Expert Advice

How to Make Gay Families Stronger [with Their Money]

Do you all too often have more month left over at the end of your money? Do you work hard for your paycheck only to watch it go out faster than it comes in? Do you ever wonder how you'll put your children through school?

You're not alone. The truth is that even though "gays are fabulous" (and we are), most of our community is struggling financially.

And we can relate.

Who are we?

After dating for 18 months, we came out of the closet to each other about our money, and it wasn't pretty. We were $51,000 in credit card debt. Ouch! Sure, everything looked good on the outside. But we were hurting on the inside.

We were the gay cliché of being fabulous but fabulously broke. Ever feel this way?

You see, coming from times and places when it wasn't okay to be gay, we were both bullied, picked and treated differently because we were – well – different. We grew up feeling like we weren't as good as the other kids. Can you relate?

Then, when we found the courage to come out of the closet and moved away from our families to find other people like us, we were so insecure and wanted so desperately to fit in with the other gays, that we thought we needed all the right things – clothes, home, travel, careers, partners, stuff – all the right outward appearances – so we wouldn't be othered by another community. Our community. Sound familiar?

We paid off that credit card debt in less than three years! It took a lot of soul searching, and we attribute that success to figuring out what was most important to us. Sixteen years later, today, we're helping other queer people achieve the same financial security.

Is queer money different than straight money?

If you thought you (and now us) were alone in this struggle, did you know that:

  • same-sex couples with at least once child under the age of 18 have 20% more credit card debt than their straight peers and have almost 90% more student loan debt?
  • queer college graduates have 16% more student loan debt than non-queer graduates?
  • 57% of our community says their current financial condition harms their mental health?

So, no, you're not alone. Yes, our community has systematic and personal struggles with money. Yes, there's something we can do about it but knowing there's a problem isn't enough.

Just like wanting to have children or land a better paying job, we must do something to get what we want.

Is there help? Yes!

You see, we want to help build a stronger queer community. We believe that for us to get stronger than we are today, we need financially stronger LGBTQ individuals and allies. The stronger we are as a community, the more we can push for the equality that our community and families still need.

We want to thank Gays with Kids for letting us introduce ourselves, our blog debtfreeguys.com and our podcast, Queer Money® where we help queer people (and our allies) solve their money problems and use their careers to achieve financial success.

Look out for more information coming from us to help you do just that, and check out our Gays With Kids page. In the meantime, you may find this information of ours below helpful:

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Expert Advice

What's It Like When You're NOT the Bio Dad to Your Baby

Lauren Mello of Circle Surrogacy breaks down some of the challenges facing the gay dad who will *not* become the biological parent.

If you're a gay couple considering surrogacy, one of the first decisions you'll need to make together is who is going to be the biological father. When it's time to create your embryos with your egg donor's eggs, you have a few choices when it comes to which dad will be providing his biology: one dad only can provide his biology, both dads can provide their biology and leave the fertilization to chance, or both dads can provide their biology and fertilize half of the embryos with each dad's sperm. Some gay dads choose this third option if they plan to have twins, or more than one baby through surrogacy.

Once embryos are created, you'll decide which embryos will be transferred into your surrogate mother. Hopefully a pregnancy results, and you'll be on your way to fatherhood!

The question is: what's is like when you're NOT the bio dad to your baby? We spoke with a few dads through surrogacy from Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation, about the emotions surrounding being a bio dad...and not being one.

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Expert Advice

How to Navigate the Holidays Without Losing Your Mind

Rick Clemons gives some tips for keeping your sanity this holiday season.

The season is upon us. Regardless of what holiday you and your lovely gay dad family play homage to, this time of year can truly eat your holiday cookies if you're not careful. From demands from family and friends, to getting everything on everyone's wish lists just right, you will lose yourself and your mind if you're not keeping your little snifter of Brandy handy. Just kidding, but not kidding.

The trick to keeping your sanity, your family, and yourself in the holiday cheer without causing tears (which is easier said than done sometimes), is to give yourself some gay dad self-care. Yes, that means taking time to yourself and making sure you don't lose your Fa-la-la-la la, la-la-la la or spin out of control like a Dreidel.

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Expert Advice

Your Surrogacy Questions —Answered by a Dad Via Surrogacy

We asked our Instagram community to send us their questions about becoming a dad through surrogacy

Dad Tyler Fontes (read his story here) recently shared his experience as a dad through surrogacy with our Instagram community via a question and answer session.

Read Joseph's responses below.

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Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

Only so much growth and learning can occur when we limit ourselves to our fears. If people never did anything they were afraid to do, life would be incredibly boring and far too predictable. At some point we must face the things we fear and just go for it not knowing what will happen next.

After finally coming out to my ex-wife after ten years of marriage (see previous articles for that story), and eventually telling my family I knew there was one more step I needed to make.

I am a business owner. I am a structural chiropractor and am highly specialized in my field. Nearly four years ago I opened my own clinic, Horizon Chiropractic Center, in Phoenix, Arizona. I poured my whole heart, body, and soul into the creation of my practice and its growth. Opening a business fresh out of school is no simple task and I worked hard to build my practice with close relationships and word of mouth referrals. I established myself as an expert and built a strong reputation as a family man, and my ex-wife and kids were the face of my practice.

I loved and do love every person who has ever come into my office and treat them like family. We laugh together during visits, celebrate wins, cry together, often hug, and cheer each other on regarding various things in our life. That's also a large part of who I am: a people person. I enjoy spending quality time with those I am privileged to help. No one comes in my office and only sees me for 2-5 minutes.

Even though there was so much good that I had built into my brand and reputation fear eventually found its way into my business too. I was afraid of what would happen if people found out the truth. Would they be okay with having a gay chiropractor? Would they still trust me to be able to help them? Of course, the story in my head I was telling myself was much bigger and badder than it needed to be.

When we decided to get a divorce, I felt strongly that I needed to face these fears and begin telling a number of patients the truth of what was happening in my life. I know in reality it is no one's business but my own. However, I felt like I needed to let my patients who had become like family to me truly see me for who I am, and who I always was. And so slowly, case by case, I began to tell a select number of people.

I'll never forget the first patient I told. She had been coming in for years and was bringing her son in to see me who is on the autism spectrum. It was the day after my ex-wife and I decided to get a divorce and she could tell something heavy was on my mind. I eventually came out to her. The first words out of her mouth were "I am so proud of you!" We cried and hugged and it was the complete opposite of what I ever expected. And it was perfect. I felt loved. I felt accepted. I felt seen.

As time went on it got easier. And overall the responses were all completely positive and supportive. Out of all the patients I told and those who found out from other circles, only three stopped coming in to see me. Since coming out, my office has grown tremendously. My reputation hasn't changed. If anything, it's solidified. I can't help but think that part of that is due to finally embracing all of me and allowing others the same opportunity.

I read somewhere once that you never really stop coming out of the closet. And I've noticed that too. Sure, not everyone needs to know; it isn't everyone's business. And I hope that one day we live in a time period where fear doesn't prevent anyone from being seen. I want to contribute to the upward trajectory I think our society is headed of understanding, acceptance, support, and equality.

I would love to be able to say that after coming out publicly I no longer feel fear; but I do. And I think in some ways I always will no matter what. But that's part of life, right? Recognizing fear when we have it but then choosing to move forward out of love – love for others, but maybe more importantly love for ourselves.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

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Surrogacy for Gay Men

Interested in Surrogacy? Check Out These Bay Area Events This Weekend

If you're in the Bay Area this weekend, two major events are happening that will be of interest for dads-to-be and surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF)

If you're in San Francisco or the surrounding area, clear your calendar this weekend. Two events are happening simultaneously that are significant for dads-to-be AND surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF). For an outlines of both events, check out below.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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