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

Lance Bass Opens Up About Forming His Family Through Surrogacy

Lance Bass and his husband Michael Turchin hope to spend Father's Day next year as first-time dads!

According to a recent interview with ET Online, Lance Bass and husband Michael Turchin will likely be spending Father's Day next year as first time dads!

"It's looking like this might be the last Father's Day that I'm kid-less!" the former *NSYNC band member told ET. "We'll see if the timing's right. We're hoping to have a kid next summer, so we'll just see how everything works out. Who knows what wrenches might be thrown in, so we're just crossing our fingers that it all works out."

This past April, the dads-to-be revealed their plans to build their family via surrogacy, and will thus join the growing ranks of famous gay men who form their families in this way. In his recent interview with ET, Bass opened up further about what the process has been like so far.

"Our surrogate fell into our laps through our embryologist, who is incredible," Bass said. "We just loved her. She was so selfless and all about wanting to give that gift to someone. I wanted to cry because it was just so special that someone would do that."

The couple is still looking for an egg donor (here are some tips for choosing, Lance!) but are hoping to have the process complete by spring of this year.

In a recent appearance on the Today Show, Bass shared that he and his husband Michael Turchin have long hoped to become fathers.

"We are super excited," he said. "We love the idea of having a family. That's one of the reasons I wanted to marry this man, because I know he'll be such a great dad."

We'll be sure to keep you posted on their exciting journey!

Gay Dad Family Stories

After Three Failed Adoptions, This Couple Almost Gave Up; Now They're Dads to Twins

It took surviving three failed adoptions and two scams, but Danny and Justin are finally dads

"Our adoption journey was not easy by any means," began Danny. "We waited 16 months before being successfully placed with our children." Husbands Danny Maffia and Justin DeMartin, together a total of eight years and married for two, endured a roller coaster ride to become dads, experiencing three failed adoptions. Today, they're the proud dads to twins born November 2017. Here's their story.

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Gay Dad Life

Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black Share First Photos of Newborn Son

Olympic diver Tom Daley and filmmaker Dustin Lance Black recently welcomed a son, born via surrogacy, into their home

On June 27th, 2018, Olympic diver Tom Daley and filmmaker Dustin Lance Black welcomed a son, born via surrogacy, into their home. The baby boy was named Robert after Tom's father, who passed away in 2011. The couple celebrated the birth with a pair of touching black and white photos released on their respective Instagram pages.

"Welcome to the world our precious little Robbie Ray Black-Daley," Tom wrote. "The most magical moment of my life. The amount of love and joy you have brought into our life is immeasurable. Our precious son."

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Popular

After a Heartbreaking Loss, These Adoptive Gay Dads Learned to Open Up Their Hearts, and Home, Once Again

After the death of their three-month-old daughter, Nick and Sean struggled to go on. But with the help of their adoption agency, friends and family, the dads welcomed a baby girl into their family last fall.

Nick Bryan and Sean McGuire, who live in Columbus, Ohio, have suffered heartache that no parent should ever have to endure. They became first-time dads in 2016 when they adopted a baby girl who was born two months premature. Sadly, their daughter did not make it to 4 months, and passed away due to premature complications. The dads struggled to go on. But with the support of their family, friends and a wonderful adoption agency, they tried again, and in November last year, another little girl was born, and she had two daddies ready to love her with all their hearts. Here's their family's story.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

When Traditional Adoption Wouldn’t Work for This Tennessee Gay Couple, This Woman Stepped in to Help

A woman who had formed her own family through IVF after struggling with infertility not only offered this gay couple her extra embryos -- she offered to serve as their surrogate.

Justin and Matthew live in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and have been together for 11 years. They met through mutual friends and the first time Justin saw Matthew, he knew there something special about him. They both wanted children, and after almost 4 years of dating, they decided to begin their journey to parenthood.

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Change the World

Federal Judge Rules Against Adoption Agency's Attempt to Discriminate Against LGBTQ Parents

Many challenges to LGBTQ adoption continue to exist, however, including a Federal amendment that would grant tax-funded adoption agencies the right to discriminate nationally.

This week brought us some much-needed good news in the fight to protect LGBTQ adoption rights: U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker ruled that Catholic Services Society (CSS) violated the city of Philadelphia's Fair Practice Ordinance due to the organization's refusal to work with prospective parents' based on no other reason than their sexual orientation.

The decision is the result of a suit brought by CSS against Philadelphia. Last May, the city announced it was suspending foster care placements with two agencies, CSS and Bethany Christian Services, given their refusal to place children with LGBTQ prospective parents. While Bethany Christian Services ultimately agreed to stop discriminating against same-sex parents, CSS sued the city instead, and lost.

Judge Tucker found that no "substantial burden" existed on on CSS's religious exercise in providing foster care to children, writing that, "In essence, if CSS provides its services consistent with the minimal requirements of the all-comers provisions of the Fair Practices Ordinance, then CSS may continue to provide foster care to children.

Elsewhere around the country, however, the news on LGBTQ adoption rights has been much less encouraging. Over the course of the year, news hasn't been great for the LGBTQ community's adoption rights. Over the course of the year, a slew of anti-LGBTQ adoption measures have been cropping up in state legislatures all across the country. At the federal level this month, Republicans passed an amendment to an appropriations bill that if enacted will allow tax-funded adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ adoptive parents on the grounds of religious freedom.

Get Involved!

Want to take action? Look up your federal representatives here and demand they reject the inclusion of the anti-LGBTQ amendment in the appropriations bill passed by Republicans earlier this week.

Have you experienced discrimination as a potential gay adoptive or foster parent? We want to hear about it. Contact us at dads@gayswithkids.com and tell us about your experience.

And stay tuned to Gays With Kids as we continue to monitor and report on developments in anti-discrimination protections for adoptive LGBTQ parents, on both the state and federal level.

Change the World

Gay Dad's Family Car Vandalized with Homophobic Slur in Tennessee

"Sometimes people do things to try and make you sad," Michael told his sons following the incident. "But we have to be better than that."

Michael Quinton, a gay man living in Dandridge, Tennessee, had just arrived at home on July 6th when he noticed the damage done to his car. His tires were slashed, the car seats sliced up, and the radio rendered useless by a sharp object.

"My first reaction was a flood of every emotion," he said. "Angry, mad, sad, disheartened. As I took a look at the vehicle I saw more and more damage."

The physical vandalism, however, was nothing compared to the emotional damage inflicted by this next part of the crime: the word "fagot" had been etched into the side of his car.

Though Michael was clearly the intended target of the crime, he was particularly worried about how the incident might affect his two sons, Blake and Clayton, whom he had adopted with his ex-husband.

"I called my mom who lives a few minutes away to come sit with the boys as an officer was coming out," Michael told Gays With Kids. "At that moment I didn't want them to see the vehicle or the words carved into it.

Michael called the experience "eye-opening," adding, "Come what may I have to ensure [my sons] are taken care of. I have to show them that love wins and without a doubt there is nothing wrong with the way you love. One day they very well could help change the climate in this country."

As far as the perpetrator, Michael has his suspicions of who might behind the damage, and has shared them along with some potential evidence with the detective involved. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime. Michael has spent most of life in east Tennessee and says this was the first time he had ever experienced an act of hate. From sharing this horrible experience, a lot of people have reached out to Michael and his family to send words of support and kind messages. But Michael is still worried.

"In the end, the tone of this country has done a 180," he said. "I honestly feel worried that things will continue to happen to families like mine or anyone viewed different in others' eyes."

New data has shown that hate crimes have risen 12% in the past year, and that is only those that are reported. The African American community has been the most targeted, followed by LGBTQ people.

Michael with his kids

The damage to Michael's vehicle has also been a blow to family, symbolically, he says. Michael is recently divorced from the boys' second dad, and is now raising them full-time. The car, a bright blue Kia, came to represent so much more than a vehicle; it meant a new beginning for Michael and his boys after the separation.

"So many memories have been made in that vehicle over the last 18 months," shared Michael. His youngest son, Blake, "processes things a little different than your average 7 year old," Michael says. "You take away routine, structure, consistency, security and he doesn't do too well."

Since the incident, the family has been comforting each other by sleeping together on the couch every night. Michael has always kept an open conversation with his kids, whether it be about their adoption (Blake originally came to Michael through kinship guardianship, and Clayton is Blake's biological older brother whom Michael later adopted as well), divorce, and now this.

"I told them that sometimes people do things to try and make you sad," said Michael. "But we have to be better than that and know that we can't stop loving and that we have each other and I wouldn't allow them to be hurt. We also have to be able to forgive in order to find peace."

The car, sadly, is beyond repair. Fortunately, Michael has a vehicle supplied by work he can use for family drop offs, baseball practice and medical appointments. But eventually, he'll need to get his own car again. As a single-income father, Michael has set up a GoFundMe page to help with the insurance deductible and/or possible replacement of the car.

Despite the gravity of the situation, Michael didn't miss an opportunity to through some well-deserved shade back at the perpetrator of this heinous act. "Who spells faggot..... fagot?" he wrote on a post he published to Facebook shortly after the incident. "Doesn't most everyone have access to spell check with their phone? I mean come on!!!"

Fatherhood, the gay way

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