Gay Dad Life

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? – On Meeting President Obama

At President Obama’s final state dinner in October, one guest beamed more than any other – my son Andrew. Three days earlier the invitation had arrived, setting off a whirlwind. With a commitment to a truly representative guest list, Mrs. Obama’s office had requested profiles of Special Olympics athletes from around the country. Andrew topped the list, and he quickly invited me to be his guest.


We instantly felt a deep responsibility to represent thousands of families, from New York and California to North Dakota and Mississippi. Urban and rural alike. Families involved in Special Olympics. Families created by adoption or foster care. Those living with the effects of early trauma or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Those different from the norm – whether led by gay or straight parents.

But all desperately needing a voice.

In other words, liberty without a commitment to equality can leave many on the sidelines of democracy. And like Jimmy Stewart’s wholesome and innocent character in the 1939 film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, my Mr. Peterson had a tremendous opportunity.

      "Great principles don't get lost once they come to light. They’re right there; you just have to see them again.” – Jefferson Smith

It is a timeless vision that Andrew could easily share. His infectious smile blazing a trail for his passion and authenticity.

Once our plane landed, we hit the ground running, with visits to Special Olympics International and the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

No doubt, personal stories can drive public policy – the well-intentioned, inclusive kind.  

A brief window in between meetings allowed a jogging tour of many monuments. “Run, Andrew, run!” You matter too!

Then our six-hour celebration at the White House began.

First was a reception in the East Room with many celebrities and ordinary folks too. Dozens of handshakes and personal greetings. After patiently waiting for an opening, Andrew extended his hand to Jerry Seinfeld. What a wonderful man who listened to us – while learning about the power of laughter in a “trauma home.” Andrew talking about the Soup Nazi will do just that. Yet several well-known faces refused to take the time.

Finally the receiving line in the Yellow Room. My son spoke from the heart while introducing himself to President Obama: “Andrew Peterson, Special Olympics track athlete from Indiana. Thank you for being a role model.” A photographer caught the magic of the moment.

In turn, the president put his arm around my son and introduced him to the leader of Italy. “Prime Minister Matteo, I would like you to meet Andrew Peterson, one of our most accomplished Special Olympics athletes.” Then came the President’s heartfelt response to me: “Good job, Dad.” Clearly, he got it.

After an elegant dinner and a live performance from Gwen Stefani, we dashed again to catch the last subway of the evening – like Cinderella leaving the ball. Three businessmen on the train couldn’t help seeing Andrew’s glow. They asked him to share every detail of the evening. When the last businessman was about to part ways in front of his hotel, he asked to take our picture. Sharing our chance encounter with his family back in California had become very important to him.

At the end of the day, stories matter.

On our final morning, we advocated on Capitol Hill. Although Indiana’s U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly and U.S. Representative Susan Brooks represent different political parties, both their staffs took an interest in the issues affecting Andrew and families like mine.

Without question, we all have more in common than many people are willing to admit. Because we do. Perhaps a shift in thinking requires someone like Andrew to keep the conversation focused. Courteous. And real. No sides. Just one country. Building bridges to unite one another.

Republished with minor changes from Craig Peterson’s blog.

_______

Craig Peterson publishes “EACH Child" every Tuesday. To subscribe, open this link and “Like” the page. EACH Child is Special: Working Smarter Not Harder to Raise Every ONE

To follow Craig’s journey in raising his six children with special needs, click here: Adopting Faith: A Father’s Unconditional Love

To follow my son Andrew’s inspiring story, “Like” his special Facebook page Andrew Peterson Goes for the Gold

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Gay Dad Life

How Canada's 'Gay Dollar' Helped This Gay Man Reflect on His Biggest Regret—Not Having Kids

Canada unveiled a 'gay dollar' coin earlier this year, helping Gregory Walters reflect on the progress the LGBTQ community has made—and his decision to forgo having children children

Earlier this year, Canada unveiled a rainbow-stripped coin dollar to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country's decision to decriminalize homosexuality. With the coins now firmly in circulation, Gregory Walters, who lives in Vancouver, wrote a moving essay for the Globe and Mail, expressing joy for how far Canada has come on the issue of gay rights, but how the coin is also a symbolic representation of the "greatest regret" of his life—his decision not to adopt children.

Gregory writes that he had hoped to adopt a child ever since his early career working with persons with developmental disabilities. "Several children I worked with were wards of the State of Texas," he wrote. "Their parents having relinquished all rights either owing to egregious acts of abuse or a lack of desire to raise someone with so many needs. There were days when I felt, 'If I could just take you home and raise you.' I knew there was a need for adopting persons with special needs but my own internalized homophobia got in the way yet again. Despite what is probably my own gift in working with children, I never felt worthy enough to be a parent. I always felt that if I were a gay dad it would create more of a liability for the child."

Gregory decision to forgo having children, he says, is his "greatest regret." While he takes responsibility for some of this decision, he also adds: "society's view of homosexuals and its opinions regarding gay adoptions also played a major part."

To critics of Canada's coin, some of who have said its a cheap political pander to the LGBTQ community, Gregory concludes with this thought:

"I don't care if the indulged majority who never had to question marriage or raising children or being secure in a job may feel the coin is frivolous. The coin isn't for them in the first place. It's an acknowledgment for those of us who repressed our true selves and felt oppressed. It is for gays who never lived to see rights and protections enshrined in law. It is for younger LGBTQ people to learn more about how far we've come and to gain a deeper sense of gay pride. For these reasons, the coin has value so much greater than any monetary designation. The coin represents both empowerment and normalization."

Read Gregory's full essay here.

Gay Dad Life

8 Pics of Ricky Martin Being an Adorable Dad Because Why Not?

Here's some pics of Ricky Martin being an adorable dad because we've ALL had a long week and deserve this don't we??

Earlier this year, in January 2019, superstar Ricky Martin and his husband Jwan Yosef shared a post via Instagram announcing that they'd welcomed a baby girl named Lucia into their family. With twin 9-year-old sons in the house as well, Ricky and Jwan now have a very full casa. Fortunately, the dads are giving us a little glimpse into their chaotic but fun-filled home lives via Instagram. We rounded up 8 of our fav recent parenting pics by the popstar because we've all had long weeks and we deserve this don't we??

Enjoy!

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Gay Dad Life

17 T.V. Shows Featuring Gay Dad Characters

Gay dads are all the rage on the small screen these days... here are 17 shows that prominently feature gay dad characters!

The 2019-2020 TV season will soon be upon us! In recent years, gay dad characters have been all the rage... will we see more representation this fall? We sure hope so! But in the meantime, we'll be content reviewing this list of 17 shows that have (somewhat) prominently featured gay dad characters!

Also we KNOW we're missing some, so drop us a line in the comments to tell us what we should add!

1. Grace & Frankie

In this Netflix original series, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston play gay dads who come out to their wives and children well past their primes. Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda play the ex-wives, rounding out the star-studded cast. Now in its fourth season, the show has been well received and sheds an interesting light on the complications involved with fathers who come out later in life.

Politics

America's First Gay Dad Governor Heads Into the Lion's Den

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently became the first elected Democrat to speak at the annual Western Conservative Summit in Denver

Last Friday, American's first gay dad Governor, Jared Polis, became the first elected Democrat to speak at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, where he urged the Republican crowd to help him build a "Colorado for all."

"While we should never gloss over the things that divide us, there is a lot more that unites us," Polis said. "When we close ourselves off from discussion or debate, and we reject the possibility of hearing and understanding other perspectives, it threatens the fabric of our democracy."

If he was hoping for a Kumbaya moment, he didn't exactly get it. As he was called to the stage, he was greeted with a smattering of applause—while others booed and shouted for a "recall" of the Governor.

"It was almost unbearable for me to sit there to listen to his talk," Abby Johnson, one of the event's attendees, told the Denver Post. "And I'm going to tell you why. He kept talking about equality for all persons, yet we live in a society where 60 million innocent human beings have been slaughtered in the name of choice. Where is their justice? Where is their equal rights?"

Polis was also criticized from his left flank for attending the same event that refuses to let the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP members, participate—and that featured Donald Trump Jr. as a speaker the same day. "To me it feels like vanity," Katie Farnan, a staffer with progressive group Indivisible, told the Denver Post. "He can go and be a hip Democratic governor who isn't afraid to go into GOP sanctuary. Or maybe it's recall insurance. But unless he was there to hold them accountable for their support for fascist and racist policies, what's the point?"

In response to the criticism from both sides of the political aisle, Polis told the Colorado Sun: "I think it's very important that Coloradans of different ideologies, different races, different geographies, different orientations and gender identities all really celebrate that we're all part of what makes Colorado great."

The event is hosted each year by Colorado Christian University to bring together conservatives from around the state, and the larger West.

What do you think, dads? Was Polis's decision to speak at the event a savvy political move or mere pandering?

Entertainment

Hate Group Boycotts 'Toy Story' for Featuring Lesbian Moms—Hilarity Ensues on Twitter

"One Million Moms" announced a boycott of the latest Toy Story movie for *very briefly* featuring lesbian moms. Twitter's response was swift and hilarious.

One Million Moms, which is affiliated with the anti-LGBTQ American Family Association, recently called for a boycott of Toy Story 4 for (very, very briefly) featuring (interracial!) lesbian moms in the animated film. The angry, hateful moms affiliated with this group must have watched the film VERY closely because you could easily blink and miss the moment that apparently "blindsided" viewers.

The Internet reacted with a collective facepalm to the ridiculous boycott. Here are some of our favorite hilarious Twitter reactions to the hateful group:

Apparently the group One Million Moms is actually 26 women named Karen who can’t count very well...https://twitter.com/metroweekly/status/1148828983825448960 …

One Million Moms are such hypocrites! They won't allow two moms being next to each other, yet there is 1 million of them! DOUBLE STANDARDS!

Here's what every member of the One Million Moms looks like in real lifepic.twitter.com/SL1HYv4uvP

Can we submit One Million Moms?pic.twitter.com/V2GiFWmxEQ

going with the name “one million moms” was a shrewd marketing move to conceal the fact that the entire organization is just four elderly weirdos named maude or bethilda or somethinghttps://twitter.com/metroweekly/status/1148828983825448960 …

One Million Moms - The Facebook Group With 94,208 Memberspic.twitter.com/In6Z4hrU9I

One Million Moms are all named Susan and Karen and they would like to speak to the manager.

Just for the record: I have more Twitter followers than “one million moms” ... and I’m just one lesbian mom. #ConsiderTheSourcepic.twitter.com/oL2UyKmSCO





"[T]he scene was included and intentionally not announced prior to the movie release in hopes it would be kept quiet to expose as many children as possible," the organization says in a claim that has echoes of hateful tropes associating homosexuality and pedophilia.

Travel

The Golden Age of Vacationing With Kids

WARNING: BUCKLE UP, YOU'RE ABOUT TO READ WAY TOO MANY GOLDEN GIRLS REFERENCES.

Ever feel like you need a vacation from your family vacation? For years, we did too. But I'm happy to report that we don't anymore. So what caused the big shift? I'll get to that. First, a little background.

For years, taking our son Max on road trips had its fair share of, shall I say, challenges. From New York City to London to San Francisco to Vegas… we traveled down the road and back again. And while we made wonderful memories along the way… these trips weren't entirely wonderful. Whether it was Max's inflexible sleep schedule, his limited food palate, potty training, his disinterest in walking or his inability to fully express himself, it never quite felt like a real vacation because we never got to actually relax. But now that Max is almost nine years old, we decided to give it another go… and so we booked a much-needed respite in Florida with one goal in mind — cheesecake — okay, two goals: we wanted to catch our breath!

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Change the World

This Gay Dad's Life Changed "Unexpectedly" Thanks to His Son's Love of Sports

Bradley Jacobs Sigesmund writes how trading "Broadway for baseball" helped him form straight male friendships in an essay for Shondaland

Bradley Jacobs Sigesmund, a gay dad of a 7-year-old son with his husband Jack, recently contributed a thoughtful essay for Shondaland that explores the unintended, but positive, consequence of his son's love of sports: straight male friends.

He writes, "One night in late May, seven dads stood in a bar singing "Happy Birthday" to me. Each of them were straight. How did this happen?"

As gay dads, many of us who have spent a lifetime avoiding anything that even remotely looked like an athletic league thanks to our experiences with homophobia in the world of team sports growing up. As dads, though, we're often forced back into these spaces to be supportive of our kids. (We've brought you similar essays in the past, most notably John Hart's funny piece about his sudden turn into a hockey dad).

But while many of us find the world of children's sports much more tolerable today, given the (reasonably) secure adult men that we've grown into, Bradley seems to have done the unthinkable: make friends with other (straight) dads involved in his son's athletic leagues.

"With Lucas regularly playing soccer, basketball, and baseball, sports now make up a large part of my weekly routine," Bradley writes. "And as it's turned out, a host of heterosexual dad comrades have been with me every goal, basket, and home run of the way." One dad educates Bradley on the existence of something called "turf shoes." Another on whether his son was better suited to be a midfielder or defender.

"If I ever worried I'd be alienated in the world of sideline-dads," Bradley concludes, "those feelings have long lapsed."

Read the great essay in full here.




Fatherhood, the gay way

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