we close ourselves off from discussion or debate, and we reject the possibility of hearing and understanding other perspectives, it threatens the fabric of our democracy."

If he was hoping for a Kumbaya moment, he didn't exactly get it. As he was called to the stage, he was greeted with a smattering of applause—while others booed and shouted for a "recall" of the Governor.

"It was almost unbearable for me to sit there to listen to his talk," Abby Johnson, one of the event's attendees, told the Denver Post. "And I'm going to tell you why. He kept talking about equality for all persons, yet we live in a society where 60 million innocent human beings have been slaughtered in the name of choice. Where is their justice? Where is their equal rights?"

Polis was also criticized from his left flank for attending the same event that refuses to let the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP members, participate—and that featured Donald Trump Jr. as a speaker the same day. "To me it feels like vanity," Katie Farnan, a staffer with progressive group Indivisible, told the Denver Post. "He can go and be a hip Democratic governor who isn't afraid to go into GOP sanctuary. Or maybe it's recall insurance. But unless he was there to hold them accountable for their support for fascist and racist policies, what's the point?"

In response to the criticism from both sides of the political aisle, Polis told the Colorado Sun: "I think it's very important that Coloradans of different ideologies, different races, different geographies, different orientations and gender identities all really celebrate that we're all part of what makes Colorado great."

The event is hosted each year by Colorado Christian University to bring together conservatives from around the state, and the larger West.

What do you think, dads? Was Polis's decision to speak at the event a savvy political move or mere pandering?

Entertainment

Hate Group Boycotts 'Toy Story' for Featuring Lesbian Moms—Hilarity Ensues on Twitter

"One Million Moms" announced a boycott of the latest Toy Story movie for *very briefly* featuring lesbian moms. Twitter's response was swift and hilarious.

One Million Moms, which is affiliated with the anti-LGBTQ American Family Association, recently called for a boycott of Toy Story 4 for (very, very briefly) featuring (interracial!) lesbian moms in the animated film. The angry, hateful moms affiliated with this group must have watched the film VERY closely because you could easily blink and miss the moment that apparently "blindsided" viewers.

The Internet reacted with a collective facepalm to the ridiculous boycott. Here are some of our favorite hilarious Twitter reactions to the hateful group:

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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