F**k Santa Claus

Let’s Be Frank: The Diary of a Divorced Gay Dad

Okay, so I love to be the parent that says what all the other parents are thinking, and I have a big festive message to Santa Claus from all of us: SCREW YOU FOR TAKING CREDIT FOR THE MONTHS OF SPECIAL GIFTS I HAVE ACCUMULATED FOR MY SON.

*breathes*

But seriously. How many of you feel “back-burnered” when Christmas Day comes and you witness your kids repeatedly saying “Thank you Santa!!” as they open present after present that you carefully chose? I do every year. And I’m not a Grinch, don’t get me wrong – I love Christmas and Santa Claus and the mythology and all of that. But it hit me that since our kid was a baby, we’ve been doing Santa incorrectly, and this year I fixed it.

As you could probably guess, Santa Claus is making two visits for my son this year. I have him today, on Christmas Eve, and then I am dropping him off tonight so he can wake up and be with my ex-husband on Christmas Day. I’m okay with it. It changes every year, and this was my year to have him the day before. Santa Claus hit my house last night and will swing by my ex’s house tonight. Taking all of that into account, I realized that our son would be swimming in toys this year, and there was an opportunity to make some changes.

In previous years, the Christmas tree would be almost completely devoid of gifts until the actual morning of Christmas. The shock and surprise in Briggs’ face is permanently burned into my memory, as it was the most beautiful thing to observe. He counted the gifts and proudly boasted “Santa brought me 30 presents!” as we stood there gritting our teeth. It didn’t matter, because at the end of the day Briggs was happy, and the illusion of Santa Claus was real. That was all fine and dandy when we were a traditional non-traditional family, but clearly I had to get creative this year so I implemented a new strategy:

  • I first explained what Santa Claus does for kids with two different homes – he makes two trips.

  • I then inquired what he would like to get from Santa Claus, and aided him in searching for a few gifts he could ask for.

  • Once we got to Santa’s lap, he recited his list to him, unknowing that seconds before, I purchased several of the toys on Amazon while waiting in line.

  • On the car ride back, I explained that he would be getting a lot of gifts from me and then also his gifts from Santa. At this point, the tree was still bare.

  • I dropped him off to my ex-husband’s house for the weekend, per our custody agreement.

  • I wrapped all of the gifts that are from me and placed them under the tree.

  • When he came back to my house, he had the same shock and surprise at all of the gifts, but this time he knows they are from me AND he is getting a visit from Santa to add to the pile.

  • Mission complete – the gifts he asked for from Santa are kind of lame and when he opens his Nintendo 3DS from me, he will be thrilled.
  • Does this sound selfish? Am I going overboard with this whole thing?? I actually don’t think so. I think this is a good idea and also a nice way to essentially ween him off the inevitable – when he finds out Santa Claus is a fraud. This is my way of standing up and letting my son know that I am very capable of choosing thoughtful gifts for him. I think it’s healthy.

    Santa Claus no longer needs to be a God in my house around Christmastime. He’s now just this cool magical dude that supplements presents with specific requests. Yeah, I knocked him down a few notches, but my son is 6½ so within a year or so, some kid will blab the truth. Maybe he won’t be as let down as he would have been before. It might not be as soul-crushing now, because he’s less of a deity.

    I’m not writing this as a suggestion, it’s merely my funny response to this ever-changing family dynamic. I seized the chance to flip things around a little bit, and my son is thrilled nonetheless. And let’s face it, he will be getting double the gifts he usually does because we are a compensation nation. If there was ever a year to spoil my son, it was this one. Happy Holidays to all, and remember, f**k Santa Claus!

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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!

    Keep reading...
    Surrogacy for Gay Men

    Campaign to Legalize Surrogacy in New York Heats Up with Competing Bills

    Two competing bills — one backed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and another by Senator Liz Krueger with stricter provisions — are aiming to legalize surrogacy in New York.

    Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York is once again attempting to legalize commercial surrogacy in the state, which is still just one of three states in the country to forbid the practice.

    "This antiquated law is repugnant to our values and we must repeal it once and for all and enact the nation's strongest protections for surrogates and parents choosing to take part in the surrogacy process," Governor Cuomo said in a statement in announcing a broader effort called Love Makes a Family. "This year we must pass gestational surrogacy and expedite the second parent adoption process to complete marriage and family equality."

    Keep reading...
    Change the World

    Your Marriage Should Be Gayer, Says the New York Times

    In an op-ed for the New York Times, Stephanie Coontz, author of "Marriage: a History," lists the many insights LGBTQ marriages can offer straight ones.

    According to a fascinating op-ed in the New York Times this week by Stephanie Coontz, author of "Marriage: a History," turns out the people convinced marriage equality — legal across the United States for five years now — would usher in the complete breakdown of civil society should be more worried about the health of their own marriages.

    In the article, Coontz details the results of research that followed 756 "midlife" straight marriages, and 378 gay marriages, and found same-sex couples reporting the lowest levels of physiological distress — with male gay couples reporting the lowest. The reason for this, the author said, is pretty simple — misogyny. The idea that men and women should strive for parity in a relationship is still a fairly new idea, Coontz said, and traditional gender roles are still pervasive. Gay couples, meanwhile, are free from such presumptions, which often results in happier, healthier relationships.

    The most interesting findings in the research relate to parenting. While gender norms tend to be even more emphasized among straight people once they have children, with the bulk of the childrearing falling to mothers, same-sex couples — once again freed from the stereotypes of the male/female divide — parent more equitably. As the author notes, "A 2015 survey found that almost half of dual-earner, same-sex couples shared laundry duties, compared with just under a third of different-sex couples. And a whopping 74 percent of same-sex couples shared routine child care, compared with only 38 percent of straight couples."

    When it comes to time spent with children, men in straight marriages spent the least amount of time and the lowest proportion of "nonwork" time, with their children — while men in same-sex marriages spent just as much time with their children as women in a straight relationship. "The result?" Coontz writes, "Children living with same-sex parents experienced, on average, three and a half hours of parenting time per day, compared with two and a half for children living with a heterosexual couple."

    Straight fathers devote the least amount of time — about 55 minutes a day — on their children, which includes things like physical needs, reading, playing, and homework. Gay mothers spent an additional 18 minutes each and straight mothers an additional 23 minutes. Gay fathers spent the most time with their children, the study found, an average of an additional 28 minutes a day.

    Taken together, straight couples spend an average of 2 hours and 14 minutes on their children. Lesbian moms spend an additional 13 minutes, while gay men spend 33 more minutes than straight couples.

    One factor, the author notes, that can help explain this difference is this: gay parents rarely end up with an unintended or unwanted child, whereas a full 45% percent of pregnancies in straight relationships in 2011 (the last year data is available) were unintended, and 18% were unwanted.

    But right. Gay people shouldn't be parents.

    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...

    Fatherhood, the gay way

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