Gay Dad Life

New Children's Book Explores a Different Kind of Gay Fatherhood: Doggy Dads

Pickles + Ocho is a real life story about two French bulldogs in a family with their two gay dads.

Guest post written by Dan Wellik

Pickles + Ocho is a real life story about two French bulldogs in a family with their two gay dads. It tells the story of how Pickles' life changes once his new "baby brother" Ocho joins his family. The themes in this story are important ones – families come in all shapes and sizes, all families look a little different than the next and diversity and inclusion should be celebrated. I have always felt strongly that children need more exposure to LGBT families and wanted to add my voice to this very important conversation.


I personally love the illustrations in Pickles + Ocho and, being stick figure challenged, I am so grateful to Tou Yia Xiong as his illustrations alone are a powerful message for our children.

Gabino and I have been together for over 7 years and make our home just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota with the heroes of the story Pickles + Ocho--the loves of our life and protectors of our home. Whether you are gay, straight, trans, or bi, having and creating a family and a place to call home is so important. Pickles + Ocho are what make us a family and have brought Gabino and I closer together and in sync with nurturing our family.

My family also includes a gay sister who is married with 3 children and an older brother married with two girls. From an early age, my nieces and nephew have had exposure to LGBT families, they have never known a world without them. I feel that was crucial in how they see the world today; accepting and loving. These things, coupled with the desire for a career change, inspired me to write a children's book to serve as a resource and give more visibility to LGBT families.

My hope is Pickles + Ocho, and subsequent books in the series (stay tuned!) will help teach our children diversity and inclusion and become a resource for all families.

Available at Amazon, Target, Itasca Books, and Barnes & Nobles.

Dan (left) with his husband Gabino, and Pickles and Ocho

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Change the World

New LGBTQ Children's Book Is About Two Moms — but Isn't About Being 'Different'

"Mighty May Won't Cry Today" is a relatable story celebrating the LGBTQ community, kids with same-sex parents, diversity and inclusion

Check out this 'Q & A' with Kendra and Claire-Voe Ocampo, authors of a new LGBTQ children's picture book, 'Mighty May Won't Cry Today.'

​Tell us a bit about yourselves!

Our story began 10 years ago in Boston when we fell in love. We got married in New Jersey in 2014, just months after same-sex marriage became legal in the state. Now six years later we are a happy family of four, moms to two daughters, Xiomara and Violet. When we're not writing or working our day jobs, you might find us eating Spanish tapas, video gaming, or debating over watching a sappy rom-com or the latest Sci-Fi flick on Netflix.

What inspired you to write the book?

Our inspiration to write the book began in 2016 after our first daughter was born and we began reading her children's books. We quickly saw that most of them featured a traditional family. It saddened us that our family was so little represented in the books Xiomara read, and we worried that she would feel like we were different (in a negative way) from other families. In fact, we learned that a study out of the Cooperative Children's Book Center of Education found that of 3,700 books surveyed, less than 1% were children's picture books containing LGBTQ+ content. It only made sense to write a children's book of our own!

What is the book about?

Mighty May Won't Cry Today tells the story of May, an imaginative and determined girl who tries not to cry on her first day of school. May's first day of school is filled with many adventures and emotions as she is faced with unexpected, embarrassing and overwhelming moments. Young readers will relate to the experiences of May's day—riding the bus for the first time or forgetting her favorite drink at home. At last May will face the ultimate challenge and she cannot hold back her tears. With the help of her two moms, she finds out why it's OK to cry and that even adults cry, both happy and sad tears!

How is this book unique from other children's books?

Not only is this book unique because it shows non-traditional families in children's books, but it also shares a unique message for kids and adults of all ages—learning that it's beneficial to cry when dealing with emotions like sadness, fear, embarrassment and frustration.

Shira Levy, School Psychologist and Positive Psychology Practitioner says about Mighty May: "I absolutely love Mighty May Won't Cry Today. It's a story about grit and perseverance, and teaches children about emotional intelligence and the fact that it's okay to experience a wide range of emotions. That's actually really good for our brains because when we make mistakes and we learn new things, our brains GROW. I highly recommend Mighty May Won't Cry Today."

What will gay, bi and trans fathers love about your book?


Fathers and kids will love the poetic rhymes, colorful designs and lovable "Mighty May." It's a beautiful story with a positive message about embracing different families and encourages an environment of inclusion from an early age. It is a great learning tool to teach kids that it's OK to cry and how to use mindful techniques to work through emotions.

When can we buy the book and how can we support it?

The illustrations for the book are almost final, but in order to fund the final illustrations and printing of this book, we launched a Kickstarter campaign on February 1, 2020. We would love it if you could join us on this journey. Please VISIT our Kickstarter page, LIKE our Facebook page and SHARE our story with your friends and family. We are counting on the LGBTQ community as our advocates and we know that together we will successfully bring this story to life.

Please post below and tell us: what are you excited about related to Mighty May? What do you think is important about telling this story? We can't wait to hear your thoughts.

Thank you for reading!

Kendra & Claire-Voe Ocampo, creators of Mighty May Won't Cry Today

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mightymay/mighty-may-wont-cry-today-an-lgbtq-childrens-book

www.facebook.com/mightymaybooks

Gay Dad Life

"Fridays with Fitz": A New Kid's Book Based Upon the Son of These Two Dads

Tracey Wimperly, author of the new children's book, said she hopes to give a more honest portrayal of the role grandparents play in the lives of children.

Guest post Tracey Wimperly

I've recently written a children's picture book (aimed at 2-4 year olds) called "Fridays with Fitz: Fitz Goes to the Pool." Every Friday - when his two dads go to work - Fitz and his grandparents (my husband, Steve and I) head off on an adventure. Through the eyes of a curious and energetic 3 year old, even ordinary adventures, like riding the bus or foraging for fungus in the forest can be fun and magical.

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What to Buy

"The Boy with the Rainbow Heart" Is Being Turned Into a 5-Book Series

Will Mason has launched a kickstarter to turn his children's book "The Boy with the Rainbow Heart" into a 5-book series

Guest post written by Will Mason, author of "The Boy with the Rainbow Heart," which he wrote in honor of his lesbian sister, her children, and all children who find themselves feeling different in some way.

I, Will Mason, kindly ask you to support my Kickstarter, to help launch the latest book in the LGBTQ Rainbow Heart children's series, "The Invasion of Big Angry Red." 5% of sales will go to GLSEN, in honor of Jamel Myles, the 9-year-old student who took his life this past August after he was bullied for being gay.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

These Dads Had 'Twins' — Just Four Months Apart

Angel and Dan's wanted twins, without the complications of a twin pregnancy — so they worked with two separate surrogates at once.

If you have ever been out late on a Saturday night, you may have high hopes of meeting a handsome stranger, but you probably wouldn't expect to meet your future husband. Angel Mario Martinez Garcia, 45, surely didn't when, five years ago on a very early Saturday morning in Barcelona, he casually approached Dan's Mouquet, 40, and asked him, over many gin and tonics, what he wanted out of life. The nightlife setting notwithstanding, Dan's told Angel he ultimately wanted a quiet life, with a partner and children.

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Politics

Gestational Surrogacy Legalized in New York State

The Child-Parent Security Act, which legalizes commercial surrogacy in New York State, was included in the 2020 New York State Budget signed by Governor Cuomo

Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

"Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

"This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."


Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

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Expert Advice

4 Tips for Single Gay Dads Raising Daughters

Here are some ways to create a safe space for your daughter to discover who she is, with you by her side.

There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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