Gay Dad Life

Finding Normal

If you ever come across people who say, I don’t care what people think of me," I give you permission to bitch-slap them. Everyone, absolutely everyone, cares what other people think. It’s human nature, like eating, lying and stealing. Well, maybe not eating. This is L.A. after all.


I was just a little boy when I first became aware of what other people thought of me. Back then the worst thing someone could possibly think was that I was gay. I didn’t even know what gay meant, but it felt like something bad… something you didn’t want to be. At that age, it had nothing to do with whom you love, but rather what you love… what music you listen to, how you dress, how you walk, how you talk and how you hold your wrist. And by those standards, I, for all intents and purposes, was pretty gay. And so the pretending not to be began.

When all the other kids joined little league, I joined too and pretended to be a jock. Turns out, I was surprisingly good at getting the basketball past the goalie. Then, when all the other guys rocked out to Metallica, I bought all their CDs. Sure, I’d later have my mom exchange them for Whitney, but the point is, I had to play along. And even though I really wanted to watch the truly outrageous "Jem" cartoon before school, I forced my way through "Transformers" instead. I did all these things to appear the opposite of gay… to appear normal to everyone around me.

Years later, in high school, when I was old enough to understand the true meaning of gay, I still pretended I wasn’t. I deepened my voice when talking to guys. I wore those awful Champion sweatshirts instead of the color-block silk button-downs I desperately wanted. I even… wait for it… slept with girls, as many as possible, just to prove to everyone how not gay I was. (Now that’s dedication!) And when I saved up to buy my dream car — a teal Geo Storm — I instead purchased a dark blue Ford Thunderbird because it was the butchest car on the lot. (Although my furry zebra-print steering wheel cover might beg to differ.)

Then came college, typically known as the best time of your life, but for me meant four more tediou… — trying not to use 's' words because of my lisptortured years of pretending. Trying to be normal was exhausting. (I mean, do you know how many ‘s’ words there are?) I was over it. I needed a change.

So I moved from Philadelphia to Los Angeles and finally came out — to myself and the world. Fast-forward a few years: I meet my dashing soul mate Alex, we get married, buy a big “f*ck-you” house in the suburbs and together adopt the most genuine, ridiculously adorable, hella cool kid imaginable. I am wondering, did I just become what I pretended to be my entire life — did I just become normal?

In a word: hell-to-the-yeah!

As soon as I became a father, I finally had something in common with all those guys I grew up with, the normal guys I pretended to be like. I became an honorary member of the fatherhood club, a fraternity of dads who speak that once-foreign “Dad-Bro” language:

“Hey, brah, looks like you’ve got a ball player on your hands.”

Guys that celebrate each other’s parental victories...:

“Potty-trained at two?" (High-five.) "Well played, brah.”

…and support each other’s failures:

“Sorry about the minivan, brah. But don’t worry, your balls will eventually grow back.”

Turns out, the very same people that grew up calling me gay are now praising all my gay family pics on Facebook. It’s like having a child made me a man’s man in their eyes. I no longer had to pretend to be like them; I was them. Well, the thinner, healthier, tanner, wittier, more in-shape, more successful, fuller-head-of-hair version of them.

I always knew having a child would change my life in a million positive ways… but I never expected fatherhood to bring the one thing that always eluded me: acceptance, approval and a sense of normalcy. I’m finally just one of the guys. And I owe it all to my son.

Thanks, little dude. Dada loves you.

P.S.   If by chance any young gay kids are reading this, let me be very clear about something — YOU ARE NORMAL. You’ve always been normal. It’s other people’s perceptions that are sometimes abnormal. I didn’t figure this out until I was an adult, but I can tell you from experience, there’s nothing more normal than being yourself.

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Gay Dad Life

Karamo Brown Co-Writes Children's Book with Son, Jason

The 'Queer Eye' star and his son named the story on a family mantra: You are Perfectly Designed

When his sons, Jason and Chris, were young, "Queer Eye" Star Karamo Brown repeated the same saying to them: "You are perfectly designed."

That mantra is now a Children's Book, cowritten by Karamo and his 22-year-old son, Jason, who used to come how and "say things like, 'I don't want to be me, I wish I was someone else, I wish I had a different life." As a parent, that "broke my heart," Karamo told Yahoo! Lifestyle. "I would say to him, 'You are blessed and you are perfect just the way you are,' as a reminder that you have been given so much and you should be appreciative and know that you're enough — I know that the world will try to tear you down, but if you can say to yourself, 'I am perfectly designed,' maybe it can quiet out some of those negative messages."

The illustrations, by Anoosha Syed, also make a point of displaying families of a variety of races and sexual orientations throughout the book.

Read more about Karamo's fascinating path to becoming a gay dad here, and then check out the video below that delves deeper into the inspiration behind "You Are Perfectly Designed," available on Amazon.



Gay Dad Life

The Suburban Gay Dad

Are you intimidated by the suburbs? This gay dad was — but then he moved there.

In a recent article for Yahoo! Lifestyle, Steve Jacobs says the thought of living in the suburbs as a gay dad "intimidated" him. But when he started fantasizing about garages, he began to question that notion. Any apprehension he had soon evaporated, he said, one winter morning while trying to navigate the snowy streets of New York City with a stroller.

While "pushing the stroller through snow banks and pools of slush with snowflakes stinging our faces," he wrote, "a vision came to me: I pictured us walking into a garage, hopping into a car, and arriving at a diner with 10 times less drama. This image planted the seed of moving to the 'burbs that I couldn't shake."

Soon, the family of four found a house in a town a half hour outside the city. "It had grass and a beautiful yard for our spirited kiddos. The schools were good. There were even good restaurants. The only red flag: Census data estimated only 0.1 percent of the population was gay male."

There were some "growing pains" while trying to make friends in this environment. "When we attended our first dinner party, within minutes the hostess went to the kitchen and the other wives followed her, while the husbands settled into the living room. Ira and I froze, looking at each other. In the city, our straight friends hadn't separated out like this for the evening. Should we stay with the dudes, exert our masculinity, and blow off the mom we liked? Or does one of us go with the wives and accept the personal branding that comes with that? We did a quick rock paper scissors in the foyer. Ira went with the wives."

But ultimately, "being a parent defined me more than I ever imagined it would," he wrote, and he settled in nicely to his new suburban life.

Have you had a similar adjustment, from city life to the suburbs? Tell us about it at dads@gayswithkids.com for an upcoming piece!

Gay Dad Life

"Fridays with Fitz": A New Kid's Book Based Upon the Son of These Two Dads

Tracey Wimperly, author of the new children's book, said she hopes to give a more honest portrayal of the role grandparents play in the lives of children.

Guest post Tracey Wimperly

I've recently written a children's picture book (aimed at 2-4 year olds) called "Fridays with Fitz: Fitz Goes to the Pool." Every Friday - when his two dads go to work - Fitz and his grandparents (my husband, Steve and I) head off on an adventure. Through the eyes of a curious and energetic 3 year old, even ordinary adventures, like riding the bus or foraging for fungus in the forest can be fun and magical.

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One Single Gay Dad's Trailblazing Path to Parenthood Via Surrogacy

20 years ago, Gene became the first single gay man to work with Circle Surrogacy in order to become a dad — trailblazing a path for many others since.

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

"I think I was pretty naïve, I guess," chuckled Gene, one of the first single gay dads to work with Circle Surrogacy over 19 years ago. "I just had made a decision and went out and did it, and wasn't really thinking about how difficult it might be or what other people thought, being first at doing something."

So how did Gene hear about surrogacy as an option for single gay men? Well, it began with Gene flipping through a bar magazine. He recalls seeing an ad about a woman providing a service to connect gay men with lesbians in platonic co-parenting relationships. While he started down that path, working with the founder, Jennifer, he remembers thinking, "What if I meet someone? What if I want to move? It would create all these complications."

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"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.

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Falling for Fall: 33 Photos of Gay Dads and Kids at the Pumpkin Patch

Oh my gourd, it's fall! To celebrate, we rounded up 33 pics (and whole lot of pun-kins) in our annual fall photo essay!

Don your checked shirt, grab them apples, and shine those smiles while perched on pumpkins — it's the annual fall family photo op! A trip to the pumpkin patch and / or apple orchard is a staple family fall outing, and we're here for it. 🎃🍎🍂👨👨👧👦

Thanks to these dads who shared their pics with us! Share your own to dads@gayswithkids.com and we'll add them to this post!

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Gay Dad Family Stories

David and Ben Met on the Dance Floor — and Are Now Grooving Their Way Through Fatherhood

David and Ben, who became fathers with the help of Northwest Surrogacy Center, live in Melbourne with their daughter, Maia.

In 2003, while both studying at Reading University in the UK, Ben Suter and David Cocks met after locking eyes on the dance floor and then being introduced by a mutual friend. Ben, a meteorologist and Operations Manager, and David, an Assistant Principal, have been together ever since. They moved to Australia together in 2010, seeking a different life, and an overall better work-life balance. The chose Cairns in Queensland as their new home, between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, "taking life a bit easier," said David. The couple were also married in June 2016, back home in England.

While David always wanted kids, Ben took a little convincing. So they started their parenting journey with a dog, Titan, who quickly became like their first born. From there, Ben came around rather quickly.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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