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.