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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Change the World

Pics of Gay Dads With Their Little Future Voters

They may have been too young to head to the polls this year, but these gay dads recognize it's never too early for a civics lesson!

It was a historic night last night, for many reasons, the LGBTQ community. Most exciting for us: Colorado elected the first gay man, a father of two, to lead the state as Governor. And gay dads, at least according to Instagram, flocked to the polls to vote for these and other candidates who will fight for the rights of LGBTQ families. Check out these adorable pics of these little future voters!

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Change the World

First Openly Gay Man (and Dad!) Elected to Governor in Colorado

Despite a barrage of attack ads from his opponent, Jared Polis, an openly gay father won his race for CO Governor with comfortable margins

Jared Polis, an openly gay 43-year-old father of three, won his election against his Republican challenger last night in Colorado's race for governor. The victory will make him the first openly gay man (and first gay dad!) to lead a state. (Kate Brown, the openly bisexual Governor of Oregon, is the only openly LGBTQ person to win election to a state's highest Executive office in the country.)

Polis, who was first elected to represent Colorado's Second Congressional District in 2008, and served as co-chairman of the LGBT Equality Caucus in that body, is no stranger to making history. In 2011, when he and his partner Marlon Reis announced the birth of their son, Caspian Julius, Polis became the first openly gay parent to serve in the United States Congress. The couple welcomed a daughter, named Cora, in 2014.

Despite making history in this way, Polis and his husband have thus far kept private about their family, declining to state publicly whether their children were adopted or born via surrogacy.

Polis, who already beat out a crowded field of fellow Democrats vying for the state's top position, was seen as a strong contender as soon as he entered the race. He has been among the state's more popular Representatives, consistently winning reelection with comfortable margins. Also, thanks to several successful internet ventures prior to his turn as a public servant, he is one of the top 10 wealthiest members of Congress, meaning he's had plenty of cash on hand for his campaign.

Over 240 LGBTQ candidates ran for office this year, which is an unprecedented number. Besides Polis, several of those candidates went on to win office. Democrat Sharice Davids won her race for Congress in Kansas, becoming the first Native American and the first LBGTQ person to represent the state. Democrat Chris Pappas likewise became New Hampshire's first gay congressman after winning his election last night.

Congrats to Governor-elect Polis and to all of the LGBTQ candidates who helped make history this year!

Change the World

Gay Dad Jared Polis Maintains Edge in Colorado Race for Governor

Despite a barrage of attack ads from an outside group, Jared Polis, openly gay candidate for CO Governor, maintains his lead over his Republican challenger.

Two new polls released last week show Democrat Jared Polis maintaining his lead in the Colorado governor over his Republican challenger, Walker Stapleton. If elected, Jared Polis will be the first gay man, let alone gay parent, to lead a state. (Kate Brown, the openly bisexual Governor of Oregon, is the only openly LGBTQ person to win election to a state's highest Executive office in the country.)

Though polls have tightened the closer to election day we get, one poll, released by a Democratic consortium last week, found Polis still maintains with a 7 percentage point lead. Another, conducted by a Republican polling firm, found Polis with a smaller lead of 5 percentage points.

Notably, Polis maintains a double-digit lead among women and younger voters, whose participation in tomorrow's election may ultimately determine his fate.

Polis has maintained his lead despite a barrage of attack ads posted by Republican-affiliated groups in the past few weeks. One of these ads accused Polis physically pushing his former female personal assistant. Outside media groups have called the ad misleading.

Polis, who was first elected to represent Colorado's Second Congressional District in 2008 and serves as co-chairman of the LGBT Equality Caucus, is no stranger to making history. In 2011, when he and his partner Marlon Reis announced the birth of their son, Caspian Julius, Polis became the first openly gay parent to serve in the United States Congress. The couple welcomed a daughter, named Cora, in 2014.

Despite making history in this way, Polis and his husband have thus far kept private about their family, declining to state publicly whether their children were adopted or born via surrogacy.

Polis, who already beat out a crowded field of fellow Democrats vying for the state's top position, was seen as a strong contended as soon as he entered the race. He has been among the state's more popular Representatives, consistently winning reelection with comfortable margins. Also, thanks to several successful internet ventures prior to his turn as a public servant, he is one of the top 10 wealthiest members of Congress, meaning he's had plenty of cash on hand for his campaign.

World Adoption Day, taking place this year on Friday, November 9, is always an exciting opportunity to celebrate gay, bi, trans dads who created their families through adoption. But as our friends and supporters at Dove Men+Care like to remind us, this is also a great opportunity to consider the impact a national paid paternity policy could have on all our families, especially adoptive and LGBTQ ones. Driving the conversation beyond our Father's Day partnership, Dove Men+Care continues to be committed to championing paternity leave for dads everywhere, spotlighting the importance of taking as much time as you can during those early moments with your new child.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Why This Gay Dad Always Dreaded Parent-Teacher Conferences

With his kids well into their twenties, Jim Joseph gets nostalgic watching friends post back-to-school images of pics of their kids trick-or-treating. One thing he doesn't miss though? The dreaded parent-teacher conference.

I know that social media has gotten a lot of flak in the last couple of years, mostly because of its political tendencies and political, shall we say, drama. Sure, I'm acutely aware of that. But there's a part of social media that is still exceedingly fun and rewarding, and I've been enjoying it a lot lately.

It's been so much fun seeing all of my friends and colleagues with their families during this year's back-to-school and Halloween festivities. School uniforms, backpacks, bake sales, fundraisers, and, of course, Halloween costumes.

I'm getting the chance to relive the years when I did all of that when my kids were young (they are now well into their '20's now!). I miss it. A lot.

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Gay Dad Life

Keep Your Little Ones Eating Healthy During the Holidays

David and Danny, founders of Kekoa Foods, share some tips for how to keep your tots healthy and happy during the holidays

Meet David and Danny fathers and founders of Kekoa Foods sharing some tips on how to keep your little ones eating their healthy vegetables during the hecticness of the holidays.

Keep Your Little Ones Eating Healthy Vegetables During the Holidays youtu.be

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Fun

Cutest Pumpkins in the Patch: Gay Dads and Their Kids

Our Instagram feeds are filled with flannel shirts, pumpkin patches, ghords, and scarecrows, so you know what that means... Time for this year's round up of pumpkin patch photos of gay dads and their kids!!

Pumpkin spiced lattes ain't got nothing on this favorite fall outing: the annual trip to the pumpkin patch! While pumpkins are nice and all, let's be real: we're into this autumnal outing for the photo op. ;) Thanks to these dads who shared their pics with us! Share your own to dads@gayswithkids.com and we'll add them to this post!

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