Gay Dad Life

Brooklyn Gay Dads Who Brunch

This is the fourth year in a row that José Rolon has hosted a brunch for gay dads on Father's Day. This year, he played host to 80 people!

José Rolon has been throwing an annual Gay Father's Day since 2016, and every year they get bigger and better. "Basically I threw up some balloons and cooked for 30 people and let the kids run around my home," said José when asked about his very first brunch. Last month, he hosted 80 people at Everyday Athlete in Brooklyn and even had sponsors for the special event! We spoke with José to find out about his brunch celebrating gay dads on Father's Day.


2016 Father's Day Brunch

GWK: What inspired you to begin this annual event?

José: I'm an event planner, so let's start there. And although I mostly do weddings, I really wanted to do something for my LGBT community. After losing my husband when our son was 8 months old and we were 11 weeks pregnant, I really leaned on some of the gay dads I met. A lot of them took me under their wing. And although some centers like the Gay Center in NYC have done many family events in the past, no one really had done anything specific for the gay dads on Father's Day. This was my way of giving back putting a spotlight on those of us I consider being in the forefront of this movement of gay parenting. We are a community. We are family.

Photo credit: @gajalk and @photo_Dh

GWK: When did you first host your Father's Day Brunch event, and what did that one look like?

José: First was in my home 4 years ago, June 19th, 2016. Basically, I threw up some balloons and cooked for 30 people and let the kids run around my home. It was actually great. How has the Brunch Potluck grown / evolved over the years? Well the first, one was 30 people. And it was a brunch. By the 2nd year, to take a load off, I made it a potluck! That year, we had 60. By last year it grew to 75 and this time, we had some sponsors for the first time. Patina rentals converted my bedroom into a movie theater and we played Moana, and We Love Photobooths converted my office into a larger photobooth!

GWK: What do your kids think of it?

José: Kids love it! They just get to run around play games, eat, and have fun! As they get older, they're far more aware when they look around, they're surrounded by all dads. It's beautiful. Helps they're surrounded by a lot o rainbows. Lol.

GWK: Please tell us a little about what was involved in this year's Brunch Potluck.

José: This year we called it Bigger and Better. It was the first year we decided to move our "Gay Dads on Father's Day" to a venue! I can proudly say, we have outgrown my home. When I approached Everyday Athlete to host, not only did they not hesitate, they decided to sponsor it! We had a total of 9 sponsors! From mobile oyster shuckers to a portrait artist. We pulled out all the stops! And I think this was the first year, kids truly had their own thing to do thanks to the coaches at Everyday Athlete who entertained them while us dads got to mingle and gossip!

Photocredit: We LOVE Photobooths

GWK: What are your plans for 2020's Brunch?

José: We'll head back to Everyday Athlete as they agreed to sponsor it every year. This time, we'll add at least 10 more families, and a couple surprise vendors!

We're already excited for next year!!


José's vendors from the 2019 Father's Day Brunch:

Mini Melanie - your desserts were a huge hit with the dads! Pics of your treats are one of my faves of the bunch.

Jaymo - Thank you for coming through so very last minute. Gaja was a perfect addition and we love her pics!

Rifko & Tyler - I mean. The gay dads couldn't keep their composure and this is exactly what I wanted!

Kim of Patina - To be able to convert half of Every Day Athlete into a Dad's lounge could not be possible without you!

Isabelle - No party without a photo booth. Thank you!

Waterfront Wines - You kept the boys with a nice buzz throughout and we thank you.

A.E. Kieren - You are always a hit and the bonus to every party. Boys were living for your pieces of art.

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How Do Gay Dads Celebrate Father's Day Over the Years?

Whether it's your first time celebrating as a dad or your 30th, Happy Father's Day from all of us as Gays With Kids!

June is a celebratory month for us gay dads. We have Pride to remind us of our history, support our fellow LGBTQ+ community, and to be proud of who we are. We also have Father's Day, a cultural acknowledgement of dads everywhere!

It's a great day to acknowledge the dads in our lives (us included!) and the evolving role of fathers in general. But how does the celebration of Fathers' Day change for gay dads over the years? To find out, we spoke with seven gay dad families, each with a different number of Fathers' Days under the belt (from their first to their 30th!) to hear their family traditions, family stories, and their advice to future gay, bi and trans dads.

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Things I've Learned in the Decade Since Celebrating My First Father's Day

This year will be John Hart's 10th year celebrating Father's Day as a dad. Here's 15 things he's learned in that decade.

I celebrated my first Father's Day as a new father a decade ago. And while some sleepless nights, whining phases or the Gangnam Style-era seemed endless at the time, the years have gone by quickly.

Here are some of the things that I've learned about since 2009:

#1. Learning is Constant

I have discovered so much more about hockey, hip hop and slime than I ever knew before. And just because I love musicals, singing and Tiana (my favourite Disney princess), doesn't mean my kids have to enjoy the same. Plus my kids tell me that just because I can do the Floss and Orange Justice, doesn't mean I should, especially in public.

#2. When it's quiet...

Just because it's quiet doesn't mean everything is ok. I've let the two kids play on when it was quiet, only to realize later they were playing with postage stamps as if they were stickers or were unrolling condoms onto their fingers ("these balloons are kinda slimy...."). On the other hand, just because it's quiet doesn't mean everything is wrong: I once checked on them in the other room to find them counting each others' toes and in the car I turned around to see them looking out their own windows but holding hands in the middle.

#3. Speak Out When Necessary

I have advocated – sometimes wisely, sometimes passionately (read angrily) for my kids while trying to navigate the education, health, social services and adoption systems. I am much more outspoken on their behalf than mine. I will go all daddy bear on you if I must.

#4. New Perspectives

I have looked at life anew through my children's eyes, especially Christmas, theme parks and board games. Also, however, sexism, racism and homophobia – while I want to protect their innocence and curiosity as much as possible, I need to prepare them for the real world. I feel they need to know what might happen, how to respond and how irrational it all will be.

#5. Old Perspectives

There are times when "when I was a kid..." stories are fascinating to the two kids – landlines? Antenna tv? VHS? And there are times when "when I was a kid..." is just not relevant to how they live their lives today.

#6. Curiosity 

The kids have questions – so many questions – but they're not looking for overly complicated answers, simply something they understand and hopefully an analogy to their own experience or to a character they know.

#7. An Extensive Family

We have grown our family by multitudes with our children, their blood siblings and their blood siblings' adoptive families. It is amazing to celebrate special bonds with them all and have so many people we now consider family.

#8. Love and Pain


I find ways to let my children know that they're wanted and loved every day, while also acknowledging the trauma of the separation from their birth families. Sometimes my love isn't enough because they have questions I can't always answer. We talk to them about their adoption stories, and to ensure their sense of permanency, I had tattoos of their initials inked onto my arms.

#9. Learning From Mistakes

I try every day to provide the structure, security and safety my kids need, but also room to grow and to express themselves. They need to discover who they are, explore the world and make their own mistakes.

#10. Learning From Mistakes (Daddy Edition)

I have found myself failing as a father, yet I have never given up completely. These kids are mine and I'm responsible. I need to learn from my mistakes and do better. I also need to admit my mistakes, apologize and show that we can persist, forgive and move forward.

#11. The Importance of Saying Less

There are times when "you're having a hard day, let me give you a hug" is all I need to say and all they want to hear.

#12. Creating Community 

We have met and bonded with many gay dads, sharing similar experiences of adoption, confused or inquiring looks, and times we need to out ourselves yet again. We have also met and bonded with many parents of whatever sex and orientation as we share the same experiences of trying to do the best for our children (and retain some sense of sanity), trying to register for programs with waitlists and swap helpful hints of how to get the kids to sit down and eat their dinner.

#13. Sharing Our Story 

I've spoken with dozens of gay men, both individually and while on panels, about becoming parents, offering advice, wisdom and encouragement. There are usually so many questions – How? How long? How did you...? When did you...? But also sharing our photos and stories that show the results and rewards of pursuing parenthood.

#14. An Online Community 

I've written for Gays With Kids for five years, offering insights and a personal perspective. I enjoy hearing from other families too and seeing photos from around the world. It is so wonderful to find a small but growing international community to encourage, support and inspire each other.

#15. Pride for All

It is important for our family of four to attend Pride together. Sure they've seen some things that make them giggle or prompt conversation later, but they need to partake as well. They need to see others like them – and others not like them – and be seen; they need to feel that they belong; and that they are equally deserving to stand tall and proud too. They're part of the community too.

Gay Dad Life

Gay Dads Featured in Commercial for Australian Apparel Brand,  Sportscraft

Just in time for Father's Day in Australia this year, and local apparel brand Sportcraft is honoring all kinds of fathers with this new inclusive commercial.

I just love this new campaign from Australian apparel brand, Sportscraft. Father's Day in Australia was September 2nd this year, so the brand is seeking to honor real fathers…real fathers who wear Sportcraft clothes!

But that's not what I love about the campaign, although I have to say that the clothes are quite the rage IMHO. What I love is how the brand celebrates fathers of all kinds…single, married, and yes gay.

The best part is that the brand doesn't oversell the concept, even though they are selling the clothes. No one gets a label, except for the clothes. These are just dads being dads, and on the Sportscraft website you can read, see, and hear what makes each of them special. And it's not because they're single, married, or gay. It's just because they're dads.

Click here to see the entire series of dads with their kids. Or click here to see the profile of gay dads Mike and Colin, along with a video of their kids saying how much their kids mean to them.

We don't need labels, we just need to be acknowledged for the contribution we bring to our families, no matter what our families.

Bravo, Sportscraft!

Entertainment

How Fatherhood Has Impacted Tom Daley's Diving Career for the Better

British diver Tom Daley, and new-ish gay dad, is looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in South Korea.

British diver Tom Daley is currently in the running to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in South Korea, his fourth if he competes, at the young age of just 26.

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In an interview with the Independent, Daley explained how fatherhood has changed his routine and training, which he says is often for the better.

"It has changed my life completely in all of the best ways possible," Daley said. "It has changed my perspective, the way I think about things. [My son] is the most important thing in my life, everything I do is for him, everything I think about he is at the forefront of everything."

With respect to his diving career, Daley continued, "if you have a bad day at training, or a good day, you are grounded immediately when you get home through the door because you are having cuddles or you are having to change a dirty nappy. It is the first time that I have been able to leave diving at the diving board and not think about what I need to the next day in the pool."

Whatever the challenges he faces while training, he said, "I can leave it there because you don't have time to think about diving when you are looking after a kid under one."

The strategy seems to be working in Daley's favor. He recently enjoyed his most successful FINA Diving World Series ever this past Spring in Canada, winning 12 medals across five events. And barring any major catastrophe, he is overwhelmingly expected to qualify for South Korea 2020.

And we can't wait to cheer the young dad on!

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Millie B. Photography

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The truth of the matter is there are people who will try everything in their power to have our rights go back in time instead of forward. It is very disheartening when these people are elected officials, or they are people who use their place of employment to spread their disgust and hate.

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If he was hoping for a Kumbaya moment, he didn't exactly get it. As he was called to the stage, he was greeted with a smattering of applause—while others booed and shouted for a "recall" of the Governor.

"It was almost unbearable for me to sit there to listen to his talk," Abby Johnson, one of the event's attendees, told the Denver Post. "And I'm going to tell you why. He kept talking about equality for all persons, yet we live in a society where 60 million innocent human beings have been slaughtered in the name of choice. Where is their justice? Where is their equal rights?"

Polis was also criticized from his left flank for attending the same event that refuses to let the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP members, participate—and that featured Donald Trump Jr. as a speaker the same day. "To me it feels like vanity," Katie Farnan, a staffer with progressive group Indivisible, told the Denver Post. "He can go and be a hip Democratic governor who isn't afraid to go into GOP sanctuary. Or maybe it's recall insurance. But unless he was there to hold them accountable for their support for fascist and racist policies, what's the point?"

In response to the criticism from both sides of the political aisle, Polis told the Colorado Sun: "I think it's very important that Coloradans of different ideologies, different races, different geographies, different orientations and gender identities all really celebrate that we're all part of what makes Colorado great."

The event is hosted each year by Colorado Christian University to bring together conservatives from around the state, and the larger West.

What do you think, dads? Was Polis's decision to speak at the event a savvy political move or mere pandering?

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Hate Group Boycotts 'Toy Story' for Featuring Lesbian Moms—Hilarity Ensues on Twitter

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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