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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

"Dadvocates" Gather in D.C. to Demand Paid Family Leave for ALL Parents

"Dadvocate" and new gay dad Rudy Segovia joined others in D.C. recently to educate lawmakers on the need for paid family leave for ALL parents

On Tuesday October 22, Dove Men+Care and PL+US (Paid Leave for the United States) led the Dads' Day of Action on Capitol Hill. A group of over 40 dads and "dadvocates" from across the states lobbied key member of Congress on the issue of paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads. They shared stories of their struggles to take time off when welcoming new family members and the challenges dads face with no paid paternity leave.

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Change the World

A Gay Fertility Doctor Opens Up About His Own Path to Parenthood

Parenthood is the "one and only job" held by the majority of the population, wrote gay fertility doctor Mark Leondires in a recent op-ed for The Advocate

Dr. Mark Leondires, founder of the fertility clinic RMA of Connecticut, has helped thousands of LGBTQ people become parents over the years. But in a recent op-ed for The Advocate, he discussed his own path to parenthood as a gay man, and some of the lessons he's learned along the way.

"Similar to most gay men I struggled with the coming out process," Dr. Leondires wrote. "I strongly desired to be a parent. And as a fertility doctor I knew this was possible. What was enlightening was after we had our first child is that in the eyes of my community, I went from being a gay man or gay professional to being a parent just like most of my straight friends."

Dr. Leondires goes on to say his reasons for opening up about his parenting journey is to offer some perspective LGBTQ people who are considering parenthood. "Once you have a family you will have this common bond with the vast majority of our population and something they can relate to — having children," he wrote. "You are no longer someone living this "special" lifestyle, you are a parent on a shared journey."

Being a parent is the "one and only job" held by the majority of the population, he continued. "It is also the only job you can't be fired from."

Understanding this commonality helped Dr. Leondires in his coming out process, he said. "I had to be proud of my family because I want them to be proud of our family," he wrote. "It wasn't about me anymore. The reality is that 5-7% of patients identify as LGBTQ+, and there may be a greater likelihood that your child might be LGBTQ+ because you are. Therefore, you need to be proud of who you are and who your family is, establish and maintain this foundation unconditionally."

Read Dr. Leondires entire essay here.

Change the World

Is This the First Photo to Show a Positive Image of Gay Dads in the Media?

This photo from 1983 originally ran in a Life Magazine piece called "the Double Closet"

Last month was LGBTQ History Month! And to celebrate, the online magazine LGBTQ Nation ran tidbits of history all month long. For one post, they dug up the above image — which they claim is the first, published in a mainstream media outlet, to show gay parents depicted in a positive light.

The image was part of a Life Magazine article called "the Double Closet." The photograph was taken by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, J. Ross Baughman. Whether this was truly the first image of its kind or not, it's a heartwarming photo nonetheless that helps show gay dads have been forming loving families for decades. And we couldn't be more thrilled that in recent years, his images is standing in some pretty good company! Each and every day, we help add to the archives of images showing positive depictions of gay dads — 2,824 images, and counting — on our Instagram page.

Check out the rest of the History Month series on LGBTQ Nation!

Gay Dad Family Stories

One Single Gay Dad's Trailblazing Path to Parenthood Via Surrogacy

20 years ago, Gene became the first single gay man to work with Circle Surrogacy in order to become a dad — trailblazing a path for many others since.

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

"I think I was pretty naïve, I guess," chuckled Gene, one of the first single gay dads to work with Circle Surrogacy over 19 years ago. "I just had made a decision and went out and did it, and wasn't really thinking about how difficult it might be or what other people thought, being first at doing something."

So how did Gene hear about surrogacy as an option for single gay men? Well, it began with Gene flipping through a bar magazine. He recalls seeing an ad about a woman providing a service to connect gay men with lesbians in platonic co-parenting relationships. While he started down that path, working with the founder, Jennifer, he remembers thinking, "What if I meet someone? What if I want to move? It would create all these complications."

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Gay Dad Life

Karamo Brown Co-Writes Children's Book with Son, Jason

The 'Queer Eye' star and his son named the story on a family mantra: You are Perfectly Designed

When his sons, Jason and Chris, were young, "Queer Eye" Star Karamo Brown repeated the same saying to them: "You are perfectly designed."

That mantra is now a Children's Book, cowritten by Karamo and his 22-year-old son, Jason, who used to come how and "say things like, 'I don't want to be me, I wish I was someone else, I wish I had a different life." As a parent, that "broke my heart," Karamo told Yahoo! Lifestyle. "I would say to him, 'You are blessed and you are perfect just the way you are,' as a reminder that you have been given so much and you should be appreciative and know that you're enough — I know that the world will try to tear you down, but if you can say to yourself, 'I am perfectly designed,' maybe it can quiet out some of those negative messages."

The illustrations, by Anoosha Syed, also make a point of displaying families of a variety of races and sexual orientations throughout the book.

Read more about Karamo's fascinating path to becoming a gay dad here, and then check out the video below that delves deeper into the inspiration behind "You Are Perfectly Designed," available on Amazon.



Gay Dad Photo Essays

Falling for Fall: 33 Photos of Gay Dads and Kids at the Pumpkin Patch

Oh my gourd, it's fall! To celebrate, we rounded up 33 pics (and whole lot of pun-kins) in our annual fall photo essay!

Don your checked shirt, grab them apples, and shine those smiles while perched on pumpkins — it's the annual fall family photo op! A trip to the pumpkin patch and / or apple orchard is a staple family fall outing, and we're here for it. 🎃🍎🍂👨👨👧👦

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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Gay Dad Family Stories

David and Ben Met on the Dance Floor — and Are Now Grooving Their Way Through Fatherhood

David and Ben, who became fathers with the help of Northwest Surrogacy Center, live in Melbourne with their daughter, Maia.

In 2003, while both studying at Reading University in the UK, Ben Suter and David Cocks met after locking eyes on the dance floor and then being introduced by a mutual friend. Ben, a meteorologist and Operations Manager, and David, an Assistant Principal, have been together ever since. They moved to Australia together in 2010, seeking a different life, and an overall better work-life balance. The chose Cairns in Queensland as their new home, between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, "taking life a bit easier," said David. The couple were also married in June 2016, back home in England.

While David always wanted kids, Ben took a little convincing. So they started their parenting journey with a dog, Titan, who quickly became like their first born. From there, Ben came around rather quickly.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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