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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Gay Dad Life

Gay Muslim Single Dad Writes Op Ed on His Path to Self Acceptance

Maivon Wahid writes about the challenges of reconciling three separate, but equally important, identities in an opinion piece for Gay Star News

Maivon Wahid, a gay Muslim single dad living in Fiji, wrote an opinion piece for Gay Star News about the challenges he's faced on his road to self acceptance.

"I feel pressure on how I am supposed to behave and how I am perceived," he wrote oh how these competing identities play out for him, day to day.

Maivon described himself as an "odd" kid, who never quite fit in--something he still relates to today as an adult. "When I enter the masjid (mosque), I am always judged and questioned," he wrote. "Sometimes it's curiosity, but sometimes it's borderline bullying." He said he found a way to be both gay and Muslim, three years ago, when he met an openly gay Imam at a conference in Australia. "It was through him I was able to first appreciate who I was, then love who I had become and celebrate it."

Being gay in Fiji, he says also makes him feel the need to hide certain parts of himself. "In Fiji, I find the need to hide so many aspects of my authentic being," he wrote.

He also wrote of complications familiar to many single gay men who became dads from previous straight relationships. He writes: "As a single parent to the most beautiful son – I was married to my ex-wife for nine years – learning to become and celebrate the person you want to be is about more than just me; it's a legacy I want to leave for him and the next generation. Although it's hard to meet like-minded people (my dating life is non-existent!), in being myself, I believe I can show others it's OK to be you, and to love whoever you want to love."

Ultimately, despite the challenges he's faced, Maivon says he has found a way to reconcile these three identities into one. "Whether you're gay, Muslim or a single parent – or all three – there is a place and space for everyone," he wrote. "I have found my place in Islam, and am comfortable being the best version of gay I can be. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

Read the whole article here.


Change the World

Gay Dad and Christian Mom Have a Come to Jesus Moment on 'Wife Swap'

A Christian mom learns a thing or two about "judge not lest ye be judged" on the latest episode of "Wife Swap"

Two men, Terrell and Jarius Joseph, were recently the first gay dads to be featured on the show "Wife Swap," where they swapped spouses with Nina and Matt, a religious, Christian couple. But the drama doesn't unfold in the same way as some previous episodes featuring religious mothers (see everyone's favorite "Crazy Christian Lady") because (plot twist!) the gay dads are religious, too.

At one point, Nina asks Jarius to lead the family in a prayer before dinner, because she felt it was important to show him "what the true love of God is." She is surprised, then, when Jarius quite naturally launches into a prayer.

Later in the episode, Nina says she wants to lead Jarius in a "devotional" about judgment. "Jesus knew that this would be a battle for us, so he was very stern in warning us in Matthew 7: 1-5," she say. "Do not judge or you too will be judged."

Jarius quickly points out that most Christian churches are unaccepting of LGBTQ members. "You say 'Don't judge people,'" Jarius says. "But you are."

"Now that I've talked with Jarius, I feel like I jumped to conclusions a bit," Nina tells the camera later on in the "I'm not a judgey person but I actually judged the situation and I don't like the way it makes me feel."

Watch the moment play out in full here:

'Do You Feel Like Being Gay is a Sin?' | Wife Swap Official Highlight www.youtube.com

Change the World

Tennessee Drops Anti-LGBTQ Adoption Bill Amid Growing Opposition

Amazon, the Tennessee Titans, and Taylor Swift were among those calling on the state to drop an anti-LGBTQ adoption bill

This past week the sponsor of a so-called "religious freedom" bill in the Republican-dominated Tennessee State Senate, which would have permitted state welfare agencies to discriminate against prospective LGBTQ adoptive parents, requested the piece of legislation be pulled, effectively killing it for at least this year.

The bill, which had already been approved the the House, was widely expected to be passed and signed into law, so the sponsor's request surprised many. No explanation was given for the move, thought the Washington Post hints that increasing corporate pressure may have helped play a role. Both Amazon and the Tennessee Titans joined a growing list of companies speaking out against the discriminatory bill.

Taylor Swift, a native of the state who is increasingly wading into the political realm, also joined the fray by donating $113,000 to the Tennessee Equality Project, an advocacy group fighting the bills. In a handwritten note to the group's Executive Director, Swift wrote: "I'm so inspired by the work you do, specifically in organizing the recent petition of Tennessee faith leaders against the 'slate of hate' in our state legislature. I'm so grateful that they're giving all people a place to worship."

This good news follows Michigan's recent decision to rescind its own "religious freedom" law last month, though eight states currently still permit discrimination against prospective LGBTQ adoptive parents, and a bill is pending in Arkansas that would do the same.

Gay Dad Family Stories

Adopting an Older Child Through Foster Care Was the Best Path for These Dads

After learning more about older-child adoption through You Gotta Believe, Mark and Andrew decided it was the best way for them to form their family.

"Hey! I got adopted today! These are my dads, Mark and Andrew!"

Jeremy was 16 years old when he found out his new dads wanted to adopt him.

In late August 2017, husbands Mark and Andrew Mihopulos, 34 and 36 respectively, remember driving out to the east end of Long Island. They knew at the very same moment they were driving, social workers were letting Jeremy know they wanted to adopt him. "We expected Jeremy to be hesitant or feel mixed emotions," shared Mark. "We didn't know how he would feel about having two dads and about having white parents and family, as he is a black young man."

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Gay Dad Family Stories

Philippe "Swiped Right" on This Handsome Young Dad

At first, Philippe wasn't sure he could date a man who was a dad. But Steve, and his son Gabriel, have helped him realize a "fatherly side" of himself he didn't know he had.

"It's been one hell of a ride since the beginning," said 26-year-old Steve Argyrakis, Canadian dad of one. He was 19 when he found out he was going to be a dad and the mom was already several months along in her pregnancy. Steve, who lives in Montreal, was struggling with his homosexuality but wanted to do the "right thing," so he continued to suppress his authentic self. "I was so scared about the future and about my own happiness, that I had put aside my homosexuality once again."

A couple of months later, little Gabriel was born, and it was love at first sight.

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Entertainment

Ain't No Party Like a Gay Dad Dance Party

Gay dads singing and dancing with their kids is EXACTLY what you need to get your weekend started right.

Who jams to Led Zeppelin with their kids?

Who rocks some sweet moves to Kelly Clarkson?

Who sings along with their kids in the car?

Who breaks it down with a baby strapped to them in a carrier?

We all do! But these guys happened to catch it all on tape for us to enjoy! Thanks dads. 😂

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

This Dad Went 'Numb' After a Painful Failed Adoption, But Learned to Love Again

After a painful failed adoption that brought these gay dads to the brink of realizing their dream of fatherhood, Paul "went numb" for several months before trying, and succeeding, again

In the fall of 2010, what was suppose to be a non-committal daytime date in Seattle, ended up being 3 days of sharing life experiences, unpacking emotional luggage and the moment I realized I had met my future husband. Just under four years later, we were saying "I Do", and became Paul and Jamie Trudel-Payne.

Jamie, a devilishly handsome All-American freelance writer, came from a tightly woven, kind and virtuous household. While I, Paul, a cute (ish) bi-racial (Mexican/Caucasian) small business owner, came from a somewhat intrusive, rambunctious and very large Hispanic family. The desire and support received from both families was immense and just six months after being married, we began the adoption process.

Wearing rose-colored glasses we quickly learned that our adoption journey was going to be anything but rosy.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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