Entertainment

Gay Dad, Inspired by His Kids, Founds "Deeply Diverse" Theatre Company

Tripp Pattigrew, a gay dad who started the non-profit theatre company Imaginary Theatricals, promises to produce only "color-blind, gender-blind, and sexual-orientation-blind" theater.

Guest post by Tripp Pettigrew (read his family story here). Tripp is the proud parent of adopted children, and, inspired by his children, he founded a not-for-profit theatre company in Los Angeles. His company is getting ready to produce its inaugural production of Kander & Ebb's "Cabaret." In his own words, read about his inspiration below.

My youngest son, Alex, has had an incredible journey. He walked into my home shirtless, dirty, scared of our dogs and barely verbal. From that moment, his tantrums were so powerful and explosive that I was called to his school multiple times a week. He stabbed one teacher with a pair of scissors and scratched another on the face so deep she had to go to the emergency room. In order to try to have any kind of time to dedicate to my job, my mother-in-law spent three months of her time going to school with Alex, something which I'll always be grateful for. I won't get into the tantrums outside of school but suffice it to say that there were way too many times that, in traffic, Alex would throw open the door of the car and run. Just picture this Caucasian early thirties man chasing after a Latino child on the streets of Los Angeles. Thankfully no one reported me for kidnapping!


It has been a long journey but after 7 years, the tantrums are completely gone. Yes, there are still times when Alex expresses anger inappropriately but I will take this version! We finally found a great school for him: a small class room with dedicated teachers that are trained in behavioral issues. At home he spends most of his time drawing comic books or building with Lego. He has won citizenship awards at school and his teachers adore him. He has the highest grades in his classes and he hates weekends because those are days he can't be a school. We still struggle, of course--why won't teenagers take a shower or brush their teeth! But, he greets me with a huge hug every time I come home. He has changed my life in a million ways.

A few years ago, Alex could hardly wait to see the new Frozen show at Disneyland. Since the movie came out, he was in love with Olaf and spent most mornings before school singing Olaf's song. The summer the Frozen show opened, there was a lot of hubbub online about the color-blind casting. True to the hubbub, at the show Alex and I saw, Kristoff was played by an African-American actor.

Considering that Alex is usually a stickler for things appearing correctly (he once refused to ride the Haunted Mansion ride because Oogie Boogie--typically just a large, naked green monster--was depicted at the end wearing a Santa hat and beard), I was curious if he would notice or care about the multicultural casting. To my surprise, Alex didn't blink an eye. The lady behind me whispered to her husband, "Why is Kristoff Black?" But my son loved the show. He didn't have anything critical to say except he thought the Olaf puppet was too small. Later that day, though, he asked me, "Do you think I can be Olaf some day?"

This moment made me realize the power of representation. This is what I wish to do with my theater company, Imaginary Theatricals. I wish to produce only color-blind, gender-blind, and sexual-orientation-blind theater. I firmly believe that what's more important in theater is the story being told not whether or not Curly from Oklahoma is played by a white man. Rodgers and Hammerstein made us confront racism and domestic violence.

I think the same can be done to further the race and/or sexual orientation and/or gender conversation in this country through casting (and even better if you can find new works to produce that support this idea). I think you can make small adjustments (for example, as in Frozen, choosing an African-American actor to play a traditionally white character) that have huge impacts. For the most part, if the production itself is good enough, I don't think many people will notice. However, if people do notice, I think it starts the right conversation. The lady sitting behind me at Frozen didn't get up and leave. She asked her husband, "Why is Kristoff Black?" If I had been her husband, my response would have been, "because he's a made up character from a place that doesn't actually exist."

We are producing our inaugural production of Kander & Ebb's Cabaret from June 7th through 9th. We hope to have a trans actor as our Emcee and a deeply diverse cast. We want to pay these actors a living wage.

Be sure to check out Imaginary Theatricals' tax deductible donation page which is looking to raise money to be able to pay their artists as much as possible.

Show Comments ()
Change the World

Gay Dads Featured in Enfamil Commercial

A new ad for Enfamil showcases two gay men talking about their daughter.

The best kind of inclusion is when you're not singled out but instead included right along with everyone else. This kind inclusion inspires others to pursue their own dreams and desires, just like any one else. As part of our popular culture, we know that brands are uniquely suited to inspire us in this way.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Gay Dads Appear on Reboot of "Wife Swap"

The family-focused television show "Wife Swap" is back on television, only this time they're including some gay dads in the line up.

Photo credit: Drayton McJunkins

Wife Swap, a family -focused reality television show created with the premise that two completely opposite families - in every single way - swap their spouses for a week. The relocated spouse must live by the rules of the new house for a week before implementing their own rules the following week. It was hit show from 2004 to 2010, and now it's back. And this time, featuring gay dads!

Millennials, husbands, dads, and Influencers, Terrell and Jarius Joseph have two children, Aria and Ashton, through surrogacy. They live in Atlanta and are excited to be the first African-American gay couple swapping home life with a white hetero couple. We spoke with the dads to get their take on their upcoming episode (to be aired this Thursday, April 25, 9pm EST).

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

Three Eagles, Two Male one Female, Form Nontraditional Family

Three bald eagles in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge are sharing a nest and incubating eggs together

According to the Advocate, three bald eagles — two male and one female — are sharing a nest and incubating eggs together.

"Families come in all shapes and sizes, and that's true for wildlife too!" wrote the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services on Facebook. "Meet Valor I, Valor II and Starr, a breeding trio of bald eagles that live along the Mississippi River in Illinois. For several years, fans from all over the world have been watching this nontraditional family through a webcam as the eagles deal with the trials and tribulations of parenting."

The thruple came to be in unique way. "The nest was originally inhabited by Valor I and another female eagle named Hope," wrote the Advocate. "Initially, Valor I had poor parenting skills — he didn't hunt or guard the nest while Hope was away. Valor II entered the nest in 2013 to pick up the slack — and taught Valor I some parenting skills in the process. Hope left the nest in March 2017 after she was injured by other birds. But instead of going off to find new mates, the male eagles decided to stick together until Starr joined their nest in September 2017."

Though rare, this isn't the first time that a trio of eagles have come to share nests in this way. According to USA Today, other trruples were have been spotted in Alaska in 1977, in Minnesota in 1983 and in California in 1992.

Check out this family below!


Trio Eagle Cam Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge Live Stream www.youtube.com

Gay Dad Photo Essays

Pics of the Moment Before and After Gay Men Become Dads

Dig through your phones — what was the last pic taken of you BEFORE you became a dad?

We all have THAT photo: the one taken moments after we become fathers for the first time. For some of us, we're doing "skin to skin" in a delivery room. For others, we're standing proudly alongside our newly adopted child and judge in a courtroom. However or wherever it happens, though, we make sure to snap a picture of it.

But what about that last photo BEFORE you first became a dad? What does that image look like, we wondered? Well, we asked our Instagram community to dig through through phones and find out. Some of us are enjoying a last carefree meal or glass of wine, others of us are captured nervously contemplating our futures. Whatever it is, we've decided these BEFORE pictures are just as meaningful.

Enjoy some of our favorites! Want to play along? Dig through your phones and send us your pics to dads@gayswithkids.com!

Keep reading... Show less
Entertainment

Gay Dad in Sundance's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' is Relatable AF

Sundance hit "Brittany Runs a Marathon" stars a gay dad trying to get in shape.

Who would make for the best marathon training partner for an overweight, overly boozed 27-year-old woman? A gay dad, of course!

The pairing, for any gay man who has been subjected to impossible beauty standards (not unlike... literally all women?) makes a bit too much sense after watching the new Sundance film, "Brittany Runs a Marathon," starring SNL writer Jillian Bell (as the 27-year-old) and Micah Stock as the (somewhat *ahem* older) gay dad.

Based on a true story, the film follows Brittany, an overweight and over-boozed 20-something, trying to clean up her act by training for the New York City marathon — while doing so, she meets Seth (the gay dad), and the two begin to train together, along with Brittany's neighbor Catherine. Each has their own motivation for running: getting one's live together, recovering from a messy divorce, or an attempt to impress one's athletic son. (Which is the gay dad? Guess you'll have to watch to find out!)

We won't give too much more away, apart from saying that the trio — based off of actual people and events — really works. It's the feel good film you're waiting to see.

Expert Advice

Your 15 Most Common Questions About Adoption, Answered by an Expert

We asked our Instagram community for their biggest questions about adoption. Then asked Molly Rampe Thomas of Choice Network to answer them.

As part of our new "Ask an Expert" series on Instagram, our community of dads and dads-to-be sent us their questions on adoption in the United States. Molly Rampe Thomas, founder of Choice Network, answered them.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular

'Life Is Amazing': Congrats to Gay Dads Whose Families Recently Grew!

Help us congratulate gay dads on their recent births and adoptions last month!

Wishing all of these gay dads whose families expanded in the last month or so a lifetime of happiness! Congrats to everyone in our community on their recent births and adoptions!

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse