Gay Dad Life

How Do Gay Dads Celebrate Father’s Day?

Over the past year, we've told the stories of many gay dads. Our writer David Dodge asked some of these dads about their plans for Father's Day.

Raymond and Daniel Trumble-Stazzone

"Father's Day means celebrating all of the successes and obstacles that have led us to where we are today. It means knowing our hard work has paid off and that we were successful in reaching our goal of becoming a family. It means we lead by example and help teach others in the world what a family looks like, it means we're a family and that our lives are better because of the kids we get to share it with."

The Trumble-Stazzone Family

Kenny and Greg Estle-Scarle

Greg: “Having lost my dad a couple years ago, Father's Day has taken on a new meaning being a father. To me, it's a day for others to give thanks to all the dads out there. Thinking on it, I think they should combine Mother's Day and Father's Day and simply make it Parent's Day. I think that would help with a lot of blended families in celebrating parents of all types, without anyone feeling left out."

Kenny and Greg Estle-Scarle with their kids

Kenny: "Father's Day is just another day to celebrate the awesome joy and responsibility that our boys bring to our lives. While it can be hard work, it can be such an awesome thing to see your kids succeed at the little things in life – passing a spelling test, making that first soccer goal, and using the potty without being asked! It makes all the time-outs and tantrums worthwhile. We'll be spending Father's Day relaxing by the pool, grilling some steaks and enjoying just a really lazy day!"

Stephen Stratton

"Historically, Father's Day signified what I didn't have. Until last year I wasn't a father and Father's Day felt like a reminder of that unfulfilled dream. But also, my father died of cancer when I was 16, so Father's Day always felt really sad and empty to me. Now, while there is still grief and loss, there is also celebration. And as a two-dad family there is double celebration on Father's Day. Last year I got to honor my partner for being such a great dad to our daughter, and, for the first time ever, I got to be celebrated for being a Papa.

Our culture puts a lot of emphasis on mothers being the primary caregivers, or moms doing all the hands-on parenting (lots of moms are great and they should be held in high regard for the incredible job they do), but nowadays many dads play a much more hands-on role in parenting. We aren't just the supporting role, we aren't just the "after work parent," we are also nurturers, and stay at home dads, and caregivers who are playing a very significant role in our children's lives. I think Father's Day should celebrate the evolving role of dads."

Josh and Stephen with their daughter Rowen

Harun Sinha

“We don't do anything special for Father's Day; maybe we'll do more as the kids get older. We're not even big on Valentine's Day so you can imagine. Mother's Day becomes more of an effort as we have to really prep for what our older son (now nearly 4) might ask but Father's Day by comparison is more of an effortless day. We are going to be in Greenport, N.Y., on the North Fork of Long Island, where we have brunch plans at a vineyard. The vineyard we're going to has chickens, ducks and some other farm animals so the kids will enjoy that."

Harun and Austin with their kids

Jason Howe

"Neither of us is very into corporate holidays like Valentine's Day or Father's Day, so it probably won't be much different from a regular weekend: a family lunch out and doing something fun with our beautiful girls. That said, if they want to take the day to pamper us when they get a bit older, I won't complain!"

Jason (l) and his husband Adrián with their girls

Bill Delaney

"We'll be spending this Father's Day in Yosemite with the kids, the moms, and friends. Most years it's just us and the girls, but we're changing it up this time."

Bill Delaney (l) and his family

Jim Joseph

"To be honest, I've never really been comfortable with Father's Day. Of course I'm a dad and of course it's been hard work, but I personally don't really want to be celebrated for it. But I do love the cultural acknowledgement of all the fathers in the world and how important it is to be a great dad."

Jim Joseph (l) and his family


Edward Peddell

"I believe that since I am acting as their dad it can and should be celebrated accordingly! However, if the bio father is still in the picture he also deserves to be recognized as we are co-parenting for the reunification of the child [with the birth family]."

Ed Peddell with his kids

Corey Harris

"I don't really participate in Hallmark holidays, but I do think it's important to have a day to dedicate to being a father, to give pause to what it means. So I'll just go for my regular visit on Saturday. Have a picnic in the park; no fanfare. My mom, on the other hand, makes a big deal out of Father's Day for me. She wants to participate somehow and I let her. If the kids want to, too, that's great. But I don't have the expectation to be special, or that they'll set time aside on this one particular day."

Corey Harris with kids

Chris Armijo

"Now that I have my own children, Father's Day and Mother's Day are more important as days to honor my own parents. So Father's day is an opportunity for my and my girls to really recognize my dad, who is just such a tremendous dad. Now that my daughters are older, they're starting to understand it more, too. So they'll get to pick what we do."

(“Can we go to Chucky Cheese?!" one of his daughters yelled in the background of our call. “No, honey," Chris laughed, “it probably won't be Chuck E. Cheese.")

Chris Armijo and his girls

Answers have been edited for grammar and clarity.

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Gay Dad Life

Gay Dad Creates a New Kind of LGBT Children's Book

Titled, "What Does a Princess Really Look Like?" the book differentiates itself from most other LGBT picture books. Namely, the story doesn't explain, clarify or justify its gay characters (who are dads). The characters are just a natural part of the story - the new normal.

Gay dad Mark Loewen's children's book debut made a splash in the children's LGBT literature pool this year.

Titled, "What Does a Princess Really Look Like?" the book differentiates itself from most other LGBT picture books. Namely, the story doesn't explain, clarify or justify its gay characters (who are dads). The characters are just a natural part of the story - the new normal.

"What Does a Princess Really Look Like?" is the story of Chloe, a girl who loves princesses. As she sets out to craft an imaginary princess out of paper, yarn, and colored pencils, she becomes disillusioned with the importance of beauty. Chloe realizes that the power of a princess is not in how she looks to others, but in the change she can affect around her. More than looks, her princess values knowledge, bravery, strength, assertiveness, and kindness.

"In a way, Chloe's experience is the LGBT experience," explains Loewen, "but I didn't realize this until after I finished the book. I grew up very concerned about how others saw me. Then I found my own happiness when I learned to look past other's opinions of me, and appreciate who and how I was."

Another key element of the message in this book comes at the end of the story. Chloe's dads help her realize what a princess is not: perfect. "Being OK with being imperfect has been one the most freeing lessons I've learned. And I want my daughter to get this message early on. We should aim to be the best we can, but if we aim to be perfect, we'll surely fail."

Loewen's book tour started in Provincetown, MA, during Family Week, a weeklong gathering of LGBT families, organized by Family Equality Council and Colage. "I can't describe what it feels like when I read my book to children who have LGBT parents, and when I turn to the page that shows Chloe dancing with her two dads. Their eyes sparkle with excitement as they see themselves in the story," Loewen describes.

Loewen's book was named one of 20 LGBT Books for Preschoolers to High School Kids in a post by the parenting site scareymommy.com. It was included in the online review magazine, Children's Bookwatch. Midwest Book Review described the book as, "A unique, entertaining, and iconoclastic picture story from beginning to end."

Bestselling author Rachel Simmons (The Curse of the Good Girl) praised "What Does a Princess Really Look Like?" for "helping girls expand their definition of what a princess can truly be." Katherine Wintsch, founder of The Mom Complex, endorsed the book for delivering "the right message at the right time for the next generation of brave young women." The librarian ran website, www.bendybookworm.com, described the book as "the beginning of a new Manifesto of Beauty for young girls."

Finally, www.mombian.com, a website for lesbian mothers, speaks to the LGBT aspect of Loewen's book. "I love that this is an LGBTQ-inclusive children's book with a message, but that the message isn't about LGBTQ identity. Not that that's not an important topic—but we LGBTQ parents and our children have multifaceted identities, and sometimes we want books that speak to other parts of us, while still showing families that look like ours."

Giving visibility to families with two dads is also Loewen's goal, and why he shares many of his family's experiences on Instagram and Facebook.

For more information about Mark Loewen and his upcoming projects visit his website. Mark is also the founder of www.bravelikeagirl.com, a website that helps parents who are raising girls.

"What Does a Princess Really Look Like?" is available on Amazon, or anywhere books are sold.

Expert Advice

How to Get Your Little Ones to Eat (and Enjoy!) Their Vegetables

Meet David and Danny fathers and founders of Kekoa Foods sharing some tips on how to keep your little ones eating their healthy vegetables during the hecticness of the holidays.


Watch:

Tip Number 1 – Try to prepare your own meals with fresh ingredients. Doing so gives you better control over the amount of sugar, sodium and cholesterol you and your family consume.

Tip Number 2 – Experiment in your kitchen with herbs and spices you haven't used before. Some items we've added in recent years include cumin, tarragon, curry, turmeric and ginger. Start slowly, though, you can always add more next time.

Tip Number 3 – Use veggies instead of pasta to get more veggies in your diet. We like spaghetti squash, zucchini and beets for this purpose and toss them with our favorite sauce.

Tip Number 4 – Instead of adding cream to veggie dishes to get your kids to eat them, sprinkle them with just a touch of parmesan cheese and add fresh lemon juice. It enhances flavor without adding a significant amount of cholesterol or fat.

Sponsored

A 'Men Having Babies' Conference Started These Happy New Dads on Their Path to Parenthood

In the Bay Area? Sign up now for the next Men Having Babies Conference taking place this January 12-13!

Last year, after 12 years together, Jimmy Nguyen and Michael Duque were finally ready to become dads. And so in 2017 they began their journey to fatherhood. Little did they know how quickly that would become a reality. What began with a serendipitous sighting of an ad for an upcoming Men Having Babies conference resulted in the joyous birth of their son in October 2018. Here's their story.

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Fun

Check Out this Amazing Xmas Tree Cake Recipe By the Dad Behind "Preppy Kitchen"

We're thrilled to be working with John Kanell, the gay dad behind the popular "Preppy Kitchen" account, to bring you some amazing holiday recipes! First up: learn how to "paint with buttercream" in this incredible Christmas Tree Cake recipe

My husband and I love entertaining during the holidays, and a great cake is often the focal point for our gatherings. For this Christmas Tree Cake, I made a spicy gingerbread batter for the layers and piped a two-tone swirl of Italian meringue buttercream in between each layer. The red batch is spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, and cloves, while the white part is a mellow vanilla flavor. For those who don't know, Italian meringue buttercream is creamy, less sweet than your average frosting and PERFECT for cake decorating as it's quite smooth. I "painted" the tree on with a pallet knife and dusted it with confectioner's sugar for a snowy effect. My twin boys were mesmerized by the process as they watched from their highchairs. Maybe next year they'll be able to help out!


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Surrogacy for Gay Men

Understanding the Legal Process of Gay Surrogacy

Next up on the Daddy Squared podcast! Yan and Alex talk with a fertility lawyer, Richard Vaughn, about the legal elements of the IVF process

When thinking about having kids via surrogacy, the legal part is just as important as the IVF process itself. Making sure that the agreements with the surrogate and the egg donor are set up properly is a solid base for the whole process itself. And then there are issues like legal guardianship and birth certificates that are also crucial for finishing the process with babies that are completely, legally yours. We turned to Fertility Lawyer and gay dad Richard Vaughn of International Fertility Law Group, to set the record straight about the legal steps that must be taken when having babies through IVF.

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Change the World

Rebel Dad: 1st Gay Canadian to Adopt Internationally Writes New Memoir

David McKinstry set a legal precedent in 1997. A few years later, with his second husband, Michael, he did so again when they became the first gay Canadian couple to co-adopt children.

Excerpt #1 – From Chapter 1: The Search (1793 Words)

As the first openly gay Canadian man approved to adopt internationally, David McKinstry set a legal precedent in 1997. A few years later, with his second husband, Michael, he did so again when they became the first gay Canadian couple to co-adopt children.

The following is an excerpt from the first chapter of his new book Rebel Dad: Triumphing Over Bureaucracy to Adopt to Orphans Born Worlds Apart. Here, it's 1998 and David finds himself in India. While in India, David visits several orphanages with his guide, Vinod, on his quest to adopt. With Indian adoption officials being extremely homophobic at the time, David could not reveal that he was a gay man.

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Change the World

Are You a Bisexual Dad? Gays With Kids Wants to Tell Your Story!

After a recent reader pointed out our lack of stories featuring bi men, we're reaching out to try to increase exposure for the bi dad community!

Recently, Gays With Kids received the following message via one of our social media channels:

"Hey guys, love what you do. But where are your stories about bi men who are dads? Do they not exist? I get the sense from your page that most queer dads identify as gay. I identify as bi (or pansexual) and want to become a dad one day, but just never see my story represented. Are they just not out there?"

We can say with resounding certainly that YES bisexual dads absolutely exist. In fact, of all the letters in our acronym, far more LGBTQ parents fall into the "b" category than any other.

But our reader is certainly right in one respect--we don't hear the stories of bisexual/pansexual dads told nearly often enough. While we occasionally find stories to tell about bi dads, like this great one from earlier this year from a dad who just came out, we otherwise aren't often finding stories of bi dads nearly as easy as we do gay dads. We're sure this is due to any number of reasons--societal pressure to stay closeted from both the straight and LGBTQ communities along with erasure of bisexuality both come to mind.

But it's also because we haven't done the best job reaching out specifically to the bi dad community! We hope to change that. So if you are a bi man who is a father (or wants to become a father) and in a relationship with a man OR woman (or are single!) we want to hear from you! Click here so we can help tell your story and increase exposure for the bi dad community, or drop us a line at dads@gayswithkids.com!

Fatherhood, the gay way

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