Gay Dad Family Stories

Gay Couple, Both Dads From Former Straight Relationships, Forge New Future Together

Ryan Lippert and David Pirrotta, who met two years ago on a dating app, are both dads to kids via former straight relationships

Ryan Lippert, 46, and his fiancé David Pirrotta, 42, are successful entrepreneurs. They're both founders of their own companies - Scout Model Agency, and David Pirrotta Brands, a Beauty Brand Manager and Distributor, respectively. They met over two years ago via a dating app and spent their first date talking and dining at a Los Angeles restaurant for 4 hours, till the restaurant closed. They're hard-working, passionate, and interesting guys. You could say they bring a lot to the table.

But there's more than just the two of them at that table. Together, they have three kids from previous straight relationships.


Ryan married a woman when he was 24 years old and became a dad in his mid-twenties to their eldest, Sierra. Two years later, they welcomed son Gavin. "My entire life, I wanted a family," said Ryan. "There weren't any role models when I was growing up like there is now of healthy gay and lesbian relationships. I could never have imagined when I was younger that it would be possible to even have a family being gay!"

David, on the other hand, became a dad to son Austin while still in high school. He was 17 years old at the time.

When Ryan came out, he was embraced by his family and friends. "I was very, very, lucky to have had such a wonderful experience coming out to my kids, family and friends," he said. "Every single person was so happy for me and was so glad that I was going to start living my true authentic life!"

David came out to his friends in his senior year at college during the spring of 1999. "It did take me a few years to come out to my family," said David. "Luckily my son's mother just told him and he was always accepting and loving... [I'm] so lucky!"

David is first generation American; his father is Sicilian and his mother Cuban, "So you can only imagine how difficult back in the nineties it was to come out to traditional parents," he said. When David was 24, he came out to his mom. "I made a reservation at a very busy restaurant in my hometown of Glastonbury, Connecticut, so my mom would stay composed as I knew there would be some of her friends and acquaintances dining there for dinner. She did cry," continued David, "and then it took her sometime to be okay with it but she loves me and is so proud of who I am and of my life!"

David never officially told his dad but he thinks his mom had that conversation. David and his dad have never talked about it.

Although neither David nor Ryan had a typical young adult experience while in their twenties, Ryan said he still managed to make time for himself and take care of his family. "We didn't have too many obstacles on our path to fatherhood," said Ryan. "All three of the kids were love babies and we are both the biological fathers."

The kids are now young adults, and the dads couldn't be more proud. Sierra is a model and in beauty school, Gavin has one more year of high school, and Austin is in the Army. In 10 years or so, the dads would love to become grandparents or 'Glampas' as Ryan said. "We're both extremely excited about becoming grandparents and watching our children's life journey on creating their own families!"

When David and Ryan were in their twenties, neither of them looked towards the future and believed their current life trajectory was possible. They have both worked incredibly hard for the career accomplishments they've achieved - David has launched 76 beauty brands (and counting!), and Ryan founded a hugely successful model agency - but they never thought they would find a soulmate like they have in one another.

For Ryan, having kids was a lifelong dream, and he had them. "Being an openly gay man with kids was a dream, and it happened! Being in a same-sex relationship and all my friends and family loving my partner was a dream, and it happened! Never give up on your dream and living your best life!"

The gents are set to wed January 4, 2020.

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Keith, who works as a Policy Advisor with the Canadian Federal Government, and Kevin, who works as the Director of Communications with the Canadian National Inuit Organization (ITK), always knew they wanted kids together, and talked about it early on in their relationship. Still, as gay men, they weren't sure that option would ever be available to them.

"I grew up in the UK in the 1970s so I assumed it would be impossible to have children," said Keith. "I always assumed that I would have to lead a life sort of in the shadows and in secret. Attitudes were so different in the 70s to how they are now that I simply believe that we thought it would be impossible to have a child."

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The Inuit Custom Adoption Process was originally used in the small Inuit societies in the arctic, Kevin explained. It's primarily (though not exclusively) intended as a path for adoption within families. The process is legally recognized by the Canadian legal system.

As Kevin went on to explain, Inuit custom adoption was traditional used to support survival within, what were until quite recently, people living a nomadic lifestyle. It is, in essence, a deeply loving and selfless tradition of giving the gift of life to a carefully selected couple, most often with the guidance of elders (usually the matriarch within a family). If a couple couldn't conceive, for instance, others would sometimes offer their help. Similarly, if a couple lost a child, the grieving parents might be given a baby to help ease the ache of their loss. While most Inuit parents have zero intention of custom adopting their children to other families, adoption continues to be an established method in Inuit regions.

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As far as their parenting styles, the couple say they've drawn on each of their pasts. "Both Kevin and I had somewhat difficult childhoods and have spent a lot of time working through and dealing with childhood trauma," Keith said. "As a result, we are better parents and we continue to look after ourselves and each other as we continue to grow in parenthood."

Though the couple come from different cultures, they said they've had no difficulty developing a parenting approach that works for them both. "I don't think either of us raise Abbie in the same parenting style that we experienced," Keith said, "We both talked and agreed on our approach before Abbie was born and we work well together as a parenting couple."

The result is a parenting style that incorporates some elements of both of their backgrounds, Keith said. "Inuit culture tends to shower children in love and we certainly do that," said Kevin. From English-style parenting, the couple have also borrowed the tendency of English parents to be "pretty obsessive," Keith said, about routines, such as scheduling meals, naps and bedtimes.

Though life was good before Abbie joined the family, "now it's fantastic!" Keith said. "I feel like being a parent was what I was put on this earth to be." Because neither man ever expected to become fathers, moreover, both say they look at parenthood as a privilege rather than a right — a helpful perspective they suggest to other gay men considering fatherhood. "Parenthood is an amazing gift," Keith said, "But remember it's about them, not you — and they deserve the best start in life we can give them."

Though fatherhood came to them somewhat unexpectedly, Keith and Kevin say they couldn't be happier with the way things turned out. "When I reflect on our life together, and where we both came from, it is incredible to me that we are now married, content, and parents to our wonderful panik," Keith said, using the Inuktitut word for daughter. "We are totally blessed."


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