Gay Dad Life

The Greatest Gift Ever

What was your greatest gift ever? Have you ever thought about what your answer would be? I know unequivocally the greatest gift I have ever received. It was almost Christmas nearly 15 years ago, just before Y2K.  But before I reveal what that gift was, let me give you some history that brought me to that moment.

I grew up in a rural setting and spent most of my youth working on a farm and playing in the cornfields. Yes, I can actually bale hay, milk a cow, muck out a stall and even call cows. I knew very early on that that life was not for me. To quote the theme song from 'Green Acres': “New York is where I'd rather stay/I get allergic smelling hay!/I just adore a penthouse view/Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue!”

I formulated my plan early and as my friends can attest, I can be a bit overzealous with my planning. I graduated from high school with my sights on a small private school in upstate New York and then law School. Unfortunately, that college went bankrupt the summer after my high school graduation and closed its doors. Not to be deterred from my plan, I ended up at a fall back school – SUNY Oneonta. What a mistake: more cows! I had been accepted at Syracuse University but that was only 30 minutes from home. Wasn’t the object of college to get as far away from home as possible? Nonetheless, I transferred to Syracuse University, Utica College campus. For the next three years I would be living at home.

I graduated from Syracuse University in 3 ½ years and was off to law school. I finally moved out of my parents' home and, after a brief stop in Albany as a senate clerk, I moved to Connecticut to begin law school. I was just an hour outside of Manhattan and ready to explore my coming out years.

I survived first year law school hell. The main objective of the professors is to teach you to think and learn differently and to humiliate you whenever possible in front of your peers! Year one completed and I am thrown another curve ball – I hated law school. During the first semester of my second year, while contemplating dropping out of law school, I was persuaded to take a class for all of the important reasons: a great time slot, it did not meet on Friday (it didn't interfere with my Thursday night gay bar adventures) and an easy professor. Lucky for me, in that class, I found my career niche in intellectual property. I focused the rest of my law school curriculum on intellectual property classes and graduated law school in 2 ½ years.

My first real job out of law school was as assistant general counsel for Chanel. A gay man’s dream. Being a gay man working at Chanel was the norm, not the exception. My career gave me the opportunity to be “of counsel” to Tommy Hilfiger and Nautica. From there, I was recruited to be the worldwide intellectual property counsel for Timberland. After six years there, I was approached by Burberry to start the US legal department as the intellectual property counsel. What a wonderful career, but there was always something missing. I was not complete nor was I happy.

To the world, I appeared wildly successful, living the dream. I traveled the world, I owned two vacation homes in addition to my primary residence, had a small yacht in New Haven harbor and a collection of cars. I attended fashion shows in London, Paris and New York and met all of the best designers, actors, models and CEOs. But something was missing.

That bring me to the reason I am writing for you today. While at Timberland, I met a 72-year-old woman, a retired pediatrician, who funded the rebuilding of an orphanage in Cambodia that provided shelter, medical care and education to around 90 Cambodian orphans – mostly boys. She convinced me to get involved with her charity. I developed a deep compassion for the orphanage she was supporting. After I met with her foundation board, my admiration and respect for this woman continued to grow. Finally, I began the adoption process for one of the orphans. I began working to fulfill my life-long dream of being a dad.

The adoption process was more difficult than getting admitted to the Bar. As many of you are aware, there are health exams, psychological evaluations, police clearance, FBI clearance and fingerprinting, home inspections and reference letters. I completed my paperwork with the help of my personal assistant and kept all of the paperwork in a dedicated briefcase that remained with me morning, noon and night.

One weekend in early December of 1999, I decided to take a pre-holiday trip to Atlantic City with my then-partner and his parents to enjoy some rest and relaxation and some gambling. It was only a two-day trip, so I packed light and left the briefcase at home.

My assistant manages to get a hotel staff member to track me down as I am leaving a blackjack table. “They called, they need to speak to you!” I immediately contacted the adoption agency. A referral had come through. Back in my hotel room, I get an email;  the attached photos trickle in, slowly, pixel by pixel.  Up comes the most amazing thing I have ever seen: a photograph of Mean Chey, a 16-month-old boy, the size of a 3-month-old, with big brown eyes and a sad smile. In that room at the Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, on December 7, 1999 I got the first glimpse of my son Harrison.

Finally, on February 24, 2000 I got to meet this boy when his nanny placed him in my arms. In a moment that we celebrate every year, a moment forever crystal clear in my memory, Harrison gently laid his head on my shoulder and went to sleep. I had received the greatest gift of my life.

That began the happiest and most fulfilling aspect of my life. This past weekend, that boy turned sixteen and I am beginning my journey of blogging the experiences of "an adoptive dad of a hormone-addled 16-year-old boy (navigating the waters of sex, drugs, alcohol and high school) while managing the complexity of a second parent adoption with a younger partner.”

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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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Gay Dad Life

Need a Sitter for Your Kids? Gays With Kids Reviews UrbanSitter

Back-to-school is already here for some of us, and if you're looking for a sitter to help out with school runs, after-school pick-ups, and the occasional date night, check out our review of UrbanSitter.

Instagram @davidcblacker

We moved from New York to Boston the summer of 2017. Along with the Manhattan skyline, our beloved Broadway, and late-night cookie deliveries, we also left behind our sitters — two sisters who had become more like family.

After settling for several months into our new home and neighborhood, we realized we hadn't had a dads' night out since our move. Our kids were still too young to leave alone at night, so I began what I presumed would be the tedious task of finding a sitter.

The first thing I did was to leave a post on our local parents' Facebook group. The dad of one of our daughters' classmates told me about UrbanSitter, a website and mobile app that he'd had success using to find last-minute sitters a few times. He also mentioned that within the app, I could see see babysitters and nannies recommended by parents at our kids' school in addition to local parenting groups.

While I appreciated the tip, I let him know that I was really hoping for a direct referral. But when none others came from the — other than a couple of middle schoolers looking for their first sitting jobs — I decided to give it a try.

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Move over Modern Family, there are some new gay dads taking over the small screen! Big Bad Boo Studios is bringing their animated series The Bravest Knight to Hulu. The series is based upon a children's book called "The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived" by Daniel Errico, and it follows the life of Sir Cedric - now grown and married to Prince Andrew - as he regales their adopted daughter Nia with tales of his knighthood journey as she trains to become a knight herself.

"We are so excited about The Bravest Knight, its values and our partnership with Hulu," said Shabnam Rezaei, the director of the series and co-founder of Big Bad Boo Studios. "They understand how to push the envelope with authentic storytelling."

"I immediately fell in love with the idea of a girl wanting to work hard and make something of herself," Rezaei continued. "I also have a nephew who has two dads, so it's a very personal issue for me. I want him to have role models when he's watching TV. I want him to feel like having two dads is completely normal. That's what this show is going to do for him."

Errico's book was first realized as an animation when Hulu created a short film based upon his writing and were interested in exploring the concept of a full series. "I watched the eight minutes on Hulu and at the end the prince and the knight get married and I was in tears," says Rezaei. Rezaei then stepped in to create all new art work including new character design by Tim Linklater and backgrounds by Sarita Kolhatra. Together, they created a kickass bible and pitched the series to Hulu and were successful.

Diversity and inclusivity is celebrated throughout The Bravest Knight, reflected by its casting choices. Nia is played by Storm Reid, from "A Wrinkle in Time," and her dads Sir Cedric and Prince Andrew are voiced by T.R. Knight and Wilson Cruz respectively. The star studded cast also includes Wanda Sykes, Bobby Moynihan, RuPaul, Steven Weber, Teri Polo, AJ McLean, Jazz Jennings, Maz Jobrani and Christine Baranski as the formidable Red Dragon.

"With so many wonderful stories yet to be told, we hope that The Bravest Knight stands as an example of the undeniable strength in inclusivity, and the inherent joy in all forms of love and identity," said Errico, the author of the original book.

The first 5 episodes were released on June 21, and there are 8 more planned for release before the end of the year. Be sure to tune in!

This is the Main Title Song for Big Bad Boo's Hulu Original Series "The Bravest Knight". The song is performed by Justin Tranter and composed by Michael Plow...


Gay Dad Penguins Strike Again! This Time in Berlin Zoo

The latest male penguins to care for an egg together are Skipper and Ping in the Berlin Zoo.

First, there was Roy and Silo — the two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that served as inspiration for the famous children's book And Tango Makes Three. Then Magin Sphen got together in Sydney, where aquarium keepers gave the cocks (Calm down, that's what a male penguin is called!) a foster egg to care for.

And now, please welcome Skipper and Ping in Berlin to the latest list of gay dad penguins! As soon as the two emperor penguins arrived at the city's zoo, they set about trying to start a family, said Berlin Zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaege to DPA news.

"They kept trying to hatch fish and stones," Jaeger said.

So the zookeepers loaned the penguins an egg from a female penguin, who is apparently uninterested in hatching eggs on her own, according to the BBC.

Unsurprisingly, the gay penguins are killing it as parents. "The two male penguins are acting like exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg," Jaeger said,

Read the whole article on DPA here.

Change the World

Hungarian Company Raising Money for LGBTQ+ Organization with a LEGO® Heart

Startup WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is helping combat misinformation and prejudice in Central and Eastern Europe


WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is an innovative startup venture that sells LEGO® parts and unique creations. The core values of our company include social equality regardless of gender identity or origin. As LEGO® is a variety of colors and shapes, so are the people.

We all know that LEGO® is a brand that nearly everyone knows and likes between the age of 3 and 99 so this gives a great opportunity to connect unique LEGO® creations and Pride. We started a fundraising campaign for a Hungarian LGBTQ+ organization who's aim is to bring people closer to the LGBTQ+ community, they help to combat misinformation and prejudice regarding LGBTQ+ issues in Central- Eastern Europe since 2000.

You might know that gender equality and the circumstances of LGBTQ+ people is not the easiest in the former communist Eastern European countries like Hungary so this program is in a real need for help. For example a couple of month ago a member of the government said that homosexual people are not equal part of our society.

The essence of the campaign is when one buys a Pride Heart, a custom creation made of brand new and genuine LEGO® bricks the organization gets $10.00 donation so they can continue their important work. This Pride Heart is a nice necklace, a decoration in your home, and a cool gift to the one you love.

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Single Gay Dad Featured on Season Three of GLOW

Actor Kevin Cahoon joins the Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting in Vegas as a single gay dad — and drag queen — on Season Three of the hit Netflix show

For a couple of years now, Hollywood has been obsessed with gay dad characters (and who can blame them?) But the latest show to get hip to a story line featuring gay man raising kids is Netflix's GLOW, which explores a female wresting troop in the late 1980s.

But GLOW is helping represent a gay character that rarely gets time in the limelight:the single gay dad. In Season three of the hit comedy — which stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron — actor Kevin Cahoon joins the case as Bobby Barnes, a single gay father who plays a female impersonator. (80s divas only, of course — Joan Collins and Babs among them)

"I've never done female impersonation," the openly gay actor told OutSmart Magazine, "so I tried to learn really quick. You will know them all; I was very familiar with all of them. There were plenty of talk shows and performances on YouTube to study. I learned that their breathing was very informative."

A single gay dad AND drag queen on television? It's about damn time if you ask us.

Read the full interview with Cahoon here.


Utah Court Rules Gay Couples Can't Be Excluded From Surrogacy Contracts

The Utah Supreme Court found in favor of a gay couple attempting to enter into a surrogacy contract.


Earlier this month, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that a same-sex couples can't be excluded from entering into enforceable surrogacy contracts, and sent a case concerning a gay male couple back to trial court to approve their petition for a surrogacy arrangement.

As reported in Gay City News, the case concerns Utah's 2005 law on surrogacy, which was enacted prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state. As a result, the content of the law is gendered, saying that surrogacy contracts should only be enforceable if the "intended mother" is unable to bear a child. When a gay couple approached District Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox to enter into a surrogacy arrangement, he denied them, arguing that the state's law only concerned opposite sex couples.

"This opinion is an important contribution to the growing body of cases adopting a broad construction of the precedent created by Obergefell v. Hodges and the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Pavan v. Smith," according to GCN. "It's also worth noting that same-sex couples in Utah now enjoy a right denied them here in New York, where compensated gestational surrogacy contracts remain illegal for all couples."

Read the full article here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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