Gay Uncles

After Struggling with Their Sexuality for Years, These "Guncles" Ponder Fatherhood for Themselves

Gay Uncles Day is this Sunday! To celebrate, we're brining you inspiring stories of gay men and the unique role they play in the lives of their nieces and nephews.

Before meeting one another, Adam and Ramon struggled with their sexuality for years. Both also had strained relationships with their families. After years of work, however, Adam and Ramon are out and proud, and have taken on the roles of proud "guncles" to Adam's siblings kids. Adam is an uncle to Halle (13), Shayla (11), Diezel (9) and Rocky (7), and both Ramon and Adam are the honorary "guncles" to their good friend's son, Ethan (2). After trying on the role of uncle for a while, the couple are now pondering the idea of fatherhood for themselves.



These London-based Aussies started dating seven years ago, in what began as a night out as each other's wingman, but turned into a long-term relationship. Now, they're looking to different shores for their next adventure, both in their careers and also to start thinking about growing their family. But it took both of these guncles many years to get where they are today; to accept their sexuality and live their authentic lives.

Adam grew up in a small country town in rural Australia and struggled for many years with his sexuality. "I never had any gay role models that I could relate to," said Adam. "I never saw a positive side to my sexuality." It wasn't until he moved to London and started traveling the world that he finally realized there were a lot of different type of people in the gay community. "And I saw strength in that," he shared.

Adam's move to London was life-changing. When he left Australian shores, he still hadn't come out to his friends and family, and not even himself. In London, Adam met friends who were like him, and many who were different, but through their shared experiences, his friendships helped him understand and accept his sexuality. "Some of the things I originally didn't like about myself became some of the strengths and Ramon's favorite things about me, and mine too!" Adam explained. Finally, Adam felt comfortable and confident in his authentic self and proud of his relationship.

"I had a very similar story to Adam," said Ramon. "Except I come from a Catholic family and I told my parents I was gay long before I moved to London from Sydney." Sadly, Ramon's relationship with his father became estranged due to their struggle to communicate with one another, while his mother ignored his homosexuality, sweeping it under the proverbial rug. It was only his younger brother who remained supportive, and helped bridge the gap between Ramon and his parents. Only in the past year have things begun to change, with Ramon's parents finally acknowledging Adam as their son's partner and accepting their relationship.

Adam with his nieces and nephews

Both Adam and Ramon are proud guncles to their siblings' kids, and are excited to spend more time playing that role when they move closer to home. Adam and his brother didn't speak for 5 years after he came out, so it was difficult for Adam to play the attentive guncle that he wanted to for many years, but the Australian Marriage Equality vote helped them open up a dialogue. "He and I were able to talk again, and automatically things just worked out and we were all good again."

Becoming dads had always been on the periphery of the couple's thoughts, but not something they had spent much time considering. It wasn't until their friends successfully adopted after a two-year process that it began to come into focus. "It made me start to realize I actually wanted this, and we had somehow changed our ideas and both wanted a family in our future," said Adam.

Guncle Adam with his nieces and nephews, Christmas 2017

While they're open to different paths to fatherhood, Adam prefers surrogacy but realizes that with foster to adopt, they'd have the opportunity to help kids in need. Both paths forward, they realize, come with challenges. Surrogacy is expensive and adoption procedures in Australia often take many years. The couple plans to really begin research in 2020.

Adam also has a particular fear when it comes to his future parenting style: he's worried he won't be able to share the dads duties. "I will want to do everything as I'm more domesticated and experienced with kids," he said. "I'll need to be mindful of this and share the parenting." Let's hope that if they become dads to a infant, Adam won't mind handing the baby back to Ramon at 3 a.m., for his own sake.

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Gay Uncles

Gay Uncles are an Essential Part of This Gay Dad Family's Village

It takes a village to raise a child, and this village includes many gay uncles

In November last year, Ottawa-based husbands Matt Ottaviani and Rej Gareau (whose story we shared in July) became first-time dads through surrogacy. They were overjoyed to welcome their daughter Andy and become a family of three.

But as many of us know, raising a child isn't always just about the nuclear family. The African proverb "it takes a village to raise a child" is a commonly repeated phrase, and rings very true for many families. Matt and Rej are no different, and when they shared their story last month, one thing jumped out to us: the important role Andy's guncles play in her and her dads' lives.

In honor of Gay Uncles Day today, we reached out to Andy's many guncles to learn first-hand how their relationship with the family affects their lives. Here's what they had to say.

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Popular

This Gay Uncle is on a Mission to Provide His Nieces and Nephews With as Much Culture as Possible

Mike Adank isn't a dad (yet!) but that isn't stopping him from introducing his nieces and nephews to all New York City has to offer.

Mike Adank, who lives in New York City, has been a "guncle" for 19 years to Dylan (19), Emma (17), Laura (12), Alex (8), Katie (6), and Lizzie (3). His Instagram account reveals him to be a fun uncle who thinks the world of his nieces and nephews, and someone eager to share with them his life and passions. He's attentive, enthusiastic, and, dare we say, probably the favorite uncle.

Last year for "Gay Uncles Day" he shared the post below on Instagram with his niece and nephew, with a caption that read: "who needs your own kids when you can just borrow your siblings'?!"

As much as Mike loves being an uncle, however, this message was a bit tongue and cheek: he's begun thinking about having his own family one day in the maybe not-so-distant future.

Mike is the manager of VIP guest experiences at Jujamcyn Theaters, a major Broadway landlord and producer. He lives and breathes Broadway, loves adventures and is a proud New Yorker.

Mike takes his status as a "guncle" seriously and has played a large role in his nieces and nephews lives since they were born. Although they live far away in Wisconsin, Mike travels back two or three times a year, and they make the most of their time together: hiking, camping, gossiping and eating. He also makes sure they see the annual summer musical in their hometown, and plans to give each of them a paid for ticket to New York upon their graduation from high school. "I want them to be well rounded and provide them with as much culture as possible," he said.

As a gay man, Mike also feels it's his responsibility to teach them about tolerance and respect. "Or at least demonstrate it and be an example of how successful you can be if you stay true to yourself and follow your dreams." Recently, he was an even prouder uncle when his niece stood up to a teacher who was allowing hate in the classroom.

Mike has been seeing someone whom he meet via Chappy for the past four months, and although everything is going very well, it's still too early to bring up the conversation of kids. But Mike has begun researching regardless as he's still open to being a single dad if he hasn't found someone who shares the same dream.

In terms of a choosing a path, Mike is keeping his options open even though he's very keen to become a foster dad."Fostering is at the top of my list," said Mike. "I love the idea of sharing my love and life with a child that may be experiencing some rough times, or may not have been as fortunate this far in their life. Everyone deserves to find that one person they can count on, look up to, learn from, and feel safe with, [when] they need it most." Ideally Mike would like to foster to adopt, but he'd also be happy just fostering those in need.

Becoming a dad doesn't come without some fear on Mike's part. And those fears are tied up with his sexuality. "I'm a little scared of them not liking me because I'm gay; I don't want them to feel short changed." But on the flip-side of his concerns, Mike knows that his sexuality could also be a real asset, and help him educate his children on the importance of compassion and love.

As Mike gets closer to celebrating an exciting milestone - the big 4-0 - which is still a couple of years away, he's getting more and more excited about fatherhood, but still wants to be young enough to have fun his kids. The goal is in 5 years time to not only be a fabulous guncle, but also a loving and doting dad. We're excited to watch this space!

Mike with his nephew Dylan

Gay Uncles

Happy 'Guncles' Day! Have You Thanked the Gay Uncle in Your Life?

To celebrate the important role gay men play in the lives of their nieces and nephews, check out these adorable pics below!

Two years ago, on August 14, the Internet lit up with the hashtag #GayUnclesDay, accompanied by countless adorable pictures of gay men beaming for the camera alongside their nieces and nephews. The social media sensation was all in good fun, of course, and we're supportive of any holiday that leads Olympic bobsledder Simon Dunn to post this picture on his Instagram, but it's worth noting that not every gay uncle felt celebrated that day:

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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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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Single Gay Dad and the City

When Kyle decided to take his four kids, ages 6-11, to New York City on vacation, his friends thought he was crazy.

"You're crazy, Kyle."

"You can't be serious? A single dad taking four kids to the Big Apple? Think again."

"That's bold. There's no way I'd do that."

Those were a few of the responses I heard from my friends as I told them I was thinking of booking a trip to New York City with four kids, ages 11-6. My children's fall vacation from school was approaching and I wanted to get out of the house and explore. Was the Big Apple too much of an adventure?

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News

National's Pitcher Cites Wife's Two Moms as Reason for Declining White House Invite

"I think that's an important part of allyship," Doolittle said of his wife's two moms.

Sean Doolittle, pitcher for the Washington Nationals, declined an invitation to the White House after his team won the World Series this year. In an interview with the Washington Post, he listed his numerous reasons for staying home — and a main consideration, he revealed, was his wife's two moms.

"I want to show support for them. I think that's an important part of allyship, and I don't want to turn my back on them," Doolittle said during the interview.

Trump's treatment of a minority groups, generally, factored into his decision as well. "I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can't get past that stuff."

Doolitttle clarified that his decision had little to do with policy disagreements with the White House. "There's a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we've done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the 'shithole countries.'"

He concluded by saying he respected his teammates decision to attend the White house ceremony. "I want people to know that I put thought into this, and at the end of the day, I just can't go."

Read more of the Washington Post interview here.

News

New York Will Fight 'Repugnant' Trump Rule on Adoption, Says Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York promises legal action of the Trump administration moves ahead with plans to allow discrimination against LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents

Last week, the Trump administration announced plans to allow adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against prospective LGBTQ parents — but he may face a legal fight from (former) hometown. In a tweet, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said the proposed move "isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values,— it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home." If the proposal moves forward, he continued. "we'll take legal action to stop it.

Governor Cuomo's office followed up the tweet with a lengthier statement posted to their website:

Once again the Trump administration is attacking the hard-earned rights and protections of the LGBTQ community, this time proposing a new measure that would give foster care and adoption agencies license to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Trump's proposal isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values — it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home. If he moves forward with this rule, we'll take legal action to stop it.

No matter what happens in Washington, New York State is and will continue to be a beacon of equality in this country. Our Human Rights Law and adoption regulations expressly prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community, including when it comes to adoption. I encourage any LGBTQ New Yorker who feels they are a victim of this discrimination to contact the State Division of Human Rights for assistance.

Our message to the Trump administration is simple: there is no place for hate in New York or in our nation, and we will not allow this noxious proposal to stop LGBTQ New Yorkers from becoming parents or providing care to children in need.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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