Gay Dad Life

For Gay Dad Families, Travel Advertising Frequently Misses the Mark

Do you know what I love about modern television and online marketing? Advertisements that speak to me and that I don’t mind watching or looking into more. A catchy ad does wonders for a brand, like the Disney World ads that have tiny bits of magic woven into them. Or the ad for Holiday Inn that is all about a couple checking in before picking up their newly adopted baby. These ads are so great. And I love the advertisements that are directed to the gay population. It’s nice that marketing firms and businesses understand the need for rainbows, glitter and sweaty boys, because I want to take my kids on a family vacation to a place where that’s all they experience. Wait, what?


My Issues With Cookies

Being a gay dad with two small kids and a husband, when I’m reading an article on the web and a sidebar ad pops up for a glitter-covered booze-fest in the Mediterranean, I’m not feelin’ it. I manage my own blog site where the terms “LGBT” and “gay” are used continually, and yes I am reading work from other gay writers, and yes I’m reading about travel trends, so yes, the cookies on my computer want me to enjoy the gayest of the gay travel experiences. Forget that I’m writing and publishing about travel with kids, my cookies know what’s best for me and my family, and I guess what we need is a week aboard a wild cruise ship or at an all-gay resort.

What I’d like to see is this: a promo video before we watch something on YouTube that shows two dads playing on the beach in Jamaica with their kids. Maybe Jamaica was a bad choice, as it’s not the most gay-friendly destination.  Or I’d love to see a banner ad with two moms and their kids flying the friendly skies.

And you know what? A getaway without the kids can actually happen, and you’d think that couples like us might fancy a different sort of getaway …  just like a husband and wife might plan. You know, we’d love to getaway to an all-inclusive couples resort and know that we’re welcome versus assuming we will be. In the late '90s and into the '00s there were some legal issues with a certain brand being for “couples only” and clearly excluding LGBT couples. That’s since passed except for resorts in Jamaica where homosexual acts are illegal. Anyways, getting back on topic.

The other issue I face with advertising based on cookies and writing about our gay family is that certain algorithms love to pair our blog and associated social media with, um, rather playful and lewd sites that also include gay-oriented content. “Follow @2TravelDads on Twitter. You may also like… @xxxbillyboys…” Yeah no. That’s not related to our content at all. The easily distracted tweep will see a suggestion for following or some other content and then we may lose his engagement. So long research on gay-family-friendly travel, hello glistening gym bods … Cookies and like-interest marketing make it tricky to maintain a connection and engagement with short attention spans or guys that are only curious about our travel tips and stories, but not actually researching for practical use.

Travel Advertising on Television

Did you know that the LGBT population enjoys destinations beyond Ibiza and Palm Springs? It’s true. In the U.S.A. we tend to enjoy hiking in the mountains, golf and even, dare I say it, professional sports. It’s rare to see a billboard targeting LGBT populations around the States and it’s even more rare to see television spots showing our families or lives. It’s totally true that there are some brands that have created ads displaying two moms or two dads in regular, domestic life, but those are few and far between, and typically you need to search the Internet for it because that’s where you’ll see the ads. You don’t see live television ads portraying two dads and their kids on a couch eating Doritos and watching a football game. You don’t see two moms holding hands watching their kids splashing in the waves, trying to coax same-sex families to the tropics.

What I do see on television: mom, dad, son, daughter – exploring a cruise destination or walking down Main Street, U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom.

If you’re going to advertise during “Grey’s Anatomy” or “How To Get Away With Murder" on ABC, shows with gay characters and accurate distribution of gay population through the cast and viewership, you might as well capitalize on that audience and show a commercial with two men heading off to their honeymoon aboard Singapore Airlines. You could make money capturing some market share from the two women planning their winter adventure to Montreal but who haven’t booked Air Canada flights yet … Just a suggestion.

Online Gay Travel Advertising

We'd like to see some appropriate cookie-based advertising. When we’re researching “family travel Iceland” and “traveling with kids UK,” we’re still not seeing ads that play to us, either as gays or a family. Why is that? True, the second I start looking for flights to Mexico I see Puerto Vallarta and all its rainbows, but why so inconsistent?

What I see online: sidebars of heterosexual couples walking on a beach; autoplay video ads of that same family of four we saw on TV but now at a baseball game. And seniors. How does my computer know that I go to bed early and can’t sleep past 5:00 a.m.?

With today’s technology, including social media apps that are authorized within all kinds of other programs, you’d think that online advertisers would be effectively using the information and preferences of their users more accurately. It would just be nice if they were able to be more specific in their advertising, and able to go beyond advertising to the general gay population that fits into the stereotype travel companies seem to think is spot-on and they should adhere to.

My Expectations for Gay Travel Advertising

I guess I shouldn’t be complaining that at least advertising does treat me like a standard traveler not just a gay traveler, but it would be nice to be directed more easily to tours and travel that would suit my specific family. Most of the travel ads we see aren’t offensive, which is nice, but it would be great to see something that was very specifically for me and I think we have the technology in this day and age to do so. Here’s the truth: If we saw ads for two cruise tour companies with the same exact offerings, or even airlines for that matter, we would book with the company that clearly understands its potential clientele.

I think it’s safe to say that the gay community all around the world understands the need to support our own business as well as others that make an effort to incorporate us. As a free piece of advice to the travel boards, airlines, cruise companies and hotels around the world:  market to us and follow through on the vision you create.  Make us want to enjoy traveling with you and then over-deliver on the awesome. That sounds like a lofty request, but it’s not tough to do. Need help? Contact me!

Rob (left) and his husband Chris with their two kids seeing the world

 

Read more of Rob Taylor's writing on his blog 2TravelDads.

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

Broadway Performer's Surrogacy Journey Briefly Sidetracked — for One Very 'Wicked' Reason

"Broadway Husbands" Stephen and Bret explain the exciting reasons they had to hit pause on their surrogacy journey — but don't worry, they're back on track!

In the latest video of the Broadway Husbands sharing their path to fatherhood, Stephen and Bret explain their hiatus for the past 4 months. The couple have big news to share including a relocation, a job announcement, and the fact that they're getting ready to restart their journey (which they had to take a brief pause from since September).

Watch their video to find out their latest news.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Top 10 Reasons You Should Date a Gay Dad

Jay Turner lays out the top 10 reasons you should consider dating a single gay dad

We're gay dads. Many of us were married to women, and for various reasons we eventually found ourselves single and looking for companionship from another man. Life is a little more complicated for us because we have kids. But that shouldn't deter you from seeking a relationship with a gay dad. In fact, there are many reasons why we make better partners than men without children. We are generally more mature, responsible, and emotionally available. We are also better communicators.

Here are the top ten reasons why you should date a gay dad:

Keep reading... Show less
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 Family Stories

These Gay Dads Lost Everything After Hurricane Dorian — Except Hope

The couple, who live in "Hope Town" in the Bahamas, lost everything after suffering a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian this past summer.

Max Bethel-Jones, 52, had traveled to more than 120 countries over the last 30 years working with the United Nations, but had never been to the Bahamas — in 2015, he decided to apply for a private teaching job as a special needs teacher in Freeport on the island of Grand Bahama.

Just weeks after his arrival, he'd get a whole lot more than another pin in his map of visited countries when he attended a social event at Freeport Rugby. "My object was to ogle the local male talent but several women had other ideas," he said. One woman was particularly insistent, he said, but after a couple of drinks she got the hint that he batted for the other rugby team. "She promptly told me there was someone I should meet."

Keep reading... Show less
News

Gay Dads Told One Must Identify as 'Mother' to Enroll in Daycare

The Israeli gay dads told one must identify as mother — like a "normal couple" — in order to receive financial assistance for daycare.

Israeli dads Guy Sadak Shoham and Chai Aviv Shoham were trying to enroll their two-year-old twins in daycare when they were told by a government official that one would need to identify as the "mother" in order to be cleared.

According to Out Magazine, the couple was attempting to apply for financial aid to help pay for the costs of preschool when a government bureaucrat called them to discuss their eligibility.

"I understand that you are both fathers and understand that you both run a shared household, but there is always the one who is more dominant, who is more the mother," the government said, according to an interview on the Israel site Ynet (translated by Out Magazine). "I am just asking for a written statement in your hand which of you is the mother. From the point of view of the work, which works less than the father. Like a normal couple."

The official, apparently, said she was beholden to rules set for in the Ministry of Economy.

"It is mostly sad and a little disturbing," one of the dads told Ynet. "These are concepts that we consider the past. We do not necessarily come up with allegations against this representative, she is ultimately subject to the guidelines and as she said, they are the state. It is also sad that the state's definition of a mother is someone who works less and is at home with the children, and that we must choose which of us meets that definition."

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, fortunately, issued an apology following the incident, and promised to update its protocols. "We will emphasize that the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs practices explicitly treat all types of families and grant equal rights to all," the ministry wrote in a statement, an apology that was called "insufficient" by Ohad Hizki, the director-general of the National LGBT Task Force.

"The Ministry of Labor and Welfare must sharpen its procedures immediately to prevent recurrence of cases of this kind, as other public organizations have been able to do," he said.

Read more about this story on Out Magazine.

News

World's First Sperm Bank Opens for HIV Positive Donors

Sperm Positive, started by three non-profits in New Zealand, hopes to end stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood

"Our donors have so much to give," say the promotional materials of a new sperm bank. "But they can't give you HIV."

The new sperm bank, Sperm Positive, launched on World Aids Day this year by three non-profits as a way to fight stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood. For years, scientists have known that those living with an undetectable level of HIV in their blood thanks to antiretroviral treatments can't transmit the virus through sex or childbirth. Yet discrimination and stigma persists.

The sperm bank exists online only, but will connect donors and those seeking donations with fertility banks once a connection is made on their site. Sperm Positive was started by three New Zealand non-profits — Body Positive, the New Zealand Aids Foundation and Positive Women Inc. — who hope the project will help disseminate science-backed education and information about HIV and parenthood.

Already, three HIV positive men have signed up to serve as donors, including Damien Rule-Neal who spoke to the NZ Herald about his reasons for getting involved in the project. "I want people to know life doesn't stop after being diagnosed with HIV and that it is safe to have children if you're on treatment," he told the Herald. "I've experienced a lot of stigma living with HIV, both at work and in my personal life that has come from people being misinformed about the virus."

We applaud the effort all around! To read more about our own efforts to end the stigma surround HIV and parenthood, check out our recent round-up of family profiles, resources, and expert advice that celebrate the experience of gay dads living with HIV here.

Change the World

'Homosexuality is Wrong' Utah Teacher Tells Boy Who Gave Thanks for His Two Adoptive Dads

The substitute teacher went on to say two men living together is "sinful." She was fired shortly after.

To anyone with a heart, the moment should have done nothing more than bring a tear to the eye. Last week, just before the Thanksgiving break, a substitute teacher in a fifth grade class in Cedar Hills, Utah — just south of Salt Lake City — asked her students to name something they were thankful for this holiday season.

"I'm thankful for finally being adopted by my two dads," said Daniel, one of the boys, when it was his turn.

Rather than grab a tissue to dab her eyes, or ask the classroom to join her in a hearty round of applause to celebrate Daniel finding his forever family, the teacher took it upon herself to impart her personal religious beliefs onto the young boy. "Homosexuality is wrong," the teacher said in front of the class, adding that it was "sinful" for two men to live together.

The teacher, fortunately, was fired from Kelly Services, the substitute staffing company that employed her, quickly after the incident, but the moment is nonetheless receiving widespread attention in the press — no doubt in part because one of the boy's dads, Louis van Amstel of "Dancing With the Stars," posted a video clip to his 76,000 Twitter followers with the title: "Our child was bullied."

"It shouldn't matter if you're gay, straight, bisexual, black and white," he said to the New York Times in a follow up interview. "If you're adopting a child and if that child goes to a public school, that teacher should not share her opinion about what she thinks we do in our private life."

Louis also revealed that the moment may not have come to light were it not for three of his son's classmates, who told the principal about the teacher's bigoted comments. His son, Daniel, didn't want to report the incident for fear of getting the teacher into trouble.

Louis expressed thanks that the staffing company responded as quickly as it did following the incident — and also stressed that his neighbors and community have rallied behind he and his family in the days afterward, offering support. He wanted to dispel stereotypes that Utah, because of its social conservatism and religiosity, was somehow inherently prejudiced.

"It doesn't mean that all of Utah is now bad," he told the Times. "This is one person."

It's also true that this type of prejudice is in no way limited to so-called red states, and incidents like these happen daily. LGBTQ parents and our children are subjected to homophobic and transphobic comments in schools, hospitals, stores, airlines and elsewhere as we simply go about living our lives. These moments so often fly under the radar — many classmates don't have the courage, as they fortunately did in this case, to report wrongdoing. Some administrators are far less responsive than they were here — and most of us don't have 76,000 Twitter followers to help make these moments of homophobia a national story.

All that aside, let's also get back to what should have been nothing more than a heartwarming moment — Daniel, a fifth grade boy, giving thanks to finally being legally adopted into a loving family.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse