Gay Dad Life

Friday Night Lights

On a balmy August evening, my husband and I took our sons to the “Meet the Football Team” night at Northwestern University, my alma mater. Go Cats! At one point, I looked over at my handsome husband carrying our 7-month-old son in a BabyBjörn as I walked my 8-year-old to the line for the “Pass to a Cat” game, where a young fan throws a football through an opening in a target a few yards away. We didn’t say anything, but I could read my husband’s thoughts. How does a gay male couple end up at an event like this on a Friday night?

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve both been lifelong fans of college and pro football, but it’s still a mystery to us. When we first met fifteen years ago at a bar in the gayborhood known as Boystown on Chicago’s north side, neither of us could have imagined our life now. Yes, we talked about having children. We also talked about moving to New Zealand and opening a bed & breakfast. Only the former has come to pass…for now. Our path together has taken us from the comfort of a gay enclave to the suburbs, complete with tree-lined streets and a picket fence.

We affectionately refer to it as Being Gay 2.0, not an improvement on BG 1.0, but a game expansion with more options. BG 2.0 comes replete with diapers, PTA meetings, soccer practice and emergency trips to the nearest Costco. Perhaps not as dramatic as the riot at Stonewall but LGBTQ parenting is a form of cultural revolution unto itself.

After all, the dear desire of revolutionaries isn’t the perpetual revolution, but the warm comforts of a quiet home and peace on one’s own terms. The preamble to the U.S. Constitution, the most revolutionary document in American history, names “domestic tranquility” as a reason for the establishment of the republic. But it’s hard feeling like a revolutionary when there are no barricades to build or prisons to storm, just diapers to change and birthday parties to plan.

History loves revolutionaries. The children of revolutionaries have a more measured response. The children of revolutionaries inherit their parents’ fight without the background or the conversion experience that drew them to the fight. They are simply born into it. I sometime fear that my sons will grow weary of the being “that gay family," especially since 50% of our family is probably heterosexual. Some parents might tell their kids not to play with them. Some teachers and coaches might step lightly on asking questions about home in order to avoid their own discomfort.

Don’t get me wrong, we avoid obvious confrontations. Despite wanting to get away from Chicago’s cold weather in the winter, our spring breaks are to deep blue states only. When parents talk about the virtues of the Boy Scouts, we nod politely and say nothing. When our son sets up play dates with new friends for the first time, we both try to introduce ourselves as Noah’s dads to avoid confusion and embarrassment at drop-off or pick-up.

Despite all this, our sons will have to navigate through their own journeys amid the casual nature of playground homophobic name-calling, Mother’s Day celebrations that leave them feeling short-changed and learning how to be self-assured in their own masculinity. Perhaps my parents, the immigrants, felt the same disquietude when they moved half way across the planet to find a better life for their sons. Perhaps they had doubts about the foreign culture into which we were thrown.

Of all the arguments against LGBTQ parenting, the “won’t someone please think of the children” mantra hurts the most because there is a ring of genuine concern to it. Although I wish the detractors would be sincere in their concern for all children. I wish they’d consider the thousands of children like ours and the millions of LGBTQ kids who listen daily to the denigration of their families and themselves. What disastrous results will this no-holds-barred culture war have on our kids?

While all of this passed through my head my 8-year-old stepped into the passers’ box. As he lined up his fingers to the laces on the football,  he pulled back his throwing arm behind his head. He threw effortlessly as the ball left his body’s plane in a perfect spiral, tight and wobbleless. His fingers followed through in a way that can only be described as “Bradyesque." The ball sailed through the center of the target with a yard or two to spare. As the collegiate athlete in charge of the game bent down to grab the ball, he gave my son a high five. The young man looked up and gave me the “bro nod” to let me know that I was doing a good job. My son returned to me and butted his head into my ribcage in a boyish gesture of affection. I put my arm on his shoulder for only a quick squeeze and let go so that he could return to his buddies and their boyish antics. As he always does, he calmed my frantic worrying with a quiet and masculine grace of his own design. I’m confident he will set the example for my little one too.

My husband I may have fought our own little culture war to get here, but as I contemplate my family under the bright stadium lights on a warm Friday night, I believe my boys will be just fine. Go Cats!

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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).

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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.

Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Newly Out Gay Dad Feels 'Demoted' After Divorce

Cameron Call showed up to his first family Thanksgiving since coming out and getting a divorce — and struggles to find himself "stuck with the singles."

Cameron Call, who came out in summer 2019, has generously agreed to chronicle his coming out journey for Gays With Kids over the next several months — the highs, lows and everything in between. Read his first article here.

Denial is an interesting thing. It's easy to think you're potentially above it, avoiding it, assume it doesn't apply to you because you'd NEVER do that, or maybe you're just simply avoiding it altogether. After finally coming out, I liked to think that I was done denying anything from now on. But unfortunately that's not the case.

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New Report Details the 'Price of Parenthood' for LGBTQ People

A new report by the Family Equality Council takes a deep dive into the current state of cost for becoming a parent as an LGBTQ person

Parenthood is expensive. But parenthood while queer is still prohibitively costly for so many segments of the LGBTQ community interested in pursuing a family, according to a new repot by the Family Equality Council, titled, "Building LGBTQ+ Families: The Price of Parenthood."

Among the more interesting findings was this one: the cost of family planning is relatively similar for all LGBTQ people, regardless of income level. This shows "that the desire to have children exists regardless of financial security," the report's authors conclude.

Research for the report was conducted through an online survey of 500 LGBTQ adults over the age of 18, and was conducted between July 11-18, 2018. For comparison, the survey also included 1,004 adults who did not identify as LGBTQ.

Other interesting findings of the report include:

  • 29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, and error associated with question-wording and response options.29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Regardless of annual household income, 45-53% of LGBTQ+ millennials are planning to become parents for the first time or add another child to their family. Those making less than $25,000 a year are considering becoming parents at very similar rates as those making over $100,000.
  • Data from the Family Building Survey reveals that LGBTQ+ households making over $100,000 annually are considering the full range of paths to parenthood, from surrogacy and private adoption to foster care and IVF. The most popular options under consideration in this income bracket are private adoption (74% are considering), foster care (42%), and IVF or reciprocal IVF (21%). At the other end of the economic spectrum, for LGBTQ+ individuals in households making less than $25,000 annually, the most commonly considered paths to parenthood are intercourse (35% are considering), foster care (30%), and adoption (23%).

What to Buy

A Gift Guide for LGBTQ Inclusive Children's Books

Need some ideas for good LGBTQ-inclusive children's books? Look no further than our gift guide!

Every year we see more books released that feature our families, and we're here for it! We're especially excited for the day when diverse and LGBTQ+ inclusive books are less of "the odd one out" and rather considered part of every kids' everyday literacy.

To help us reach that day, we need to keep supporting our community and allies who write these stories. So here's a list of some of the great books that need to be in your library, and gifts to the other kids in your lives.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

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

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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."

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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