Gay Dad Life

Hoping to Become a Father, but Afraid to Have a Boy

Even as a young child, I knew I wanted to be a father. But I also knew I was gay. So while fatherhood has always been a dream of mine, I lived with the fear that gay men just didn't have children, so I'd never be a dad.

I loved kids so much that I spent much of my time babysitting: my younger siblings, my cousins, the neighbourhood kids. Starting at the age of 15 and continuing through my 24th year, I spent each summer as a camp counselor, always working with the youngest kids. I hoped that somehow, one day, I would become a dad.

I came out to my mother when I was 19. (It wasn't on purpose, but that's the subject of a whole other blog post!) I waited five more years to tell my dad because I was scared of what he might say or do. When I finally did tell him, I was surprised by his reaction. Instead of disowning me, he told me, “I love you no matter what, but I am sad because you will never get to be a father.”

This statement resonated with me for a very long time and made me see my dad differently. Times were different back then, the AIDS epidemic was going strong and it was still seen as a gay disease; gay issues and same-sex families were not as accepted in mainstream media or by society for that matter as they are now.

“Was he right?” I asked myself. “Because I am gay, would this dream of mine ever become a reality?”

The cast of Knots Landing, an American prime-time soap opera on CBS

The Gay Father in L.A.


Lucky for me, I did have one inspiration! I had befriended my father’s first cousin, who lived in L.A. in the early eighties when I was just 13. We had never met before but I had heard the rumors that he was gay and he was a director in L.A. working on shows like Remington Steele and Knots Landing, so of course I wanted to meet him. After all, I was obsessed with Donna Mills and Nicollette Sheridan!

I first met him when I was 13 and on a bus trip that took me across the United States. It was the start of a lifelong friendship. When I was in my early 20s he had twin girls with the help of a surrogate. This was the early 90s and it was definitely not the norm yet. He was a huge role model to me, living my dream of creating a family, something I had always hoped for. He was gay, he was single, and he had two daughters! I knew then that if he could do it, so could I! The only thing standing in my way now was money.

BJ, Frankie and Milo fresh from the delivery room

Becoming a Father Myself

Let’s fast forward more than twenty years. Here I am married to BJ, the most wonderful, loving, supportive husband anyone could ask for. We started our surrogacy journey to have children and are now almost 4 months pregnant. We drive to Kingston, Ontario to attend the ultrasound appointment to find out the gender of our baby. The nurse announces, “I see something that looks like a penis!” We are so happy and excited that we are having a boy, but I start to question myself. Will I be a good father to my son? Will I be able to play sports with my son? Will I be the father that my son deserves?

BJ and I talked a lot about how our lives would be with a son or a daughter, or for that fact we could have had twins and one of each! BJ and I both grew up having better relationships with the women in our lives than with the men. I have to be honest, I was a bit scared to have a little boy.

Growing up I just didn’t have as close of a relationship with my dad or brother as I would have liked. I was a sensitive kid, and I was not really into sports. On the other hand, my father and brother love sports. All sports! My father played on many sports teams: baseball, basketball and curling; he also coached soccer and baseball. In fact, he was my coach for softball and soccer, which I played for only a year. (Most of the games I spent picking flowers in the soccer field and being afraid of the softball.) I don’t ever remember my dad pushing me to play after I expressed a lack of interest. I remember him asking me, “What do you want to do?” He always supported my choice of hobbies growing up.

Ticket for Madonna – The Re-Invention Tour

Madonna: My Dallas Cowboys

Every year my dad goes with my brother to watch the Dallas Cowboys play. This has been my brother’s favorite team since he was a child and this was something they did together. One year my dad accompanied me to the Madonna Re-Invention Tour concert. To me, Madonna is my Dallas Cowboys and her tour is my Superbowl! My dad was out of his element there, but he came with me because it was important to me. That was the kind of man he was, and that is the kind of man I want to be for my child. Even though I might not have been as close to my dad growing up as I would have liked, he is always there for all of us now. He makes sure to take the time out of his day to spend with all his grandchildren, and gets down to play with them even when he is tired and in pain. He is a great role model to BJ and me. We hope to have as much energy as he has when we become grandparents one day!

Clockwise from top left: Baby Frankie, Frankie with his dad and younger brother, and Frankie skating

Being a Father to a Son

Even before Milo was born, all my straight male friends and family started telling me all the things we had to do with our son to make sure he would fit in. First and foremost, they told me he needed to learn how to skate so he could play hockey, and this must start by age of 3. BJ and I were told on more than one occasion that he would hate us for life if we didn’t teach him how to skate. “If he ever decides to play hockey, he will have the skills needed.” This all seemed a bit foreign to BJ and me, as neither of us knows how to skate or play hockey. We were thinking of putting him into dance, karate, swimming and gymnastics. Do all (Canadian) boys really play hockey? So many things to think about. We were already ruining his life and he wasn’t even born!

I will say the moment I held Milo for the first time, in that picture that has been seen millions of times the world over, all my fears of having a little boy went out the window. I realized that my past relationships and my own insecurities will only make me a better dad. As I reflect on my past, I realize the things that held me back growing up and I am determined to not let those same things get in the way of my son’s development.

 

The Future

If Milo chooses to play hockey, or any sport for the matter, we will be at every game cheering him on, like my father did for my brother growing up. I could never understand why anyone wanted to sit through all those baseball, soccer and hockey games – yes, my brother played all of them – but I am starting to see now that it is different when it is your kid out there playing. I have watched my sister become a hockey mom to her boys over the past ten years, something she swore would never happen to her. Zaida (grandfather) still loves to go to the games as well; he rarely misses one of his grandchildren’s games. I hope Milo will be lucky enough to have Zaida cheering him on one day soon. As much as BJ and I don’t love sports, we love our son, and will be there by his side no matter what he chooses to do in his spare time.

We have already introduced him to swimming, gymnastics and sportball and soon he will tell us what he wants to do. He is a loving, smart and affectionate little boy. We couldn’t have asked for more. We love him unconditionally and we are so happy to have been blessed with this little man. Having Milo has given me a chance to look at my own life and reflect on my own relationships. Some relationships have definitely gotten stronger and others have not. I think having a child really opens your eyes and make you see the world differently. We will be his biggest supporters, and be there for him 100 percent of the way. We will try to be the best dads we can be.

Watch BJ and Frankie's video: Visiting a Gay Dad Family.

Visit BJ and Frankie's website Family Is About Love

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Gay Dad Life

Karamo Brown Co-Writes Children's Book with Son, Jason

The 'Queer Eye' star and his son named the story on a family mantra: You are Perfectly Designed

When his sons, Jason and Chris, were young, "Queer Eye" Star Karamo Brown repeated the same saying to them: "You are perfectly designed."

That mantra is now a Children's Book, cowritten by Karamo and his 22-year-old son, Jason, who used to come how and "say things like, 'I don't want to be me, I wish I was someone else, I wish I had a different life." As a parent, that "broke my heart," Karamo told Yahoo! Lifestyle. "I would say to him, 'You are blessed and you are perfect just the way you are,' as a reminder that you have been given so much and you should be appreciative and know that you're enough — I know that the world will try to tear you down, but if you can say to yourself, 'I am perfectly designed,' maybe it can quiet out some of those negative messages."

The illustrations, by Anoosha Syed, also make a point of displaying families of a variety of races and sexual orientations throughout the book.

Read more about Karamo's fascinating path to becoming a gay dad here, and then check out the video below that delves deeper into the inspiration behind "You Are Perfectly Designed," available on Amazon.



Gay Dad Life

The Suburban Gay Dad

Are you intimidated by the suburbs? This gay dad was — but then he moved there.

In a recent article for Yahoo! Lifestyle, Steve Jacobs says the thought of living in the suburbs as a gay dad "intimidated" him. But when he started fantasizing about garages, he began to question that notion. Any apprehension he had soon evaporated, he said, one winter morning while trying to navigate the snowy streets of New York City with a stroller.

While "pushing the stroller through snow banks and pools of slush with snowflakes stinging our faces," he wrote, "a vision came to me: I pictured us walking into a garage, hopping into a car, and arriving at a diner with 10 times less drama. This image planted the seed of moving to the 'burbs that I couldn't shake."

Soon, the family of four found a house in a town a half hour outside the city. "It had grass and a beautiful yard for our spirited kiddos. The schools were good. There were even good restaurants. The only red flag: Census data estimated only 0.1 percent of the population was gay male."

There were some "growing pains" while trying to make friends in this environment. "When we attended our first dinner party, within minutes the hostess went to the kitchen and the other wives followed her, while the husbands settled into the living room. Ira and I froze, looking at each other. In the city, our straight friends hadn't separated out like this for the evening. Should we stay with the dudes, exert our masculinity, and blow off the mom we liked? Or does one of us go with the wives and accept the personal branding that comes with that? We did a quick rock paper scissors in the foyer. Ira went with the wives."

But ultimately, "being a parent defined me more than I ever imagined it would," he wrote, and he settled in nicely to his new suburban life.

Have you had a similar adjustment, from city life to the suburbs? Tell us about it at dads@gayswithkids.com for an upcoming piece!

Gay Dad Life

"Fridays with Fitz": A New Kid's Book Based Upon the Son of These Two Dads

Tracey Wimperly, author of the new children's book, said she hopes to give a more honest portrayal of the role grandparents play in the lives of children.

Guest post Tracey Wimperly

I've recently written a children's picture book (aimed at 2-4 year olds) called "Fridays with Fitz: Fitz Goes to the Pool." Every Friday - when his two dads go to work - Fitz and his grandparents (my husband, Steve and I) head off on an adventure. Through the eyes of a curious and energetic 3 year old, even ordinary adventures, like riding the bus or foraging for fungus in the forest can be fun and magical.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

One Single Gay Dad's Trailblazing Path to Parenthood Via Surrogacy

20 years ago, Gene became the first single gay man to work with Circle Surrogacy in order to become a dad — trailblazing a path for many others since.

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

"I think I was pretty naïve, I guess," chuckled Gene, one of the first single gay dads to work with Circle Surrogacy over 19 years ago. "I just had made a decision and went out and did it, and wasn't really thinking about how difficult it might be or what other people thought, being first at doing something."

So how did Gene hear about surrogacy as an option for single gay men? Well, it began with Gene flipping through a bar magazine. He recalls seeing an ad about a woman providing a service to connect gay men with lesbians in platonic co-parenting relationships. While he started down that path, working with the founder, Jennifer, he remembers thinking, "What if I meet someone? What if I want to move? It would create all these complications."

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Change the World

"Dadvocates" Gather in D.C. to Demand Paid Family Leave for ALL Parents

"Dadvocate" and new gay dad Rudy Segovia joined others in D.C. recently to educate lawmakers on the need for paid family leave for ALL parents

On Tuesday October 22, Dove Men+Care and PL+US (Paid Leave for the United States) led the Dads' Day of Action on Capitol Hill. A group of over 40 dads and "dadvocates" from across the states lobbied key member of Congress on the issue of paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads. They shared stories of their struggles to take time off when welcoming new family members and the challenges dads face with no paid paternity leave.

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

Falling for Fall: 33 Photos of Gay Dads and Kids at the Pumpkin Patch

Oh my gourd, it's fall! To celebrate, we rounded up 33 pics (and whole lot of pun-kins) in our annual fall photo essay!

Don your checked shirt, grab them apples, and shine those smiles while perched on pumpkins — it's the annual fall family photo op! A trip to the pumpkin patch and / or apple orchard is a staple family fall outing, and we're here for it. 🎃🍎🍂👨👨👧👦

Thanks to these dads who shared their pics with us! Share your own to dads@gayswithkids.com and we'll add them to this post!

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Gay Dad Family Stories

David and Ben Met on the Dance Floor — and Are Now Grooving Their Way Through Fatherhood

David and Ben, who became fathers with the help of Northwest Surrogacy Center, live in Melbourne with their daughter, Maia.

In 2003, while both studying at Reading University in the UK, Ben Suter and David Cocks met after locking eyes on the dance floor and then being introduced by a mutual friend. Ben, a meteorologist and Operations Manager, and David, an Assistant Principal, have been together ever since. They moved to Australia together in 2010, seeking a different life, and an overall better work-life balance. The chose Cairns in Queensland as their new home, between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, "taking life a bit easier," said David. The couple were also married in June 2016, back home in England.

While David always wanted kids, Ben took a little convincing. So they started their parenting journey with a dog, Titan, who quickly became like their first born. From there, Ben came around rather quickly.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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