For This Gay Couple, Being a "Guncle" Means Setting a Good Example for the Next Generation
Gay Uncles Day is this Sunday! To celebrate, we're bringing you inspiring stories of gay men and the important role they play in the lives of their nieces and nephews.
Matt Sinclair and Clay Jackson are newlyweds, sharing their special day with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. They met online almost four years ago, but lived three and a half hours apart. Neither Matt nor Clay were ones to let distance stand in their way, so they decided to meet at a brewery halfway between their two locations. After four hours getting to know one another and tasting beers, they'd established a connection and a tradition. Now, everywhere they travel, you can find them sampling the local breweries as a throwback to when they first met and fell for one another.
Matt (left) and Clay
The couple are proud "guncles" to Clay's biological nephew and niece, 4-year-old Mason and 2-year-old Hannah. The best part of being an uncle, they say, is hearing the kids scream your name and insist on showing you their newest, most important toy.
"It's also amazing just seeing them grow and learn, from these adorable little bundles home from the hospital to the fearless toddlers they are now," Matt said. "They're just incredible kids."
The most unique aspect of being a gay uncle, Matt said, is knowing that his niece an nephew will grow up not thinking have an uncle who is gay is any different than having a straight aunt and uncle. Or two aunts.
"Mason was 3 months old when I first met him, and I held Hannah in my arms as soon as she was home from the hospital," Matt said. "So for them to grow up just knowing that we are their uncles and that it's perfectly normal is something I think will make our relationship so successful."
How about for the newlywed themselves? Do they hope to be more than an uncle one day? In short: yes. The husbands recently bought a house in Washington, DC, where they both currently live and work, and are focusing on their careers before growing their family. Their ideal timeframe for starting a family is in the next 3-5 years, once they're set up financially and their home can handle more than just the two of them.
Both adoption and surrogacy are Matt and Clay's preferred paths to fatherhood, but if price wasn't a factor, they would like to do surrogacy. "Growing up, neither of us thought we'd even be able to marry, let alone have our own biological children," shared Matt. "So knowing that there is a way for us to grow our family in that way, and for us to get a glimpse into how we were as children would make us feel more connected to each other."
"To look at our child and be able to point out to my husband, 'they have my chin, or yep that's my stubborn attitude coming out' would just be so rewarding for us," added Clay.
But fatherhood comes with its own set of worries, as the two men elaborated. "We do worry about bullying or teasing because our child or children have two dads," said Matt. "I would also be concerned with making sure they knew that just because they don't have a 'traditional' family that doesn't mean that they are loved less or looked at less by anybody else."
In addition to the fear of bullying, Matt and Clay share the same anxieties as any parent - having a life so completely dependent on them, looking to them for guidance. "The thought of knowing that this life is completely dependent on you and that it is our responsibility to raise them into being a respectful and responsible member of society is daunting," said Clay.
But these fears are heavily outnumbered by the sheer excitement of becoming dads. Matt and Clay are proud guncles with Matt sharing that his niece has his heart, and he loves her to pieces. "The first time I would hold [my child] in my arms... I'm probably going to be a sobbing mess of happy tears when that happens, but I will feel as though my life has truly come to have more meaning," said Matt.
"I would be so excited for all of the "firsts," from first time crawling to first word all the way to them getting their first car or relationship; I would be excited as to seeing who they become and knowing where they had come from to get there," added Clay, "But let's get real for a minute, who wouldn't be the most excited for the first time your child looked at you, and actually knowing who you were when they say 'da-da?'"
Even though these dads-to-be might not be considered a "traditional family" by some, their hopes and dreams for their future kids are true of any loving family. We're excited to follow these fabulous guncles as their story unfolds.