Gay Dad Family Stories

This Couple of 27 Years Learned to Dream Big — and Became Dads to Twins

When Jamie and Kenny first met in 1992, marriage and fatherhood seemed laughable. But as the years progressed, so did their dreams.

Jamie and Kenny have been all over the world. To be precise, they have traveled to 66 countries. So far, they hasten to add. And they used to live in London. But in their own minds, they are still two small-town country boys from Louisiana.

Their story together started in 1992, when both men were young students (Jamie was born in 1974, Kenny is just six months older) from similar backgrounds at the same university in Louisiana. A mutual friend introduced them at a cafeteria, and they hit it off.

They hailed from very small and very religious communities that disapproved of homosexuality. Without any positive role models, Jamie and Kenny had internalized those negative views: The way they looked at their own lives, they assumed they would lead lives of ridicule, be unwilling to commit to one partner, would contract HIV and soon after die of AIDS.


When they found each other, they realized that a stable relationship was what they both wanted. In 1992, marriage and children weren't in the realm of possibilities; they weren't even thoughts.

Despite these challenges ­­–– some real, some imagined –– they stayed together through their college years. They threw themselves on their work. They moved to the big city, New York. And finally, with a work transfer for Jamie, they undertook a move to London. They even managed to obtain British citizenship and a few years ago they became, technically, British-Americans.

Meanwhile, the world had been changing for the better. Seeing more and more same-sex families, the men began to dream bigger and bigger. When marriage became a possibility, Jamie and Kenny had a wedding in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in September 2008.

From their home in London, they began envisioning a future for them as dads. They looked at several options. Their personal circumstances –– Americans living in the United Kingdom –– made adoption extremely complicated. Surrogacy then became the preferred way of creating a family. While they were saving money to cover the enormous costs of the entire process, they identified a fertility clinic in Idaho they wanted to work with; soon they found a surrogate in Illinois.

At the end of 2016 they and their surrogate became pregnant with twins, one girl, one boy. With the Atlantic Ocean between them, the pregnancy presented some particular challenges. Appointments with doctors in Illinois were attended via FaceTime and Skype. Other information was shared via phone, email or text message.

Before they embarked on their surrogacy journey, the men and their surrogate had made clear to each other what their expectations were and how they would communicate. As a result of that, and because of the relationships that they forged between them, their arrangement worked very well.

Of course, not all anxiety can be overcome that way. The men were very aware of the inherent risks, both to the surrogate and to the babies, of a twin pregnancy. Out of a desire to be physically closer to their surrogate, they struck a deal with their British employers that allowed them to work remotely from America. And only 10 days after they relocated to Chicago to be closer to their Illinois-based surrogate, their twins were born prematurely.

That day in July 2017 was the scariest and happiest day of their lives. And only when their kids were born, Kenny and Jamie finally felt complete.

The new family of four flew back to London where they remained until being transferred more permanently to New York City earlier this year.

James continued to work as a chief compliance officer for a British bank, while Kenny became a stay-at-home dad.

These twins, Grayson James and Elizabeth (Izzie) Grace Rials-McCullough celebrated their second birthday in July!

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Gay Dad Life

Gong Hei Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

As we usher in the year of rat, we asked some of our dads how they honor this special time.

Today we're celebrating, alongside our families, the Chinese New Year! As we usher in the year of rat, we asked some of our dads how they honor this special time, what they do to celebrate, and how they're instilling these traditions in their kids. Here are some of their responses.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Asks: Is Destroying an Embryo Similar to Abortion?

It's a question many LGBTQ parents using advanced fertility treatments will need to face — what to do with "left over" embryos.

Let me start off by saying that I have always been pro choice and support all laws that allow people to have full reproductive rights including safe and legal abortions. This is a complicated subject and not one that I ever thought I would really have to deal with on a personal level, especially being a gay man.

I remember a very heated discussion on abortion in my biology class back in university. I was young, idealistic and had very strong convictions about abortion. I was debating with a female classmate who was pro life. She felt there was no reason for an abortion ever, not even if raped by your own parent or sibling. I could not really understand her position, then or now. Don't get me wrong, I still don't agree with her, but now that I'm older and wiser, and also a parent, I have come to respect and accept opinions other than mine.

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News

Indiana Court Says Couples Using Sperm Donors​ Can Both Be Listed on Birth Certificate — But Ruling Excludes Male Couples

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, a major victory for LGBTQ parents — but the Attorney General may appeal to the Supreme Court.

On Friday, a US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling from a lower court that said that both parents in a same-sex relationship are entitled to be listed on the birth certificate — previously, the state of Indiana had required the non-biological parent within a same-sex relationship using assisted reproductive technologies to adopt their child after the birth in order to get her or his name listed on the birth certificate, a lengthy and expensive process not required of straight couples in the same situation.

It's a double standard LGBTQ parents have long been subjected to in many states across the country. So this represent a major win. As reported by CNN, this ruling "takes a lot of weight off" the shoulders of LGBTQ parents, said Karen Celestino-Horseman, a lawyer representing one of the couples in the case. "They've been living as families and wondering if this was going to tear them apart."

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals deliberated the case, according to CNN, for more than two and a half years, which is one of the longest in the court's history.

However, because all the plaintiffs in the case involved female same-sex couples using sperm donors, the ruling left open the similar question of parenting rights with respect to male couples. Indiana's Attorney General, moreover, may also appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

We'll be following the case closely and be sure to keep you up to date. For more on this recent decision, read CNN's article here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

As a Gay Dad, What's the Impact of Letting My Son Perform Drag?

Michael Duncan was excited when his 10-year-old son asked if he could perform in drag for charity — but he also felt fear and anxiety.

As LGBT parents, we have all lived through some sort of trauma in our lives. For many it is the rejection of our family, being bullied, or abuse. We learn to be vigilant of our surroundings and often are very cautious of who we trust. As adults, we start to become watchful of how much we share and we look for "red flags" around every corner.

So, what effect does this have on our children? Does it unintentionally cause us to be more jaded with our interactions involving others? For some the answer may be a resounding "no." But as we look deeper into the situation, we often find that through survival our interactions with others have changed and we may not even realize exactly how much we are projecting on those around us.

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Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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