Gay Dad Life

The Open and Honorable Lives of Josh and Aaron

They had met once before, Aaron and Josh, and while they were certainly intrigued with one another, nothing had come of it that first time.


Then they saw each other again during the Pride festivities in Columbus, Ohio, in 2006. After he reintroduced himself, Josh, then 21, bought Aaron, six years his senior, a hotdog with the last dollar in his wallet. Perhaps because of that hotdog, the two began dating straight away. A few months later, Josh moved in with Aaron.

For a while things were good, and then they weren’t. After only a few months, Josh moved out.

Josh now had to choose between living in his mom’s basement or joining the army. The army won.

Josh

But the guys didn’t forget each other. During Josh’s basic training, they stayed in touch. They wrote. And when Josh came back for leave, they started seeing each other again. Soon, without a ring, Aaron proposed to Josh.

While Josh was deployed in Iraq, Aaron was planning their wedding.

They had to be discreet about their relationship as Josh was serving under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Boyfriend Aaron became “cousin” Aaron. They cleaned up their online lives as best they could. Josh’s MySpace was completely “Aaron-free,” but they forgot to remove from Aaron’s account one particular photo in a background collage of photos: a picture of the guys kissing. Before long, that photo got Josh into trouble. The army initiated discharge proceedings.

Josh and Aaron kissing on Mount Rainier, Washington

Josh never experienced any homophobia as a service member – with the exception of one man in his battalion perhaps – and no one had anything bad to say about Josh. He received an honorable discharge.

On July 5, 2008, Aaron and Josh got married!

Aaron and Josh at their wedding and cutting the cake at their reception

The whole discharge mess turned out to be the catalyst for something incredibly positive: they began talking about starting a family. First, the thinking was, let’s adopt! But soon, for reasons they can’t really remember that clearly, their thinking changed. Surrogacy came into view. Via surrogacy they became the loving dads to twins. Time flies: The twins are now 4 years old.

Birth of the twins, January 2, 2012

Born into a farming family, Aaron was a farmer before college; after college he became a farmer again. The surrogacy experience changed him, and ready for a professional change, he decided to accept a job at their surrogacy agency. Aaron opened a location and specializes in fertility options for same-sex couples. He frequently holds informational meetings geared towards same-sex parents. Josh is now a happy stay-at-home dad.

Life with twins: One is an angel most of the time, cleans up behind her brother, gives hugs and kisses, and is very affectionate. The little boy is a free-spirited, not-a-care-in-the-world kid. He especially likes to wind up his sister. All the time!

Are they thinking of more kids? No, they say. But also, “Never say never.”

Josh

When we asked for advice for those considering fatherhood, Aaron said: “It may be scary but we absolutely have never regretted it. We can’t believe there was a time we were might have considered not having kids.”

They are very much part of a gay dad community in Ohio; Aaron was just elected to the Board of the Family Pride Network in Ohio.

Their immediate families have been very accepting. Aaron’s parents were very excited to be grandparents and his closest relatives have been wonderful. (Unfortunately, his extended family has not been that welcoming, due to differing political and religious views.)

Josh’s family has been accepting as well. His mom took a little while but as soon as they had kids she came into her own as a grandmother.

Aaron and the kids

Both Josh and Aaron are called Dad by their kids, something that wasn’t intentional or practical, really. But if the wrong dad answers, it’s “No, other Dad!”

These men are living open, productive, loving and connected lives in their Dublin, Ohio, community, in the suburbs of Columbus.

Aaron is very excited to be working with kind and caring people, and to be working with a community of gay dads and dads-to-be. Quite a change from when he was working on the farm, where he always had to live “with one foot in the closet,” as he calls it.

And they are quite an inspiration to our growing community of gay dads.

Family at Columbus Pride

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Photo Essays

How Single Dads Are Celebrating Valentine's Day This Year

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers! We caught up with 8 single gay dads to see how they plan to celebrate Valentine's Day with this year.

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers; it's also a day to celebrate our loved ones. And that's exactly what these single dads are doing.

Within our community, GWK has a large group of admirable, active, and awesome (!) single dads and we want to honor them! On Valentine's Day, they and their kids celebrate their family unit in the sweetest possible ways. We asked the dads to share these moments with us, and, where possible, one of the most heartwarming things they've experienced with their kids on Valentine's Day to date.

Hear their stories below.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Photo Essays

11 Gay Couples Share Secrets to Their Long-Term Relationships This Valentine's Day

This Valentine's Day, we spoke with 11 gay dad couples who've been together for almost a decade or longer to learn what's made their relationships last

You're the peanut butter to my jelly, the gin to my tonic, the strawberries to my cream, the Mr. to my Mr.!

Happy Valentine's Day folks! We're excited to celebrate this day of lurrrrvvve by featuring a few dads in our community who've been together for almost a decade or more! And they're ready to share their secrets to a successful relationship and parenting partnership.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Life

"Worth Every Blood, Sweat, and Tear": Congrats to Gay Dads on Recent Births and Adoptions!

Wishing all of these gay dads whose families expanded a lifetime of happiness! Congrats to everyone in our community on their recent births and adoptions!

Gay men go through a lot of ups and downs on the path to parenthood. It can be one of the most emotionally draining times in our lives. But as each of these families who are celebrating births and adoptions this month agree: it's worth every hardship.

Congrats to the dads whose families grew this month!

Keep reading...
News

What's it Like to Be a Child of the 'Gayby Boom'?

Tosca Langbert, who grew up with two dads, writes a piece for the Harvard Business Review about what it's like being among the first children of the "Gayby Boom" to come of age.

We've previously written about the pressure on LGBTQ parents to appear perfect, given that so many in the United States still feel out families shouldn't exist in the first place. And we know this pressure trickles down to our kids. But In an article for the Harvard Business Review titled 'The Gayby Boom Is Here to Stay," author Tosca Langbert eloquently writes, from her perspective, about the experience of beingone of the first children to come of age during an era when LGBTQ parenthood is far more commonplace. She and her two siblings, she notes, "were raised in a family that was an impossibility only decades ago."

In the article, Langbert said she knew from a young age that her family was different from those of most of her peers, who had one a father and a mother. But otherwise, she writes, she didn't feel like her family differed much. "Like any other parents, Dad sat in the carpool lane after school and taught us how to ride our bikes," she writes, "while Papa took us to the movies on the weekends and separated the whites from the colors."

Despite this mundanity, her family remained something to marvel at for much of her youth. When the family moved into a new neighborhood in 2006, it made the local newspaper, with a headline titled, "Gay Father Tests Tolerance in the Park Cities."

She and her siblings have spent much of their lives, she explained further, having to respond to the question: what's it like having two gay dads? For Langbert, there is only one correct response, which is: Amazing! "Any other response, even if simply accounting for a family's nuanced experience, might as well be an outright admission of failure on behalf of the entire LGBTQ community," she wrote.

Children of the 'Gayby Generation,' are also put in the position of having to come out on behalf of their parents, and "often with mixed results," she wrote. She gave the following anecdote as an example:

"My father was asked to step down from his leadership position in my brother's Boy Scout troop on account of his sexuality. Even though my siblings and I were only fourth graders at the time, we understood that our family was under strict scrutiny, and that even the slightest misstep could beget severe consequences for how competent our fathers were perceived as being. In the face of this pressure, the first generation of 'gaybies' recognized the importance of presenting their families as perfect; doing otherwise would only present ammunition to those already dubious about the rights of LGBTQ parents to raise children."

The entire article, which includes the perspectives of multiple now-grown kids that are part of the "Gayby generation," is well worth a read, which you can access here.


Politics

Utah Bill Would Allow Gay Men to Enter Surrogacy Contracts

Rep. Patrice Arent of Utah is sponsoring a bill that will remove a provision that currently prohibits gay men from entering into commercial surrogacy contracts in the state.

Though Utah is not one of the three states that currently prohibit commercial surrogacy contracts, the state's current policy does specifically exclude gay men from doing so. That may soon changed, however, thanks to a bill in the state's legislature that was unanimously voted out of a House Committee that would remove that restriction.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, a Democrat, was created in response to a ruling by the Utah Supreme Court this past August that found the ban on gay men unconstitutional.

Gay men have been excluded from legally entering surrogacy contracts due to a provision in the current law that requires medical evidence "that the intended mother is unable to bear a child or is unable to do so without unreasonable risk to her physical or mental health or to the unborn child," Rep. Arent told the Salt Lake Tribune — a requirement that clearly excludes gay male couples.

The state's original surrogacy law dates back to 2005, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the state, which accounts for the gendered language. Though the state's Supreme Court already ruled the provision unconstitutional, Rep Arent further told the Tribute that, "People do not look to Supreme Court opinions to figure out the law, they look to the code and the code should be constitutional."

Politics

Colorado Republicans Try and Fail to Outlaw LGBTQ Marriage and Adoption Rights

A bill introduced by four Republican state legislators in Colorado that would outlaw same-sex marriage and adoption rights was voted down.

The "Colorado Natural Marriage and Adoption Act," which would have outlawed gay marriage and adoption in the state of Colorado, was voted down in the state legislature this week. The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Stephen Humphrey and three of his conservative colleagues: Dave Williams, Shane Sandridge and Mark Baisley.

If enacted, the bill would have enforced "state law that marriage is between one man and one woman" and restrict "adoption of children by spouses in a marriage ... that consist of one man and one woman."

The bill, which had little chance of success, particularly in Colorado which has trended more progressive over the past several election cycles, was mostly symbolic, according to Sanridrge. "We all know this bill isn't gonna pass in this current left-wing environment," he told Colorado Public Radio. "It's to remind everyone, this is the ultimate way to conceive a child."

In a sign of how far we've come on the issue of LGBTQ marriage and parenting rights, most Republican legislators in the state did not endorse the bill.

Though the bill had little chance of passage, LGBTQ advocacy groups in the state are taking the threats seriously nonetheless. Daniel Ramos, director of the LGBTQ group One Colorado, told LGBTQ Nation that the bills were an attempt to return Colorado to its "hate status" of the 1990s, adding the aggressiveness of the measures were "a bit surprising."

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Dads Talk About Surrogacy Process in New Video for Northwest Surrogacy Center

The Northwest Surrogacy Center interviewed some of their gay dad clients for a video to celebrate their 25th anniversary of creating families through surrogacy!

Image: NWSC Clients

Last year, Northwest Surrogacy Center celebrated 25 years of helping parents realize their dreams. And they celebrated in style by inviting the families they've worked with over the past two and a half decades to join them!

At the party, they took the opportunity to film queer dads and dads-to-be, asking them a couple of questions: how did it feel holding your baby for the first time, and tell us about your relationship with your surrogate.

Watch the video below and get ready for the water works!

Keep reading...

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse