Change the World

After Harrowing Delivery, Barry's Bootcamp CEO Welcomes Home a Baby Boy

Joey Gonzalez, CEO of Barry's Bootcamp, and Jonathan Rollo, founder of Greenleaf Gourmet Chop Shop, recently welcomed their second child, Jake, into their family. We caught up with Joey recently to talk about fatherhood, fitness, and Jake's scary entry into the world on April 8th of this year: 

Gays With Kids: You mentioned baby Jake had a dramatic entrance into the world on April 8 this year. What happened? Were you in the birthing room?

Joey Gonzalez: We were in the room, and it was actually a very traumatic experience. He flipped around in the final moments before coming out, shocking the midwife and nurses who were not prepared for a breeched birth. (Breeched babies are typically delivered through cesarean section surgeries) When they realized what was happening, they hit the emergency button and a dozen staff members ran into the room. Jake's legs came out one by one, but his entire body was pale, white and limp. Dayna continued to push, but unfortunately experienced what is called "head entrapment." This occurs when the entire body is delivered, but the head remains stuck. At this point, the NICU team arrived and they asked "the family to be removed." Words I will never forget. Jon, my Mom, and I waited in the hallway and listened to Dayna scream, push, and eventually deliver our son. However, the entire room was silent, and there were no sounds of him screaming or crying. The staff eventually allowed us back in the room, and we could see him hooked up to an oxygen machine while being worked on by the physician and his team. After what seemed like an eternity, Jake finally let out a scream, and the nurse next to us smiled, and said, "that's a very good sign."

GWK:  We're so happy everything worked out! From your Instagram accounts, it looks like you've used the same surrogate, Dayna, for both of your children. Could you tell us a little about your relationship with your her?

JG: She's a miracle. She and her family have sacrificed so much to bring Frankie and Jake into our lives.

GWK: How is your first born, Francesca, responding to her little brother?

JG: She has been a dream come true---only ever kissing and hugging her brother, to whom she refers to as "baby."

GWK: How are you and Jonathan managing life with two children under the age of 2, and operating your personal businesses?

JG: The balance is challenging. It feels as though no matter what I'm doing, I'm sacrificing other important responsibilities. At some point, you just have to trust your ability to prioritize, and live in the moment. I love my job so much, but of course I love my family above all.

GWK: How tough has it been to keep up with working out as a new gay dad?

JG: Tough. It's the area of my life that has taken the biggest hit. I've only been able to workout approximately 4 times a week, which I've offset by eating even healthier than before.

GWK: How important is fitness and healthy living to you as new gay dads?

JG: Very important. All the aforementioned things are a part of our identity: work, family, and health. Jon and I have built our lives around health and fitness and it's vital we teach our children the importance of it always.

GWK: What fitness tips do you have for a new dads?

JG: Snatch up every opportunity you get. Set a weekly goal and do what it takes to meet it. Also, try and find workouts that can involve your kids!

GWK: Why did you decide to join Barry's Bootcamp?

JG: When I discovered Barry's, it was a small local workout concept here in Los Angeles. The way it changed my body and mind and the friends I made in class drove me to approach the founders about an expansion.

GWK: Do you have plans to grow your family again?

We've always wanted a bigger family (three or four), but are planning to test life with two for a while before jumping the gun.

GWK: How has life changed since becoming dads? 

JG: I thought it would feel much more like work, and underestimated the amount of fun and joy we squeeze out of every moment together.

GWK: If you could go back in time and give your younger self any advice about your path in life, what would it be?

JG: Follow your gut and have fun. Don't sweat the small stuff.


Check out some of our favorite Instagram pics of Joey and Jonathan's family in the slide show below! And if you're in need of a new workout routine, be sure to check out a Barry's Bootcamp near you. In the Los Angeles area? Check out Greenleaf Gourmet Chop Shop which specializes in fresh, affordable, and healthy foods. 


Left: Francesca's birth announcement. Right: Jake's birth announcement.

So in love with Jake Stone Gonzollo . . . FIG meet her baby brother today.

A post shared by Jonathan Rollo (@chefjonrollo) on



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World's First Sperm Bank Opens for HIV Positive Donors

Sperm Positive, started by three non-profits in New Zealand, hopes to end stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood

"Our donors have so much to give," say the promotional materials of a new sperm bank. "But they can't give you HIV."

The new sperm bank, Sperm Positive, launched on World Aids Day this year by three non-profits as a way to fight stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood. For years, scientists have known that those living with an undetectable level of HIV in their blood thanks to antiretroviral treatments can't transmit the virus through sex or childbirth. Yet discrimination and stigma persists.

The sperm bank exists online only, but will connect donors and those seeking donations with fertility banks once a connection is made on their site. Sperm Positive was started by three New Zealand non-profits — Body Positive, the New Zealand Aids Foundation and Positive Women Inc. — who hope the project will help disseminate science-backed education and information about HIV and parenthood.

Already, three HIV positive men have signed up to serve as donors, including Damien Rule-Neal who spoke to the NZ Herald about his reasons for getting involved in the project. "I want people to know life doesn't stop after being diagnosed with HIV and that it is safe to have children if you're on treatment," he told the Herald. "I've experienced a lot of stigma living with HIV, both at work and in my personal life that has come from people being misinformed about the virus."

We applaud the effort all around! To read more about our own efforts to end the stigma surround HIV and parenthood, check out our recent round-up of family profiles, resources, and expert advice that celebrate the experience of gay dads living with HIV here.

Change the World

'Homosexuality is Wrong' Utah Teacher Tells Boy Who Gave Thanks for His Two Adoptive Dads

The substitute teacher went on to say two men living together is "sinful." She was fired shortly after.

To anyone with a heart, the moment should have done nothing more than bring a tear to the eye. Last week, just before the Thanksgiving break, a substitute teacher in a fifth grade class in Cedar Hills, Utah — just south of Salt Lake City — asked her students to name something they were thankful for this holiday season.

"I'm thankful for finally being adopted by my two dads," said Daniel, one of the boys, when it was his turn.

Rather than grab a tissue to dab her eyes, or ask the classroom to join her in a hearty round of applause to celebrate Daniel finding his forever family, the teacher took it upon herself to impart her personal religious beliefs onto the young boy. "Homosexuality is wrong," the teacher said in front of the class, adding that it was "sinful" for two men to live together.

The teacher, fortunately, was fired from Kelly Services, the substitute staffing company that employed her, quickly after the incident, but the moment is nonetheless receiving widespread attention in the press — no doubt in part because one of the boy's dads, Louis van Amstel of "Dancing With the Stars," posted a video clip to his 76,000 Twitter followers with the title: "Our child was bullied."

"It shouldn't matter if you're gay, straight, bisexual, black and white," he said to the New York Times in a follow up interview. "If you're adopting a child and if that child goes to a public school, that teacher should not share her opinion about what she thinks we do in our private life."

Louis also revealed that the moment may not have come to light were it not for three of his son's classmates, who told the principal about the teacher's bigoted comments. His son, Daniel, didn't want to report the incident for fear of getting the teacher into trouble.

Louis expressed thanks that the staffing company responded as quickly as it did following the incident — and also stressed that his neighbors and community have rallied behind he and his family in the days afterward, offering support. He wanted to dispel stereotypes that Utah, because of its social conservatism and religiosity, was somehow inherently prejudiced.

"It doesn't mean that all of Utah is now bad," he told the Times. "This is one person."

It's also true that this type of prejudice is in no way limited to so-called red states, and incidents like these happen daily. LGBTQ parents and our children are subjected to homophobic and transphobic comments in schools, hospitals, stores, airlines and elsewhere as we simply go about living our lives. These moments so often fly under the radar — many classmates don't have the courage, as they fortunately did in this case, to report wrongdoing. Some administrators are far less responsive than they were here — and most of us don't have 76,000 Twitter followers to help make these moments of homophobia a national story.

All that aside, let's also get back to what should have been nothing more than a heartwarming moment — Daniel, a fifth grade boy, giving thanks to finally being legally adopted into a loving family.

Change the World

9 Stories That Celebrate the Experience of Gay Fathers Living with HIV

This World AIDS Day, we dug into our archives to find 9 stories that bring awareness to and celebrate the experience of gay dads living with HIV

December 1st is World AIDS Day — a day to unite in our collective fight to end the epidemic, remember those we've lost, and bring much needed attention and money to support those who continue to live with HIV and AIDS. For us at Gays With Kids, it's also a time to lift up and celebrate the experiences of fathers, so many of who never thought they'd see the day where they would be able to start families.

Towards that end, we've rounded up nine stories, family features and articles from our archives that celebrate the experience of gay fathers living with HIV — the struggles, triumphs and everything in between.

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Gay Dad Life

Broadway Performer's Surrogacy Journey Briefly Sidetracked — for One Very 'Wicked' Reason

"Broadway Husbands" Stephen and Bret explain the exciting reasons they had to hit pause on their surrogacy journey — but don't worry, they're back on track!

In the latest video of the Broadway Husbands sharing their path to fatherhood, Stephen and Bret explain their hiatus for the past 4 months. The couple have big news to share including a relocation, a job announcement, and the fact that they're getting ready to restart their journey (which they had to take a brief pause from since September).

Watch their video to find out their latest news.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

These Gay Dads Lost Everything After Hurricane Dorian — Except Hope

The couple, who live in "Hope Town" in the Bahamas, lost everything after suffering a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian this past summer.

Max Bethel-Jones, 52, had traveled to more than 120 countries over the last 30 years working with the United Nations, but had never been to the Bahamas — in 2015, he decided to apply for a private teaching job as a special needs teacher in Freeport on the island of Grand Bahama.

Just weeks after his arrival, he'd get a whole lot more than another pin in his map of visited countries when he attended a social event at Freeport Rugby. "My object was to ogle the local male talent but several women had other ideas," he said. One woman was particularly insistent, he said, but after a couple of drinks she got the hint that he batted for the other rugby team. "She promptly told me there was someone I should meet."

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Gay Dads Told One Must Identify as 'Mother' to Enroll in Daycare

The Israeli gay dads told one must identify as mother — like a "normal couple" — in order to receive financial assistance for daycare.

Israeli dads Guy Sadak Shoham and Chai Aviv Shoham were trying to enroll their two-year-old twins in daycare when they were told by a government official that one would need to identify as the "mother" in order to be cleared.

According to Out Magazine, the couple was attempting to apply for financial aid to help pay for the costs of preschool when a government bureaucrat called them to discuss their eligibility.

"I understand that you are both fathers and understand that you both run a shared household, but there is always the one who is more dominant, who is more the mother," the government said, according to an interview on the Israel site Ynet (translated by Out Magazine). "I am just asking for a written statement in your hand which of you is the mother. From the point of view of the work, which works less than the father. Like a normal couple."

The official, apparently, said she was beholden to rules set for in the Ministry of Economy.

"It is mostly sad and a little disturbing," one of the dads told Ynet. "These are concepts that we consider the past. We do not necessarily come up with allegations against this representative, she is ultimately subject to the guidelines and as she said, they are the state. It is also sad that the state's definition of a mother is someone who works less and is at home with the children, and that we must choose which of us meets that definition."

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, fortunately, issued an apology following the incident, and promised to update its protocols. "We will emphasize that the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs practices explicitly treat all types of families and grant equal rights to all," the ministry wrote in a statement, an apology that was called "insufficient" by Ohad Hizki, the director-general of the National LGBT Task Force.

"The Ministry of Labor and Welfare must sharpen its procedures immediately to prevent recurrence of cases of this kind, as other public organizations have been able to do," he said.

Read more about this story on Out Magazine.

Gay Dad Life

Top 10 Reasons You Should Date a Gay Dad

Jay Turner lays out the top 10 reasons you should consider dating a single gay dad

We're gay dads. Many of us were married to women, and for various reasons we eventually found ourselves single and looking for companionship from another man. Life is a little more complicated for us because we have kids. But that shouldn't deter you from seeking a relationship with a gay dad. In fact, there are many reasons why we make better partners than men without children. We are generally more mature, responsible, and emotionally available. We are also better communicators.

Here are the top ten reasons why you should date a gay dad:

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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