Coming Out

How Three Gay Dads Found Peace With Their Ex-Wives After Coming Out

Making amends with an ex-wive is not always an easy or short road for many gay dads. Here's how three gay men and their ex-wives managed to find themselves at peace after a coming out process.

Author Jason Howe takes a looks at how three gay men managed to navigate the process of coming out to their wives and children to ultimately find peace and acceptance.


What stays with Trevor is his wife's expression.

“The look on her face is forever imbedded in my mind, a look I never want to see again," he said. “A look of pure pain and fear, all in one."

The two had been married 19 years when, while attending a semi-annual meeting of the Mormon Church with his wife, Liesl, the words just came tumbling out. He was gay.

“I remember not wanting to have the kids around when I spoke to her. We were watching a Mormon General Conference. During one of the talks I just blurted it out; I could no longer hold in my secret. Probably not my most shining moment."

For Trevor, now in his mid-40s and living in Salt Lake City, it was the culmination of years of a growing awareness of his sexual orientation. While he had experienced boyhood crushes on other boys, he always had a girl on his arm and had never dated a man. “I was late into my adulthood, mid 30s before I came out," he said. “I tried everything to maintain, but ultimately was not healthy to anyone in my life and we separated. How could I ask Liesl to live a life without intimacy. How could I ask that of myself?"

His main fear was how it would affect his three children, Jeff, Laura and Rick, now aged 19, 17 and 13: "I had to be ready to lose everything in my life as far as a family, home, and stability."

For Liesl, Trevor's announcement came as a total shock.While she had been struggling with what she felt as his lack of sexual interest in her, she never suspected its cause.

"The most difficult part for me was the loss of trust when out of the blue, for me, he told me he had something to tell me and told me," she said. “I honestly did not know what to say or what to think; when I finally responded it was to say, 'At least it wasn't me.'"

Trevor's ex-wife Liesl and her three children

Forty-year-old Hollie Warner teaches sixth grade in Sterling Heights, Michigan. A sense of relief was the only surprise when her husband John told her that he was gay. “I had been working on him to come out for quite some time and when he finally did, I just felt so relieved," she said. “It was a huge weight off me; perhaps that my earlier suspicions weren't unfounded. There's something to the whole gut feeling thing and I guess I felt relieved that that wasn't wrong."

John, an illustrator in his early 40s, says that one of the main reasons he got married was because it was what people did after graduating from high school in his small Michigan town.

“I grew up on a horse farm there and it was a rural community of about 2,500 people," he said. “My primary memory of growing up there was wanting to get out of it. Too small, too boring, too dirty, too much labor. I really didn't feel like I belonged."

He thought he found some of that sense of belonging when he met his wife-to-be, Hollie. “My sister introduced us and we hit it off very quickly as friends and found we shared the same sensibilities and sense of humor. It was very easy to be around each other and never had any trouble conversing until wee hours of the night. We were always very excited to see each other. Looking back, I can now see that most of it was based in great friendship and that the romantic or sexual component was not what it should have been."

After a wedding that both remember fondly and a Disneyworld honeymoon, things went well – for a while. The two enjoyed each other's sense of humor and raising Parker, now 12, and Dillon, now nine. “They are the absolute best," added Hollie. Occasionally, she says, things felt off. “I had my suspicions or just wondered sometimes but there wasn't ever anything super obvious. I asked John a few times but was always pretty satisfied with his answers and at a certain point, I accepted them as fact because I liked our life and the family we were building."

But at some point during their 13-year marriage, Hollie's suspicions deepened. By 2011, John says that she “pushed the issue."

“The coming out process was horrible," he said. “There was a growing feeling of disconnect that was palpable. I confided in my mother that I was gay and she immediately told my niece and then it spread through the family. I really couldn't come out to anyone but friends and co-workers, none of whom were surprised."

John's husband Matt, son Dillon, John, Pete, son Parker, John's ex-wife Hollie, Andrew, and Hollie's boyfriend Dave; Pete and Andrew are Dave's sons.

David Hall, a probation supervisor in his late 40s who lives in Hannibal, New York, sounds sadly resigned when he talks about the demise of his marriage.

“Because she always really knew, the only surprise was that she had the affair," he explained.

He met his wife Susan, also 47, in college and already was aware of his sexual orientation. But because he grew up in a rural area and was afraid of disappointing his parents, he felt that life as a gay man was impossible for him. “I felt that I needed to do the 'right' thing and get married. And, since she seemed willing to marry a man with this issue, I decided I needed to marry her. I had convinced myself that it wasn't possible to be happy as a gay man or to have a normal life."

“Dave was upfront and honest with me about his struggle with his sexual orientation," said Susan. “We were very close friends and dated all through college. I think the thought of him coming out to his family and to himself was just too overwhelming and it seemed easier to try to do the 'right' thing and just get married and have a family."

But in spite of the births of Ethan, now 17, and Jillian, now 14, both knew deep down that the issue of David's sexuality had never gone away.

“There just came a point where our relationship was not enough for me," said Susan. “I needed more. I knew that I deserved more. Unfortunately, I made the choice to have an affair; at first just to experience what it was like to be with a straight man sexually, but I ended up falling deeply in love. The fact that I broke the trust of our marriage was the biggest challenge. That issue is still there, regardless of everything else."

The Process of Splitting Up After Coming Out

It's virtually impossible to estimate the number of gay men in heterosexual marriages. According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, some 3.6 percent of Americans are lesbian, gay or bisexual. But according to one study, for every gay man who is open about his sexual orientation, at least another 1.5 are still in the closet. How many of them are married to women? Hard to say, but the study found that of all Google searches beginning “Is my husband…," the most common follow-up was "gay," 10 percent more common than the runner-up, "cheating." While the study put no number on how many suspicious wives are out there, the number appears to be substantial. Easier to grasp than the numbers are the emotions involved.

Liesl was angry. “I was angry and hurt that he was changing the plans that we had made together, the life we had talked about having was no longer going to happen, the life I had always dreamed of," said Liesl. “I was angry that Trevor was not willing to fight for our family and fight those feelings of wanting to be with someone else, not even specific to it being a man, but just not being me. I was angry at myself when I realized that I was asking the person I loved, my best friend, to hide his true feelings; to suppress the feelings he had and to move forward with me, even though his feelings and desires were elsewhere? How could I ask this of someone I loved?"

David Hall struggled with how best to tell his children and family. “The most difficult part for me was worrying about my kids and how they would adjust to living between two homes, and having a gay father," he said. “It was also very difficult explaining it all to my parents. While I'm happy with my life now, I still felt a sense of loss when my marriage ended. If nothing else, she and I were friends and had chosen that life together."

For John and Hollie, his admission touched off an intensely painful period as they negotiated their divorce for nearly a year and a half. “I was advised throughout that entire time that I not socialize, move out, date or reduce my contact time with the kids outside of work, a support group or therapist," said John. “I felt completely trapped and suffocated. It was crushingly difficult to be in the same house when we desperately needed breathing room. It almost felt like I was competing for the kids' time in the house, trying so hard to protect my relationship with them. My parents, her parents, and especially her attorney, advised her all along the way to deny or limit my parenting time to an unacceptable degree for me."

“The hardest part for me was feeling like we were failing our boys by not keeping our family intact," Hollie added. “The other really difficult part for me was that I had a vision of how life was and was going to be and I felt like that was all falling apart."

In fact, for straight spouses of gay men, losing that vision can be akin to a death of a loved one. According to the Straight Spouse Network (SSN), a support network for straight women or straight men who are married to gay men or gay women:"The process straight spouses go through is often described as being similar to the grieving process after the death of a loved one. Many of the emotions you might go through are similar to the loss of a spouse. However, in the case of a straight spouse, frequently the LGBT spouse is still around and involved in your life to some degree, and thus there is no clear point at which grieving ends."

While most couples end up divorcing, some end up in mixed orientation marriages, possible, according to SSN, only with clearly defined ground rules. All the couples interviewed for this piece chose to separate, and David is skeptical about whether such a mixed orientation relationship can ever be truly healthy. "While it may seem like staying together is the best for everyone involved, especially for children, I believe that on some level neither can ever be truly happy. And, my belief is that you can't be the best parent you can be if you aren't happy."

Telling the Kids

In a video he made for Gays With Kids, psychotherapist James Guay says that children are resilient and that it's never too early or too late to come out to your kids. It's important to allow plenty of time for questions and to have access to resources especially for kids on hand, such as COLAGE, a support group for children of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents. In John's case, it helped to have a room already decorated, too.

“We chose tell them in a local Starbucks and kept is short and simple. We said we were separating because of some problems we were having and that living apart would be the best solution. They were both initially shocked and emotional, but very quickly began asking questions about where we would live, about having two homes, etc. We took them right after to the condominium I had leased and they saw their room already decorated and I think immediately had a sense of comfort."

Picking up the pieces

And in the end, it was their kids that led the couples interviewed to work past any acrimony surrounding their divorces. John, who married his partner Matt in a ceremony last year in New York's Central Park, realized that Hollie was still his best friend. "We were in it for the kids' sake and decided we, not the court, would make all of our decisions regarding them. We decided flexibility was key and over time have moved from being friends for the kids' sake to being best of friends for all of us. There is nobody else outside of my marriage that I trust more."

Hollie, now in a relationship for the past two years, was frustrated that people around her felt she should be more resentful. “I think that not being angry and bitter is a choice I made for myself. You can certainly let those feelings in and they will take over or you can choose happiness. I am a super easygoing person by nature and I just let that override some of the other things. I also think that having it not be a complete surprise made a difference in my not being bitter."

Liesl found comfort and acceptance in her Mormon faith. “My faith in a loving Father has helped me in every aspect of this process. Good, amazing people do not always fit into some mold we make for them, they are amazing because they are who they are. I think this has given me the ability to have always been okay with Trevor being gay.“

Now, she, Trevor, and Trevor's soon-to-be husband, Jackie, spend holidays, birthdays and other special occasions together.

“Trevor is still one of my very best friends, he is one of the people I want to share good and bad news with first," she said. “I love him and always will love him. He and I, from the beginning, have always attempted to put our children first to allow them to know and feel that our love for them did not change even if our household looks much different."

Susan, now remarried to husband Jeffrey for four years, is hopeful her relationship with Dave will continue to improve. “Dave and I are still friends and work together for our children," she said. “I would say we have a good relationship. But I do hope that someday in the future it can be stronger and include both of our new partners. I do know that it is very powerful for our children to see us still getting along together as friends – and as they get older and have their own families that will be even more important."

David still harbors resentment about how their marriage broke apart, but agrees that the wellbeing of their children is foremost. “I think overall our relationship is positive and healthy. We always try to put the kids first. Although I will always feel anger and disrespect over the way the marriage ended, by her having an affair. As I have told her, the end didn't justify the means. However, that being said, we are both much happier than we ever were when we were together."

Trevor with his three kids and his partner Jackie

Guay says that complete honesty eases the coming out process, and paves the way towards a healthy relationship between ex-spouses in the future. That includes being frank about sexual experiences outside the relationship, so a spouses can better evaluate their own health and use the information as they move forward. He says an apology may also be in order, not for being gay, but for not coming out sooner.

“I feel that honesty is always the best, including with the children, obviously depending on their ages and maturity," echoed David, now in a three-year relationship with partner Chris. “The bottom line is that, after getting past the initial heartache and confusion, things will get better. The man needs to remember that his intent was never to hurt the woman he married. And, the woman needs to remember that her husband didn't choose who he is and that he may have done his best to make her happy."

Liesl says the signs were there as Trevor became irritable, distant and preoccupied. She advises that any gay man married to a woman should take stock of his own feelings and come clean. “It may be time to decide what you want to do and how you want to proceed. Lots of people are touched by any decision you make, but I wonder if the hurt is lessened even a little if honesty about the feelings is approached sooner. Not just the hurt for the woman, but also the hurt and anguish the man must be feeling inside, living a lie and feeling one way, but expected to act and behave another. I can't imagine how that conflict inside feels."

Trevor agrees. “There will be hurt, there will be pain and tears. Put the kids first; as a parent they should always be the most important part. Take mom and dad's feelings out of the equation and their feelings first, always allowing them to vent. Be true to yourself and your feelings: you will have guilt and tears, but allow yourself to forgive and heal. If you need assistance, seek it from a professional or local LGBT centers. Most of all, it gets better. Never give up on yourself or those you love."

*Some names and identifying characteristics have been changed at the request of interviewees.

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Gay Dad Life

Internet Conflicted About Advice Given to Closeted Gay Dad in the Guardian

Ok fellow gay dads: if you were the advice columnist at the Guardian, what would you have said?

Recently, in a post titled "I met my girlfriend's parents – and realized I once slept with her father," a man wrote into the advice column at the Guardian with the following predicament:

"Five years ago, I went through a bi phase and used to sleep around with pretty much everyone that came along, including other men. This changed when I fell in love with my new partner, who is everything to me. I recently met her parents and halfway through lunch realised that I had slept with her father. I was going to propose, but when my partner and her mother were away, he told me to end it with his daughter. I'm obviously in love – shall I just ignore him, or tell my partner?"

Pamela Stephenson, the Guardian's columnist, responded as follows:

"I am not sure you could ever have a comfortable future with your new partner. To tell the truth would be to court disaster: a probable break-up, plus the risk of a permanent rift between father and daughter and father and wife. Hiding the truth would lead to toxic secret-keeping that could be equally destructive in the long run. If this whole family was as open-minded and sexually open as you, it might be possible for you to become part of it. However, the father – your former lover – has made it clear that you will not be welcome. Walk away now, and avoid the massive pain that would otherwise be inflicted on your partner, her family and yourself."

Not all commenters agreed with Stephenson's advice.

"Assuming your girlfriend knows that you were bi until falling in love with her and that you slept with everybody in your path [which she deserved to know up front anyway] then you can give HER the option what to do with this bond, rather than leaving the choice to her dad," said one commenter.

Another said, "Walking away without explaining why would be callous and also allow the father to escape the possible consequences of his actions."

It's worth noting that none of these commenters, nor the columnist, are or will ever be gay dads, whose perspective on this bizarre situation may be uniquely valuable. Many gay dads have become fathers while still in the closet. And even those who became dads after coming out can still sympathize with the detrimental impacts of the closet on our lives and those of our families.

So what say you, gay dads, about this man's predicament?

Gay Dad Life

Son of Gay Dad Pens Article in Vice About Accidentally Finding Out About His Father's Sexuality

Julien cried when his father first came out, a moment he's always regretted. But he's found multiple opportunities to show his support since.

In an article for Vice Netherlands, Julien Goyet speaks about the experience of learning about his father's sexuality by accident, when his younger brother heard him repeatedly saying the word "gay" on the phone. When his dad confirmed it was true, Julian says he burst into tears. Though he was just a young boy at the time, it's a moment he's nonetheless always regretted.

"Through the years, I've often asked myself why I did that – why I couldn't have been more understanding. Maybe it was because I realised then and there that it would mean my parents were never getting back together."

Julien continues by saying he's thankful for the multiple opportunities he's had since to make up for that moment.

"Thankfully, four years after he came out to us, he told us about a secret boyfriend he'd had for a while, and we were nothing but happy for him," he wrote. "I can remember the moment he showed me a picture of his partner. It was a Saturday afternoon and he'd called me up to his office in the attic. I went upstairs and found my father behind his computer. On the screen appeared a picture of a handsome man, sitting in a cafe. "That's him," he said, with what I'm pretty sure was pride in his voice. It was weird to see the man my father had fallen in love with – he was handsome and cool, and, thankfully, I didn't feel the urge to cry this time. My father, now more comfortable in his sexuality, asked if I wanted to meet his partner."

With his mother remarried to another man and his father happily partnered, Julien concludes by saying, "now, I have two stepdads. We all celebrate Christmas together. Now and again my father and I have dinner at a restaurant in Amsterdam where burgers are named after drag queens, and he sometimes sends me selfies when he's partying at the Pride parade. I once tagged along with him to his favourite gay bar, where I met all the friends he's made there over the years. It's a place he comes often, and I had no idea it existed all that time. I'm happy that's changed."

Read the full moving essay here.







Above all, I wondered what it would be like to see my father kissing another man. That's happened a couple of times now and it actually feels just the same as when you see your own parents kiss in public – incredibly awkward but also kind of sweet. I'm happy he feels free to do so in his own home now. It's like he's been liberated. Now I wish he had done all this a lot sooner. But he told us he didn't want to confuse us, and he would have gone about it the same way if he had had a new girlfriend. "A divorce, a new stepdad, your father coming out – it all seemed a bit much for you kids," he said.

Now, I have two stepdads. We all celebrate Christmas together. Now and again my father and I have dinner at a restaurant in Amsterdam where burgers are named after drag queens, and he sometimes sends me selfies when he's partying at the Pride parade. I once tagged along with him to his favourite gay bar, where I met all the friends he's made there over the years. It's a place he comes often, and I had no idea it existed all that time. I'm happy that's changed.

Gay Dad Life

Former NFL Player Jeff Rohrer, and Father of Two, Comes Out as Gay and Marries Longterm Partner

Jeff Rohrer, a father of two teenage boys via a previous relationship with a woman, is the first NFL player to marry another man.

Allen Zatki

Retired NFL linebacker Jeff Rohrer, who played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1982 to 1989, recently came out as gay and married his longterm boyfriend last month. In an interview with the New York Times, Rohrer discussed his sexuality publicly for the first time.

"If I had told the Dallas Cowboys in the 1980s that I was gay, I would have been cut immediately," Mr. Rohrer said. "It was a different world back then, people didn't want to hear that."

Rohrer was previously married to a woman, with whom he had two teenager children, 15-year-old Isabella Rohrer and 14-year-old Dondillon Rohrer. His son is currently following in his dad's footsteps by playing on his high school football team.

"I'm sure there's going to be some people out there who have a negative reaction to this," Rohrer told the outlet, adding, "and I'm fine with it."

Mostly, though, he says the reaction to his coming out as been positive. In an interview with CNN, he said, "I have two teenage kids, everybody is extremely supportive."

Rohrer met his now husband, Joshua Ross, back in 2015 while he was still in the closet. "And if not for Josh," he said in his Times interview, "I'd still be in there."

In his interview with the Times, Ross said that several friends had questioned him on how he felt taking on the "extra baggage" of being a stepfather to Rohrer's two children.

"Baggage? What baggage?" Ross said, adding "We are adding two beautiful children to our wonderful modern family.

Congrats to the newlywed dads! Read the entire New York Times interview with Rohrer here.

Gay Dad Life

Inside the Weird World of Expectations for Gay Dads

At social gatherings with other parents, Grant Minkhorst finds he's often the only father in the room

In my two months as a parent, I've had the pleasure of meeting a lot of new parents. As a gay dad, I am the one signing up for little activity groups and social gatherings with other new parents. I am often the only father in the room. I find myself trying to "fit in" by discussing all of the things that new moms talk about: nap schedules, feeding, baby gear and "that the sidewalks are too narrow!" But there are some topics of conversation to which I cannot contribute (e.g., breast feeding). As a social person, this can leave me feeling a little isolated, almost as if I exist just outside the real parenting bubble. Because being a mom is different.

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Change the World

Three Eagles, Two Male one Female, Form Nontraditional Family

Three bald eagles in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge are sharing a nest and incubating eggs together

According to the Advocate, three bald eagles — two male and one female — are sharing a nest and incubating eggs together.

"Families come in all shapes and sizes, and that's true for wildlife too!" wrote the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services on Facebook. "Meet Valor I, Valor II and Starr, a breeding trio of bald eagles that live along the Mississippi River in Illinois. For several years, fans from all over the world have been watching this nontraditional family through a webcam as the eagles deal with the trials and tribulations of parenting."

The thruple came to be in unique way. "The nest was originally inhabited by Valor I and another female eagle named Hope," wrote the Advocate. "Initially, Valor I had poor parenting skills — he didn't hunt or guard the nest while Hope was away. Valor II entered the nest in 2013 to pick up the slack — and taught Valor I some parenting skills in the process. Hope left the nest in March 2017 after she was injured by other birds. But instead of going off to find new mates, the male eagles decided to stick together until Starr joined their nest in September 2017."

Though rare, this isn't the first time that a trio of eagles have come to share nests in this way. According to USA Today, other trruples were have been spotted in Alaska in 1977, in Minnesota in 1983 and in California in 1992.

Check out this family below!


Trio Eagle Cam Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge Live Stream www.youtube.com

Gay Dad Life

In the U.K.? Join These Dads at Events Supporting LGBTQ Parents!

The dads behind the blog TwoDads.U.K are ramping up their support of other LGBTQ parents. Check out these events they're a part of!

What a couple of years it's been for us! When our daughter Talulah was born via UK surrogacy back in October 2016, we decided to take to Instagram and Facebook to document the parental highs and lows. Little did we expect for it to be where it is now. We always had the ambition to help other intended fathers understand more about surrogacy, and we also had the added driver to do our best to influence others – help open some of the closed minds with regards to same-sex parenting.

Here we are now, pregnant again with our son which we revealed Live on Facebook! We're due in August, we're now writing several blogs, social media influencers and launching a new business focusing on our main mission to support others and being advocates for UK surrogacy. It's no wonder we're shattered!

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Change the World

These Guys Are Proof: Bisexual Dads Exist!

Far more LGBTQ parents fall into the "B" category than any other. Here are three of their inspiring stories.

A couple months ago, 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 start changing that, starting by bringing you the stories of three bid dads in our community.

(Are you a bi dad? 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!)

James Shoemaker, bisexual dad of three, in Alton Illinois

James Shoemaker, who is 65-years-old and lives in Alton, Illinois, says he's known he was bisexual since the age of five. Still he lived what he called a "happily socially heterosexual" life throughout his adolescence, until he had his first same-sex experience in college at the age of 18-years-old.

In his 20s, he began his first same-sex relationship with a man, which lasted about five years. But soon the conversation turned towards children. James wanted his own biological children, something that would have been difficult, particularly at the time, to achieve. He and his boyfriends split, and soon after James met the woman who would become his wife. Since he had previously been in a relationship with a man, and his friends and family were aware of his sexuality, there was no hiding his bisexuality from his wife. There was no hiding my bisexuality from her

"We were both in our 30's, and both wanted kids," James said. "Wo were both kind of desperate to find a partner and she expressed that."

He and his wife proceeded to have three daughters together and lived what he called a fairly "conventional" life. "There was so much societal support [for raising a family] within conventional marriage," he said. "This was new to me, since I came out at age 17, and was used to being "different".

Being in a relationship with a woman, James said, alienated him from much of the LGBTQ activism that began to take hold in the 1980s and 1990s. "I felt I could not act as a representative for gay rights while married to a woman and raising kids with her," he said.

When his youngest daughter turned 18, he and his wife split and, and James began, once again, to date other men. Eventually, he met Paul Mutphy, who he has been dating for four years. Since reentering the world dating another man, he's had to confront, at times, people's misconceptions about his bisexuality. "It's not just gay guys looking for more social acceptance," James said, noting that "Bi rights" has not really caught the public's attention in the same way as "gay rights".

Maxwell Hosford, bi trans dad of one, in Yakima Washington


Maxwell Hosford, who lives in Yakima, Washington, came out as bisexual when he was 13-years-old. "I was still questioning myself," he said "and the term bisexual seemed to fit me."

A year later, when he was 14, Maxwell also came out as trans. "I had heard about Chaz Bono on the radio one morning before school and it got me thinking," he said. "I realized that I wasn't the only one who felt that way and that there was a term for how I've felt."

Though people often conflate sexual orientation and gender identity, Maxwell stressed that he sees his identity as trans and bisexual as perfectly natural. "I see them interacting in a way of fluidity," he said. "Not straight but not gay. Just a feeling of love."

Maxwell described his path to parenthood as a bit of an accident. "I was on testosterone for two years but had a four-week break because i was switching doctors," he said. During that break, Maxwell ended up getting pregnant, and wasn't aware of the pregnancy for several months after. "I just thought my body was just being weird from starting T again," he said. Once he took the test and saw the two pink lines, though he knew his life was about to change forever. He went to Planned Parenthood the very next day.

Being pregnant while trans, Maxwell said, was an incredible experience. "I was comfortable enough with my gender identity that I didn't have very much dysphoria," he said, though he noted he did face a lot of misgendering from strangers. "But I understood that because I did have a big ole pregnant belly," he said. He was grateful for his medical team who all referred to him according to the correct pronouns.

Soon after, his son Harrison was born. As soon as he held him in his arms, Maxwell said the entire process was worth it. "All the misgendering, all the questions and people misunderstanding doesn't matter once you have that baby in your arms nothing matters but that little bundle of joy."

Three years ago, Maxwell met his current fiancé, Chase Heiserman, via a gay dating app, and the three now live together as a family. He says he couldn't be happier, but he does face some difficulty as a bi trans man within his broader community. "In some peoples eyes my fiancé and I are a straight couple because I'm trans and he's cisgender," he said. Some of the difficulty has even stemmed from other trans men. "I've had some bad comments from other transmen regarding my pregnancy and how it doesn't make me trans," he said, noting he continues to fight the perception that he is not "trans enough" because he chose to carry his own baby.

Through it all, though, Maxwell says becoming a father has been the biggest blessing in his life. "Being able to carry my baby and bond through those nine months was amazing," he said. "I'm breastfeeding, which is hard as I'm trans, and so I'm self conscious of my large breasts now but it's such a bonding experience that it doesn't matter when I see the look of love and the comfort he gets from it."

For other gay, bi and trans men considering fatherhood, Maxwell has this simple piece of advice: "Go for it."

Michael MacDonald, bi dad of two, in Monterery California 

Michael MacDonald, who is 28-years-old and living in Monterey California, says he came out as bisexual over two years ago. He has two daughters, who are four and two-and-a-half years old, that were born while he was married to his ex-wife. "My children are amazing," he said. "They have been so incredibly strong and brave having mom in one house and dad in another."

Both children were fairly young when Michael and his ex separated, so "they didn't really break a deeply ingrained idea of what a family unit is like. They have always just sort of known that mom and dad don't live together."

Co-parenting isn't always easy, Michael said, noting it's "one of the hardest things in the world." He and his ex overcome any potential difficulty, though, by always putting the children first. "As long as they are happy, healthy and loved, that is all that matters," he said. "I'm so fortunate to have such an incredible/pain in the butt partner to help me raise these amazing little girls."

Though the separation was hard on all of them, Michael said it's also been an amazing experience watching his children's resiliency. "I am so proud of the beautiful little people they are," he said. "Their adaptability, courage and love is something really spectacular."

Since the separation, Michael hasn't been in a serious relationship, but he has dated both men and women, something he says has been "absolutely challenging. Not only does he need to overcome all the typical challenges of a newly divorced parent ("Do they like kids? Would they be a good stepparent?") but also the added stresses of being bisexual. "It can sometimes just be a bit too much for some women to handle," he said.

He has been intentional about making sure his children have known, from a young age, that "daddy likes girls and boys," he said. "They have grown up seeing me interact with people I've dated in a romantic way, like hand holding, abd expressing affection, so I think as they get older it's not something that will ever really seem foreign or different to them to see me with a man or woman," he said.

In his dates with other men, Michael says most guys tend to be surprised to learn that he has biological children. "But once I explain that I am bisexual, it's usually much more easily understood," he said. He is more irritated, though, when people question or outright refuse to recognize his bisexuality. "While I understand and have witnessed many guys who use bisexuality as a "stepping stone" of sorts when coming out," he said, it does not mean that "bisexuality is not real or valid."

As a bisexual dad, he also says he can feel isolated at times within the broader parenting community. "It can be a little intimidating feeling like you don't really belong to one side or another," he said. "There's this huge network of gay parents, and, of course straight parents. Being sort of in the middle can sometimes create a feeling of isolation"

The biggest misconception about bisexual dads who have split with their wives, he said, is that sexual orientation isn't always the reason for the separation. "When my ex wife and I separated, while my bisexuality did play a small part in it, it was not the reason we separated," he said. He added that while life might not be perfect, it's good. "My children are happy, healthy, and loved," he said. "That's really what matters the most."

Fatherhood, the gay way

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