Gay Dad Life

Joshua Perez's Rollercoaster Ride In and Out of the Closet

Joshua Perez, from Chattanooga, Tennessee, has had a rollercoaster ride in and out of the closet.


He had actually been an out gay man for a couple of years during which he even had a relationship with another man. But following their break-up, Joshua gave in to the tremendous pressure he felt to be “normal" in the small religious town where he lived. So he went back into the closet and married the first woman he dated.

Now 34 years old, Joshua recognizes that his decision to marry was also influenced by his longstanding desire to be a dad. At the time, he believed that his only path to fatherhood was through marriage to a woman.

2013: Joshua with his two kids

So far his story might not seem so different from those of other gay men who marry women out of pressure or fear. But, interestingly, Josh's mom is a lesbian. He shared that it was actually harder to tell her that he was straight (when he returned to the closet) after having previously come out as gay.

Looking back at his marriage, Josh says that he had a very happy and healthy marriage to a beautiful and strong woman who was faithful and loving. Their life was good and they were fortunate to have two beautiful kids together.

He acknowledges that messages he heard in church led him to believe quite genuinely that God would help get rid of his strong desire to be with men. And for almost ten years he tried very hard to ignore and distinguish those desires. He read books on the subject, attended seminars, recited prayers and went to counseling. No matter how hard he tried, it just didn't work.

October 2015: Joshua with his daughter, Eden. Photo credit: Melissa Einarsen

Eventually he started on a new journey that led to his divorce and his second coming out. It took some time for him to find peace with who he was. Not only was he a married father, but he was also a Christian pastor serving a local church. So for Josh to make this change in his life, he knew that he had to become “all in."

Today Josh is a single gay dad and, after peacefully ending his heterosexual marriage, he enjoys a very positive co-parenting relationship with his ex-wife. His children and family accept him for who he is and love him just the same as they did before he came out.

He admits that when his kids were younger it did take some time for them to adjust to the changes in their family and their dad's new sexual orientation. They'd giggle when Josh would mention that he was attracted to a certain man, but that awkwardness is behind them now.

October 2015: Joshua with his son, Jeriah. Photo credit: Melissa Einarsen

Gays With Kids was especially delighted to hear Josh declare that his life is more satisfying and fulfilling now than ever before. After coming out he started to take better care of himself by living a more positive and fulfilling life. He is healthier physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. He now identifies as an out and proud gay dad who finally loves himself. He has a career that excites and challenges him and his first book, “Satisfy Your Soul" will be released on September 30!

Josh wanted us to know that he shared his story on Gays With Kids because he believes his story can help empower others still struggling with life in the closet. (Editor's note: We couldn't agree more!) He also wants to remind readers that the secret to a healthy relationship is to be honest about who you are and who you love.

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Gay Dad Life

Broadway Performer's Surrogacy Journey Briefly Sidetracked — for One Very 'Wicked' Reason

"Broadway Husbands" Stephen and Bret explain the exciting reasons they had to hit pause on their surrogacy journey — but don't worry, they're back on track!

In the latest video of the Broadway Husbands sharing their path to fatherhood, Stephen and Bret explain their hiatus for the past 4 months. The couple have big news to share including a relocation, a job announcement, and the fact that they're getting ready to restart their journey (which they had to take a brief pause from since September).

Watch their video to find out their latest news.

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Karamo Brown Co-Writes Children's Book with Son, Jason

The 'Queer Eye' star and his son named the story on a family mantra: You are Perfectly Designed

When his sons, Jason and Chris, were young, "Queer Eye" Star Karamo Brown repeated the same saying to them: "You are perfectly designed."

That mantra is now a Children's Book, cowritten by Karamo and his 22-year-old son, Jason, who used to come how and "say things like, 'I don't want to be me, I wish I was someone else, I wish I had a different life." As a parent, that "broke my heart," Karamo told Yahoo! Lifestyle. "I would say to him, 'You are blessed and you are perfect just the way you are,' as a reminder that you have been given so much and you should be appreciative and know that you're enough — I know that the world will try to tear you down, but if you can say to yourself, 'I am perfectly designed,' maybe it can quiet out some of those negative messages."

The illustrations, by Anoosha Syed, also make a point of displaying families of a variety of races and sexual orientations throughout the book.

Read more about Karamo's fascinating path to becoming a gay dad here, and then check out the video below that delves deeper into the inspiration behind "You Are Perfectly Designed," available on Amazon.



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A Gift Guide for LGBTQ Inclusive Children's Books

Need some ideas for good LGBTQ-inclusive children's books? Look no further than our gift guide!

Every year we see more books released that feature our families, and we're here for it! We're especially excited for the day when diverse and LGBTQ+ inclusive books are less of "the odd one out" and rather considered part of every kids' everyday literacy.

To help us reach that day, we need to keep supporting our community and allies who write these stories. So here's a list of some of the great books that need to be in your library, and gifts to the other kids in your lives.

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These Gay Dads Lost Everything After Hurricane Dorian — Except Hope

The couple, who live in "Hope Town" in the Bahamas, lost everything after suffering a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian this past summer.

Max Bethel-Jones, 52, had traveled to more than 120 countries over the last 30 years working with the United Nations, but had never been to the Bahamas — in 2015, he decided to apply for a private teaching job as a special needs teacher in Freeport on the island of Grand Bahama.

Just weeks after his arrival, he'd get a whole lot more than another pin in his map of visited countries when he attended a social event at Freeport Rugby. "My object was to ogle the local male talent but several women had other ideas," he said. One woman was particularly insistent, he said, but after a couple of drinks she got the hint that he batted for the other rugby team. "She promptly told me there was someone I should meet."

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Gay Dads Told One Must Identify as 'Mother' to Enroll in Daycare

The Israeli gay dads told one must identify as mother — like a "normal couple" — in order to receive financial assistance for daycare.

Israeli dads Guy Sadak Shoham and Chai Aviv Shoham were trying to enroll their two-year-old twins in daycare when they were told by a government official that one would need to identify as the "mother" in order to be cleared.

According to Out Magazine, the couple was attempting to apply for financial aid to help pay for the costs of preschool when a government bureaucrat called them to discuss their eligibility.

"I understand that you are both fathers and understand that you both run a shared household, but there is always the one who is more dominant, who is more the mother," the government said, according to an interview on the Israel site Ynet (translated by Out Magazine). "I am just asking for a written statement in your hand which of you is the mother. From the point of view of the work, which works less than the father. Like a normal couple."

The official, apparently, said she was beholden to rules set for in the Ministry of Economy.

"It is mostly sad and a little disturbing," one of the dads told Ynet. "These are concepts that we consider the past. We do not necessarily come up with allegations against this representative, she is ultimately subject to the guidelines and as she said, they are the state. It is also sad that the state's definition of a mother is someone who works less and is at home with the children, and that we must choose which of us meets that definition."

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, fortunately, issued an apology following the incident, and promised to update its protocols. "We will emphasize that the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs practices explicitly treat all types of families and grant equal rights to all," the ministry wrote in a statement, an apology that was called "insufficient" by Ohad Hizki, the director-general of the National LGBT Task Force.

"The Ministry of Labor and Welfare must sharpen its procedures immediately to prevent recurrence of cases of this kind, as other public organizations have been able to do," he said.

Read more about this story on Out Magazine.

News

World's First Sperm Bank Opens for HIV Positive Donors

Sperm Positive, started by three non-profits in New Zealand, hopes to end stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood

"Our donors have so much to give," say the promotional materials of a new sperm bank. "But they can't give you HIV."

The new sperm bank, Sperm Positive, launched on World Aids Day this year by three non-profits as a way to fight stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood. For years, scientists have known that those living with an undetectable level of HIV in their blood thanks to antiretroviral treatments can't transmit the virus through sex or childbirth. Yet discrimination and stigma persists.

The sperm bank exists online only, but will connect donors and those seeking donations with fertility banks once a connection is made on their site. Sperm Positive was started by three New Zealand non-profits — Body Positive, the New Zealand Aids Foundation and Positive Women Inc. — who hope the project will help disseminate science-backed education and information about HIV and parenthood.

Already, three HIV positive men have signed up to serve as donors, including Damien Rule-Neal who spoke to the NZ Herald about his reasons for getting involved in the project. "I want people to know life doesn't stop after being diagnosed with HIV and that it is safe to have children if you're on treatment," he told the Herald. "I've experienced a lot of stigma living with HIV, both at work and in my personal life that has come from people being misinformed about the virus."

We applaud the effort all around! To read more about our own efforts to end the stigma surround HIV and parenthood, check out our recent round-up of family profiles, resources, and expert advice that celebrate the experience of gay dads living with HIV here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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