Gay Dad Life

Finding a Gay Dad Family in Yellowstone National Park

Having two dads isn’t the norm. It’s true. But gosh, it would be nice if we ran into more families like ours out there. We do what we can to raise our kids just like any other parents do, but as they grow, we’ve got an extra step of calling out our family situation. We don’t do it so they feel weird or anything, but so that they’re prepared for the day a child questions them about having two dads. We want the boys to be able to respond with confidence and comfort, especially because some kids just aren’t … tactful.


I love when we find or are given books that are about families with same-sex parents. They’re great stories typically. We really love the book “Daddy, Papa and Me.” It was really helpful when our first son, Panda, was learning to talk and really starting to call us by name. He was able to identify our characters and loved reading this story over and over. Other books we’d read, he wouldn’t really talk about or want to read over and over, but this one he did. We have lots of books with families in them, but not a lot that he really loved.

And I’m bad. When there’s a book that I love, I’ll call the mom character “auntie” or “grandma” so that the story is more relatable. Some people might say that this isn’t a realistic thing to do, especially because the kids will always see more mom/dad families than ones like ours, but I want us to feel more normal, even if at this point in life the kids don’t care or realize we’re different.

How does this have to do with traveling as a family? Well, it’s rare that an opportunity comes up for our oldest to talk about our family structure to others. He doesn’t usually point at a pod of orcas and say “Wow! Look at all of those daddy and papa whales!” He doesn’t see turtles at the zoo and comment “That baby turtle is so lucky to have two moms.” Until a certain point, I wasn’t sure that he realized that we were different than all of the people and animals we’d seen, and that was okay, I guess. I mean, that’s the goal: normalcy. Then comes family vacation to Yellowstone National Park.

Talk about seeing a lot of families. Everywhere. Elk families, bison herds, swan wedges, tourist groups. We were inundated with so many different people and animals to see, there just had to be another gay family among the millions. Not that I could tell. Well, that’s fine, not unusual. And then we came to the Bridge Bay Visitor Center in the Park. This is an interesting place as its focus is on bird species and is full of amazing taxidermy work.

As we wandered through, Panda went off on his own and when I caught up with him, he was either talking to himself or trying to talk to the older lady behind him, and explaining the taxidermy pelican family. What I heard: “So this is a family, and there’s a papa pelican, and a baby pelican, and a daddy pelican, and a brother pelican…” It was just so matter-of-fact. The lady behind him was listening and had a stale look on her face as she watched him. As I walked up to Panda, I asked him to explain it to me one more time because I couldn’t hear him, and I caught what I think is my favorite video of him ever. He again explained it but this time equated each of the birds to us. He identified that this pelican family was just like ours. After he was done explaining again, he looked up at the lady again to ensure she understood, and then she moved on.

Was it a for-real gay bird family, we’ll never know and it doesn’t matter. What I was so proud of was that he was able to identify and explain his family to a stranger and he did it with great confidence. I always worry that he’ll question some aspect of us some day, just because there are people that will try to plant that seed. Seeing him talk about his papa, daddy and brother with pride made me beam. Panda talks about mama and daddy animals all of the time, but it felt good to see him identify with another family like ours.

Did the woman he was trying to talk to think he was cute or understand that he wasn’t confused and that he really does have two dads? I don’t know. Did she leave the museum and call all her friends and tell them that she met a well-adjusted, intelligent child being raised by gay parents? I doubt it. I do know though that hearing a child talk about family and showing their pride is a beautiful way to make progress with others in the world and in my mind, that lady left there with a small smile and positive view of our family.

This is why we travel with our kids. True, we need a getaway just as much as the next parents, but also subtly sharing our story and family with the world is what we can do to pave the way for the next generation of gay parents. We always talk about giving our kids a broad world view, but we can give the world a broader view too.

Read more of Rob and his family's adventures at his blog 2TravelDads.

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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.

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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.

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Gay Dad Life

"Worth Every Blood, Sweat, and Tear": Congrats to Gay Dads on Recent Births and Adoptions!

Wishing all of these gay dads whose families expanded a lifetime of happiness! Congrats to everyone in our community on their recent births and adoptions!

Gay men go through a lot of ups and downs on the path to parenthood. It can be one of the most emotionally draining times in our lives. But as each of these families who are celebrating births and adoptions this month agree: it's worth every hardship.

Congrats to the dads whose families grew this month!

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News

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."

Despite this mundanity, her family remained something to marvel at for much of her youth. When the family moved into a new neighborhood in 2006, it made the local newspaper, with a headline titled, "Gay Father Tests Tolerance in the Park Cities."

She and her siblings have spent much of their lives, she explained further, having to respond to the question: what's it like having two gay dads? For Langbert, there is only one correct response, which is: Amazing! "Any other response, even if simply accounting for a family's nuanced experience, might as well be an outright admission of failure on behalf of the entire LGBTQ community," she wrote.

Children of the 'Gayby Generation,' are also put in the position of having to come out on behalf of their parents, and "often with mixed results," she wrote. She gave the following anecdote as an example:

"My father was asked to step down from his leadership position in my brother's Boy Scout troop on account of his sexuality. Even though my siblings and I were only fourth graders at the time, we understood that our family was under strict scrutiny, and that even the slightest misstep could beget severe consequences for how competent our fathers were perceived as being. In the face of this pressure, the first generation of 'gaybies' recognized the importance of presenting their families as perfect; doing otherwise would only present ammunition to those already dubious about the rights of LGBTQ parents to raise children."

The entire article, which includes the perspectives of multiple now-grown kids that are part of the "Gayby generation," is well worth a read, which you can access here.


Politics

Utah Bill Would Allow Gay Men to Enter Surrogacy Contracts

Rep. Patrice Arent of Utah is sponsoring a bill that will remove a provision that currently prohibits gay men from entering into commercial surrogacy contracts in the state.

Though Utah is not one of the three states that currently prohibit commercial surrogacy contracts, the state's current policy does specifically exclude gay men from doing so. That may soon changed, however, thanks to a bill in the state's legislature that was unanimously voted out of a House Committee that would remove that restriction.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, a Democrat, was created in response to a ruling by the Utah Supreme Court this past August that found the ban on gay men unconstitutional.

Gay men have been excluded from legally entering surrogacy contracts due to a provision in the current law that requires medical evidence "that the intended mother is unable to bear a child or is unable to do so without unreasonable risk to her physical or mental health or to the unborn child," Rep. Arent told the Salt Lake Tribune — a requirement that clearly excludes gay male couples.

The state's original surrogacy law dates back to 2005, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the state, which accounts for the gendered language. Though the state's Supreme Court already ruled the provision unconstitutional, Rep Arent further told the Tribute that, "People do not look to Supreme Court opinions to figure out the law, they look to the code and the code should be constitutional."

Politics

Colorado Republicans Try and Fail to Outlaw LGBTQ Marriage and Adoption Rights

A bill introduced by four Republican state legislators in Colorado that would outlaw same-sex marriage and adoption rights was voted down.

The "Colorado Natural Marriage and Adoption Act," which would have outlawed gay marriage and adoption in the state of Colorado, was voted down in the state legislature this week. The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Stephen Humphrey and three of his conservative colleagues: Dave Williams, Shane Sandridge and Mark Baisley.

If enacted, the bill would have enforced "state law that marriage is between one man and one woman" and restrict "adoption of children by spouses in a marriage ... that consist of one man and one woman."

The bill, which had little chance of success, particularly in Colorado which has trended more progressive over the past several election cycles, was mostly symbolic, according to Sanridrge. "We all know this bill isn't gonna pass in this current left-wing environment," he told Colorado Public Radio. "It's to remind everyone, this is the ultimate way to conceive a child."

In a sign of how far we've come on the issue of LGBTQ marriage and parenting rights, most Republican legislators in the state did not endorse the bill.

Though the bill had little chance of passage, LGBTQ advocacy groups in the state are taking the threats seriously nonetheless. Daniel Ramos, director of the LGBTQ group One Colorado, told LGBTQ Nation that the bills were an attempt to return Colorado to its "hate status" of the 1990s, adding the aggressiveness of the measures were "a bit surprising."

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Dads Talk About Surrogacy Process in New Video for Northwest Surrogacy Center

The Northwest Surrogacy Center interviewed some of their gay dad clients for a video to celebrate their 25th anniversary of creating families through surrogacy!

Image: NWSC Clients

Last year, Northwest Surrogacy Center celebrated 25 years of helping parents realize their dreams. And they celebrated in style by inviting the families they've worked with over the past two and a half decades to join them!

At the party, they took the opportunity to film queer dads and dads-to-be, asking them a couple of questions: how did it feel holding your baby for the first time, and tell us about your relationship with your surrogate.

Watch the video below and get ready for the water works!

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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