Gay Uncles

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.

Show Comments ()
Transracial Families Series

How These Dads Address White Privilege within Their Transracial Family

The "white savior" complex is real, said Andrew and Don, who are raising two Black children.

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of ongoing posts exploring issues related to transracial families headed by gay, bi and trans men. Interested in being featured as part of the series? Email us at dads@gayswithkids.com

Andrew Kohn, 40, and his husband Donald (Don) Jones, 47, together 13 years, are two white dads raising two Black children in Columbus, Ohio. Do they stick out? Sure. Have they encountered racism? They say they haven't. "I keep waiting for the moment so that I can become my best Julia Sugarbaker," said Andrew. "I think because we're a gay couple with Black kids, we're the other-other and people don't really say things to us. We have never had people touch our kids hair or do something that was inappropriate."

Keep reading... Show less
Entertainment

Take a Virtual Tour of The Homes of These Famous Gay Dads

Many famous gay dads — including Neil Patrick Harris, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Ricky Martin — have opened up their homes to fans on the pages of Architectural Digest.

In each issue, Architectural Digest offers a peak into the homes of different celebrities. In recent years, they've featured the homes of several famous gay dads. Check out the videos and stories the magazine pulled together on the beautiful homes of Neil Patrick Harris, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Ricky Martin below!

Keep reading... Show less
Children's Books

New LGBTQ-Inclusive Children's Book Asks: What Makes a Family?

A new children's book by Seamus Kirst follows a young girl's journey of emotional discovery after she is asked which of her two dads is her "real dad."

Editor's note: This is a guest post from Seamus Kirst, author of the new LGBTQ-inclusive children's book "Papa, Daddy, Riley."

Throughout my life, I have discovered that reading provides an almost miraculous way of changing the way I think.

There is no medium that better offers insight into the perceptions, feelings and humanity of someone who is different from us. Through reading we become empathetic. Through reading we evolve. I have often emerged from reading a book, and felt like I was changed. In that, even in this digital age, I know I am not alone.

As children, reading shapes how we see the world. The characters, places, and stories we come to love in our books inform us as to what life might offer us as we grow up, and our world begins to expand beyond our own backyards.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Photo Essays

Interested in Foster Care? These Amazing Dads Have Some Advice

As National Foster Care Month comes to a close, we rounded up some amazing examples of gay men serving as foster care dads, helping provide kids with a bright future.

Every May in the United States, we celebrate National Foster Care Month. With over 437,000 children and youth in foster care, it's our honor to take a look at some of the awesome dads in our community who are opening their hearts and their homes, and providing these kids with a bright future.

Thinking about becoming a foster parent? Check out these resources here, and visit AdoptUSKids.

Meet the Foster Dads!

Keep reading... Show less
Transracial Families Series

This Transracial Family Relies on a 'Support Group' of African American Women

Puerto Rican dads Ferdinand and Manuel are raising a daughter of Jamaican descent — and love to find ways to celebrate their family's diversity

Our second feature in our transracial family series. Read the first one here.

Ferdinand Ortiz, 39, and his husband Manuel Gonzalez, 38, have been together for 7 years. In 2017, they became foster dads when they brought their daughter, Mia Valentina, home from the hospital. She was just three days old at the time. On December 13, 2018, her adoption was finalized.

Mia is of Jamaican and African American heritage, and her dads are both Puerto Rican. When Manuel and Ferdinand began their parenting journey through the foster care system, they received specific training on how to be the parents of a child whose race and culture was different from their own. "We learned that it's important to celebrate our child's culture and surround ourselves with people who can help her be proud of her culture." However, as helpful as this training was, the dads agreed that it would've been beneficial to hear from other transracial families and the type of challenges that they faced.

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

How the Shut Down Opened Me Up to Being a Better Dad

David Blacker's dad used to tell him to 'stop and smell the roses' — the shut down has led him to finally take the advice

"Stop and smell the roses." It was the thing my dad always said to me when I was growing up. But like many know-it-all kids, I didn't listen. I was determined to keep my eye on the prize. Whether it was getting good grades in school, getting my work published, scoring the next big promotion, buying a house or starting a family. For me, there was no such thing as resting on my laurels. It has always been about what's next and mapping out the exact course of action to get me there.

Then Covid.

Ten weeks ago, I — along with the rest of the world — was ordered to shelter-in-place... to stop thinking about what's next, and instead, focus on the here and the now. In many ways, the shut down made me shut off everything I thought I knew about being content and living a productive life. And so, for the first time in my 41 years, I have literally been forced to stop and smell the roses. The question is, would I like the way they smell?

Keep reading... Show less
Transracial Families Series

How This Transracial Family Creates a 'Safe Space' to Talk About Their Differences

Kevin and David know they can never understand what it's like growing up as a young black girl — but they strive to create a 'safe space' for their daughters to talk about the experience

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of ongoing posts exploring issues related to transracial families headed by gay, bi and trans men. Interested in being featured as part of the series? Email us at dads@gayswithkids.com

Is adopting a child whose race and culture is different from your own something that us queer dads need to talk about? Share our experiences? Learn from others? We've been hearing from our community, and the answer has been a resounding, "yes."

With over one-fifth (21.4%) of same-sex couples raising adopted children in the United States today (compared to 3% of different-sex couples), it's highly likely, at the very least, that those families are transcultural. According to April Dinwoodie, Chief Executive of The Donaldson Adoption Institute, Inc., all adoptive families are transcultural. "All, in my opinion, adoptions are transcultural because there are no two families' culture that is exactly the same, even if you went as far as to get very specific about the family of origin and the family of experience and almost make it cookie-cutter … no two families operate the same."

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse