Change the World

How Gay Dads Can Help Change the Parenting Game

More gay men are becoming parents than ever before, and they have the opportunity to help rewrite the parenting rule book.

For many gay men, a "gay lifestyle" equates to spending hours at the gym, bar-hopping with friends, weekend getaways, ascending the ladder in one's career, maintaining an immaculate home, and listening to "pride" anthem music. As a result, there are those who feel that gay life and raising kids go together like oil and water. Despite these implicit differences, it turns out a growing number of gay men are choosing to enter into parenthood by merging multiple identities.


Gay parenting is becoming more common, and it's changing parenting forever. The dynamic of juggling being parents and allowing ourselves to be ourselves—gay men—is an important part of every gay parent's journey. A lot of gay fathers are breaking their silence and beginning to speak openly and plainly about the challenges of being a same-sex couple raising children. I recently appeared as a guest speaker on daddysqr.com, a podcast for and about gay dads. In particular, we talked about specific issues that may arise for gay couples having children and about what can happen when a gay couple brings kids into the picture.

Many gay dads describe going through a difficult transition period after becoming parents due to the many necessary sacrifices (e.g., unpaid leave from work, time off from the gym, lack of sleep, less nights out with friends, and financial sacrifices). While living the illustrious life may not be as easy with children, there are certainly ways of maintaining some semblance of normalcy without sacrificing your identity. Gay dad, author, and creator of the podcast daddysqr.com, Yanir Dekel has written a column for the Huffington Post offering practical advice for first-time parents on how to navigate some of the unexpected difficulties of parenthood. Yanir told the Huffington Post "My husband and I met, got married, and then had children…But that's pretty much where we wanted 'Ozzie and Harriet' to stop and 'Ru Paul's Drag Race' to kick in."

Yanir said that clear communication and consistency around scheduling helped him and his husband better manage the demands of parenting so that they could both keep their jobs, their health and their self-esteem. "As part of our schedule, my husband and I decided to give each other an 'afternoon off' every week." While his husband took care of the babies, Yanir would meet up with friends, go to coffee shops, or workout. For him, this time away was invaluable and inevitably helped him keep some semblance of sanity.

Some of you may be asking yourselves is it worth the sacrifice to become a gay dad? Of course it is. There are few things in life you can invest in that will have as much of a profound return-on-investment as raising a family of your own. Seeing your child smile at you and giggle, knowing your child is happy to have you in their life is one of the rare joys life can afford. "For me, I found that seeing other people throwing love at my kids, talking to me about what it's like being a gay dad, and even just smiling at me when they see me walking around with the stroller, strengthened me in a weird kind of way…" Yanir affirmed. Additionally, some say that becoming a parent changes your perspective of what is really important in life. Yanir wrote, "It's true, [parenthood] changed us…made us men who could start to find our way with these new people."

Gay parenting is a kind of a brave new world. There's an opportunity here to make gay dads raising children a meaningful and valid thing in its own right. Research has shown over and over that children raised by same-sex parents show no difference in overall well-being as compared to other families. Research also shows that because gay men experience stigma and exclusion by the dominant culture, they have to overcome numerous adversities, which inevitably shapes who they become as parents. This can end up being a real strength that they show their children how to overcome adversity just by them being themselves. They demonstrate how to create and construct a positive identity out of oppression. And also it is common for gay fathers to spend more time playing with their children than do heterosexual fathers. They also tend to engage in non-binary gendered play, for example, collecting baseball cards and racing hot wheels but also playing dolls and dress-up.

Becoming a gay parent is like discovering the amazing pot of gold waiting for you at the end of the rainbow. Being gay parents means we have the opportunity to raise our children to be more compassionate and accepting of diversity and self-exploration. The time is now for gay fathers. Let's show the world what awesome parents we can be!

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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.

Keep reading...
Change the World

Gay Dads Use 'TikTok' To Fight for Acceptance

Kevin and Ivo are fighting to normalize LGBTQ parents through TikTok, a growing social media platform

"Are we fearful we're going to turn our son gay?" Kevin DiPalma, a red-bearded man, asks the camera.

"No!" says Kevin's son, Nasim, says

"Are we worried about bullies when he gets to school?" Kevin asks next.

"Yes!" Nasim said.

Thus is the nature of the videos Kevin and his husband Ivo upload to their TikTok account, a widely popular and rapidly growing social media platform among young people.

Within 6 months, the family had 200,000 followers across their social media.

See a complication of some of their videos below!


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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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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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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Fatherhood, the gay way

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