Gay Dad Life

A Gay Dad's Message to the Airlines: Put Kindness First

This week our family took to the the air and highways of the U.S. on a whirlwind trip to celebrate family.  In light of recent viral news pieces, as two dads traveling with our four-year-old son, I had my reservations about how things might unfold.


This in no way diminishes the way others feel they have been mistreated, but I’m happy to report that we enjoyed a most rewarding trip.  Our ground crew was efficient in boarding all passengers in a  respectful fashion with those who had physical needs first, those with children under 2 next, all active military after that, and because we planned ahead (and paid a small fee) we boarded with group one and took our seats.  We were greeted in a kind manner and those who could immediately tell that we were both parents to our child made friendly eye contact and regarded us with the unsaid camaraderie we all know when traveling with little ones.  We packed plenty of activities and made the most of things.  At the end of the flight our son was invited to stay behind for a visit to the flight deck and a hug from our flight attendant.  We did our part to make things smooth and they did theirs.

Throughout the boarding process our flight crew was jovial and kept their cool when other passengers were in clear violation of policy, such as one indignant passenger who walked her non-companion dog (aka: pet) onto the aircraft and unclipped the leash, allowing the dog to move about the cabin.  Certainly there were some terse negotiations among the flight and ground crews, but ultimately it was handled professionally.

During the taxi process as the crew was giving the required safety spiel, another passenger chose that time to unbuckle, stand up and rummage around his baggage in the now-open overhead bin.  Crisp instructions were given over the PA, interrupting the process of the safety talk.  We were about 20 seconds from having to have the aircraft stopped when the passenger finally complied.  These issues are completely avoidable, and this crew did their best to get us off the ground on time.  While I recognize that some recent issues with the airlines have been poorly handled, there are also so many good flights with decent people doing what they can to keep us safe at 30,000 feet.

In my opinion, the airline industry has been in dire need of a return to putting kindness first.  For far too long we, as passengers, have been made to feel like we are an imposition instead of the paying customers we are.  We book our expensive tickets, choose from ever-reducing routes, and plan for the challenges of navigating all the TSA regulations that seem to change on a daily basis.  We try to understand the ever changing landscape of how large is too large and how heavy is too heavy for our baggage, and what constitutes yet another fee.  We join airline clubs and pay a la carte for every little thing.  When we finally get into our seats we hope we will get off the ground in a timely manner.  And now we have to worry that someone will become agitated or an airline professional will begin a brawl.

It is time for passengers and crew to find a happy medium, and that means those who are beholden to shareholders understand that it really isn’t all about money, and that long-term success comes in the form of public perception and passenger loyalty.  We all need to bring humanity back to travel, and in this current political and social climate we are all a bit more on edge, worried that we are being singled out by others.  Perhaps we need to take a deep breath and see one another as people with hearts and families, and that we really all can just get along.  Maybe I’m being a bit naive, but I’ve seen the best of it and I’ve seen the worst, and I know it’s time for a change.

As we travel farm country in the middle of America this week, we are fortunate to be greeted as just another family and not challenged as some have been in recent weeks.  Perhaps we present ourselves in a welcoming manner and not expecting the worst from people, but I know we try to give others the benefit of the doubt before assuming they are against us.  If they prove me otherwise I will clearly protect my family, but I believe we will help bridge some of the misconceptions of how families like ours are just a family built on love. Life is good and we plan to keep making memories and including travel of all kinds in our future.  Here’s hoping the trend goes toward a kinder, more gentle experience.

This piece was penned by Dennis Wood, a dad whose family we have twice featured on our site. Read those articles here:

Gay Since the 1970s, Dad Dennis Has a Plan to Fight Back Against Injustice

Then & Now: Dennis, Jody & Sam

For more on the issues with the airlines, read:

United Airlines Detains Gay Dad for Having Hand “Too Close” to Son’s Genitals

Gay Dads Denied Family Boarding on Southwest

 

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Gay Dad Life

How Canada's 'Gay Dollar' Helped This Gay Man Reflect on His Biggest Regret—Not Having Kids

Canada unveiled a 'gay dollar' coin earlier this year, helping Gregory Walters reflect on the progress the LGBTQ community has made—and his decision to forgo having children children

Earlier this year, Canada unveiled a rainbow-stripped coin dollar to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country's decision to decriminalize homosexuality. With the coins now firmly in circulation, Gregory Walters, who lives in Vancouver, wrote a moving essay for the Globe and Mail, expressing joy for how far Canada has come on the issue of gay rights, but how the coin is also a symbolic representation of the "greatest regret" of his life—his decision not to adopt children.

Gregory writes that he had hoped to adopt a child ever since his early career working with persons with developmental disabilities. "Several children I worked with were wards of the State of Texas," he wrote. "Their parents having relinquished all rights either owing to egregious acts of abuse or a lack of desire to raise someone with so many needs. There were days when I felt, 'If I could just take you home and raise you.' I knew there was a need for adopting persons with special needs but my own internalized homophobia got in the way yet again. Despite what is probably my own gift in working with children, I never felt worthy enough to be a parent. I always felt that if I were a gay dad it would create more of a liability for the child."

Gregory decision to forgo having children, he says, is his "greatest regret." While he takes responsibility for some of this decision, he also adds: "society's view of homosexuals and its opinions regarding gay adoptions also played a major part."

To critics of Canada's coin, some of who have said its a cheap political pander to the LGBTQ community, Gregory concludes with this thought:

"I don't care if the indulged majority who never had to question marriage or raising children or being secure in a job may feel the coin is frivolous. The coin isn't for them in the first place. It's an acknowledgment for those of us who repressed our true selves and felt oppressed. It is for gays who never lived to see rights and protections enshrined in law. It is for younger LGBTQ people to learn more about how far we've come and to gain a deeper sense of gay pride. For these reasons, the coin has value so much greater than any monetary designation. The coin represents both empowerment and normalization."

Read Gregory's full essay here.

Gay Dad Life

8 Pics of Ricky Martin Being an Adorable Dad Because Why Not?

Here's some pics of Ricky Martin being an adorable dad because we've ALL had a long week and deserve this don't we??

Earlier this year, in January 2019, superstar Ricky Martin and his husband Jwan Yosef shared a post via Instagram announcing that they'd welcomed a baby girl named Lucia into their family. With twin 9-year-old sons in the house as well, Ricky and Jwan now have a very full casa. Fortunately, the dads are giving us a little glimpse into their chaotic but fun-filled home lives via Instagram. We rounded up 8 of our fav recent parenting pics by the popstar because we've all had long weeks and we deserve this don't we??

Enjoy!

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Gay Dad Life

17 T.V. Shows Featuring Gay Dad Characters

Gay dads are all the rage on the small screen these days... here are 17 shows that prominently feature gay dad characters!

The 2019-2020 TV season will soon be upon us! In recent years, gay dad characters have been all the rage... will we see more representation this fall? We sure hope so! But in the meantime, we'll be content reviewing this list of 17 shows that have (somewhat) prominently featured gay dad characters!

Also we KNOW we're missing some, so drop us a line in the comments to tell us what we should add!

1. Grace & Frankie

In this Netflix original series, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston play gay dads who come out to their wives and children well past their primes. Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda play the ex-wives, rounding out the star-studded cast. Now in its fourth season, the show has been well received and sheds an interesting light on the complications involved with fathers who come out later in life.

Entertainment

How Fatherhood Has Impacted Tom Daley's Diving Career for the Better

British diver Tom Daley, and new-ish gay dad, is looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in South Korea.

British diver Tom Daley is currently in the running to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in South Korea, his fourth if he competes, at the young age of just 26.

But he also has another concern that most young gay men his age couldn't fathom—fatherhood. He and his husband, filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, recently welcomed Robbie Ray via surrogacy in June 2018.

In an interview with the Independent, Daley explained how fatherhood has changed his routine and training, which he says is often for the better.

"It has changed my life completely in all of the best ways possible," Daley said. "It has changed my perspective, the way I think about things. [My son] is the most important thing in my life, everything I do is for him, everything I think about he is at the forefront of everything."

With respect to his diving career, Daley continued, "if you have a bad day at training, or a good day, you are grounded immediately when you get home through the door because you are having cuddles or you are having to change a dirty nappy. It is the first time that I have been able to leave diving at the diving board and not think about what I need to the next day in the pool."

Whatever the challenges he faces while training, he said, "I can leave it there because you don't have time to think about diving when you are looking after a kid under one."

The strategy seems to be working in Daley's favor. He recently enjoyed his most successful FINA Diving World Series ever this past Spring in Canada, winning 12 medals across five events. And barring any major catastrophe, he is overwhelmingly expected to qualify for South Korea 2020.

And we can't wait to cheer the young dad on!

Change the World

One Gay Dad's Fight Against Hate in Superior, Nebraska

Brian Splater is refusing to let homophobic and transphobic elected officials in his town go unchecked

Millie B. Photography

Guest post written by Brian Splater

No one ever should feel they will have a very lonely and secluded life as a child. But that is something me and many other gay kids believe as they are growing up.

The truth of the matter is there are people who will try everything in their power to have our rights go back in time instead of forward. It is very disheartening when these people are elected officials, or they are people who use their place of employment to spread their disgust and hate.

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Politics

America's First Gay Dad Governor Heads Into the Lion's Den

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently became the first elected Democrat to speak at the annual Western Conservative Summit in Denver

Last Friday, American's first gay dad Governor, Jared Polis, became the first elected Democrat to speak at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, where he urged the Republican crowd to help him build a "Colorado for all."

"While we should never gloss over the things that divide us, there is a lot more that unites us," Polis said. "When we close ourselves off from discussion or debate, and we reject the possibility of hearing and understanding other perspectives, it threatens the fabric of our democracy."

If he was hoping for a Kumbaya moment, he didn't exactly get it. As he was called to the stage, he was greeted with a smattering of applause—while others booed and shouted for a "recall" of the Governor.

"It was almost unbearable for me to sit there to listen to his talk," Abby Johnson, one of the event's attendees, told the Denver Post. "And I'm going to tell you why. He kept talking about equality for all persons, yet we live in a society where 60 million innocent human beings have been slaughtered in the name of choice. Where is their justice? Where is their equal rights?"

Polis was also criticized from his left flank for attending the same event that refuses to let the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP members, participate—and that featured Donald Trump Jr. as a speaker the same day. "To me it feels like vanity," Katie Farnan, a staffer with progressive group Indivisible, told the Denver Post. "He can go and be a hip Democratic governor who isn't afraid to go into GOP sanctuary. Or maybe it's recall insurance. But unless he was there to hold them accountable for their support for fascist and racist policies, what's the point?"

In response to the criticism from both sides of the political aisle, Polis told the Colorado Sun: "I think it's very important that Coloradans of different ideologies, different races, different geographies, different orientations and gender identities all really celebrate that we're all part of what makes Colorado great."

The event is hosted each year by Colorado Christian University to bring together conservatives from around the state, and the larger West.

What do you think, dads? Was Polis's decision to speak at the event a savvy political move or mere pandering?

Entertainment

Hate Group Boycotts 'Toy Story' for Featuring Lesbian Moms—Hilarity Ensues on Twitter

"One Million Moms" announced a boycott of the latest Toy Story movie for *very briefly* featuring lesbian moms. Twitter's response was swift and hilarious.

One Million Moms, which is affiliated with the anti-LGBTQ American Family Association, recently called for a boycott of Toy Story 4 for (very, very briefly) featuring (interracial!) lesbian moms in the animated film. The angry, hateful moms affiliated with this group must have watched the film VERY closely because you could easily blink and miss the moment that apparently "blindsided" viewers.

The Internet reacted with a collective facepalm to the ridiculous boycott. Here are some of our favorite hilarious Twitter reactions to the hateful group:

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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