Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Being a Dad is Amazing; So Is Being a Husband, a Friend and a Co-Worker

Mark and Jason (aka "The Gay Dads") break down the importance of not losing your former self once you've become a dad

So you finally upgraded to Daddy Dad status and have a little one (maybe more) ruling over the household. The days of sleeping in are over. Weekend getaways and nights out with friends are a distant memory. Brunch? What's that? You're stuck in an endless cycle of diaper changes, loads of laundry and bottle cleaning. Life, as you know it, is over!

We call bullshit.


We recently met up with some friends who we hadn't seen in a while, introduced them to our son, Jett, and caught up on the "what's new" in everyone's lives. They obviously LOVED Jett (I mean, who wouldn't) and were curious to know how our life has changed since becoming dads. Like any new parent, we have gotten this question, or some form of it, since we brought the little guy home. It's one of those formality questions – Is life different? Is it harder? Is it what you expected? Are you sleeping? Is he sleeping? It's like getting a tattoo. People are required to ask, "Did it hurt?" Uh, yeah it did. Side note – if someone answers the tattoo question with a "no" they are either lying to you or you now know they are into some kinky stuff.

Ok, we digress…

Our life has definitely changed and our priorities have shifted slightly, but we are also acutely aware of the fact that we can't allow ourselves to get lost in our new roles as dads. Don't get us wrong, being a dad is amazing! But so is being a husband. A son. A co-worker. A friend. We absolutely love our life now, but we also loved our life before our son. And it's okay to feel that way! Just because a little one enters the picture doesn't mean you erase everything that you once were. When people say, "My kids are my whole life," I want to pull a Cher, à la "Moonstruck," and slap them back to reality. It's not healthy to do that!

Remembering to care for yourself is just as important as caring for your kids. Too many people lose themselves when society decides being a parent is the most important or only role a person can effectively manage. That puts a HUGE amount of unnecessary pressure on you and your partner and it will slowly lead to resentment. There's a way to allow our identities to evolve without having them go extinct. You have to let your kid(s) join you on the amazing journey already started instead of completely starting the journey over.

Some tips:

Keep doing the things you like to do. Just because you have a kid, doesn't mean you have to lose your pre-baby self in the process. Why do we have to give up 'Rupaul' for 'Paw Patrol'? You want to go to brunch? Bring baby along! Yes, things may take a little more planning upfront, but keep doing the things that make you happy! Your hobbies are essential to keeping you sane. You need some time alone whether that is going to the gym (goodbye dad-bod) or going to dinner with your partner. This is especially true for you stay-at-home dads. Honestly, I have no idea how you do it. I bow down to you. I was off for eight weeks and literally almost lost my damn mind – and this is coming from someone who always thought they would LOVE being a stay-at-home dad.

Remember your teammate. You're on this journey together. You got to this point together. Make time for each other. Spontaneity is a little more difficult, but date nights are a must! Lean on each other when things get hectic (because they will). Ask for help. You will be tired. You will be cranky. Just remember how much you loved each other pre-baby because the "it's your turn to change the diaper" game is brutal!

Remember your friends. Yes, it's not going to be late-nights-out-at-the-bar every weekend anymore, but you still need their support and presence in your life. Enjoying adult beverage beverages is still acceptable but we caution you: being hungover with a child is a nightmare. You have been warned.

Your house doesn't have to turn into Toys"R"Us. You will inevitably be surrounded by so much kid stuff, but there needs to be a place for everything to be put away. If there's not, get rid of it. If we have learned anything from years of watching HGTV it's this: Adult Space.

Have fun and don't take things so seriously! Every aspect of raising a child is a phase and it will pass. Enjoy the moments (yes, even being thrown up on) because it goes by waaay too fast. It's cliché but it's true. Jett is already over three months old and we have no idea where the time went!

Hopefully, dads and dads-to-be find our tips helpful and they can use them to hold onto their personal identities in fatherhood. As mama Ru always says: "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?"

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Race

How a White Gay Dad Discusses Racial Issues with his Black Sons

In light of the recent killing of George Floyd by the hands of police in Minneapolis, Joseph Sadusky shares two excerpts from his book that deal directly with issues around raising black sons.

Editor's Note: In light of George Floyd's death, this month, author Joseph Sadusky — who has been sharing excerpts from his book Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad each month —will share two posts that deal directly with issues around raising black sons. This is the first, titled "White," which looks at general questions that come up for a white dad raising black boys. Read previous installments here.

It may be presumptuous for a Caucasian gay man to claim to feel terrified and heartsick at the shooting of Trayvon Martin. But upon hearing the news that day in 2012, this is exactly how I felt.

The horrible truth is that there are many incidents of racial violence toward black males that I could use as starting points for this topic. But the specific case of Trayvon Martin—whose only crime was being a young black male wearing a hoodie, walking in a neighborhood where he had a home—has a particular resonance for me. Whatever the legalities of George Zimmerman using a gun to "stand his ground" if he felt his life was threatened, the simple truth is that he chose—against the direction of law enforcement, whom he contacted for support—to follow an African American male who had every right to be walking those neighborhood streets, however "thug" he might appear.

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Become a Gay Dad

Curious About Covid 19's Impact on Foster Care and Adoption?

Leading industry experts answer questions from queer men about the impact of Covid-19 on the adoption and foster care processes.

Recently, GWK hosted a series of free webinars with leading experts led by industry experts in the fields of adoption and foster care to learn about up-to-date insights on how the coronavirus affects family building. The presentations left lots of room for audience Q&A, to allow participants to get their individual questions answered — there were some common questions raised during each webinar, however, so we've put together a quick video of our experts answering some of the top concerns from queer men interested in pursuing surrogacy.

Our team of experts include:

Have other questions about the impact of the coronavirus on adoption or foster care that you'd like our experts to answer? Be sure to email us at dads@gayswithkids.com.

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Top 5 Questions About Covid-19's Impact On Surrogacy

Leading industry experts answer questions from queer men about the impact of Covid-19 on the surrogacy process.

Recently, GWK hosted a series of free webinars with leading experts led by industry experts in the field of surrogacy to learn about up-to-date insights on how the coronavirus affects family building. The presentations left lots of room for audience Q&A, to allow participants to get their individual questions answered — there were some common questions raised during each webinar, however, so we've put together a quick video of our experts answering some of the top concerns from queer men interested in pursuing surrogacy.

Our team of experts include:

Have other questions about the impact of the coronavirus on surrogacy that you'd like our experts to answer? Be sure to email us at dads@gayswithkids.com.

Here is a breakdown of the Top 5 Questions About Covid 19's Impact On Surrogacy. These are highlights taken from our live webinar series we held featuring: G...

Transracial Families Series

How These Dads Address White Privilege within Their Transracial Family

The "white savior" complex is real, said Andrew and Don, who are raising two Black children.

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of ongoing posts exploring issues related to transracial families headed by gay, bi and trans men. Interested in being featured as part of the series? Email us at dads@gayswithkids.com

Andrew Kohn, 40, and his husband Donald (Don) Jones, 47, together 13 years, are two white dads raising two Black children in Columbus, Ohio. Do they stick out? Sure. Have they encountered racism? They say they haven't. "I keep waiting for the moment so that I can become my best Julia Sugarbaker," said Andrew. "I think because we're a gay couple with Black kids, we're the other-other and people don't really say things to us. We have never had people touch our kids hair or do something that was inappropriate."

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Children's Books

New LGBTQ-Inclusive Children's Book Asks: What Makes a Family?

A new children's book by Seamus Kirst follows a young girl's journey of emotional discovery after she is asked which of her two dads is her "real dad."

Editor's note: This is a guest post from Seamus Kirst, author of the new LGBTQ-inclusive children's book "Papa, Daddy, Riley."

Throughout my life, I have discovered that reading provides an almost miraculous way of changing the way I think.

There is no medium that better offers insight into the perceptions, feelings and humanity of someone who is different from us. Through reading we become empathetic. Through reading we evolve. I have often emerged from reading a book, and felt like I was changed. In that, even in this digital age, I know I am not alone.

As children, reading shapes how we see the world. The characters, places, and stories we come to love in our books inform us as to what life might offer us as we grow up, and our world begins to expand beyond our own backyards.

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

Interested in Foster Care? These Amazing Dads Have Some Advice

As National Foster Care Month comes to a close, we rounded up some amazing examples of gay men serving as foster care dads, helping provide kids with a bright future.

Every May in the United States, we celebrate National Foster Care Month. With over 437,000 children and youth in foster care, it's our honor to take a look at some of the awesome dads in our community who are opening their hearts and their homes, and providing these kids with a bright future.

Thinking about becoming a foster parent? Check out these resources here, and visit AdoptUSKids.

Meet the Foster Dads!

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Transracial Families Series

This Transracial Family Relies on a 'Support Group' of African American Women

Puerto Rican dads Ferdinand and Manuel are raising a daughter of Jamaican descent — and love to find ways to celebrate their family's diversity

Our second feature in our transracial family series. Read the first one here.

Ferdinand Ortiz, 39, and his husband Manuel Gonzalez, 38, have been together for 7 years. In 2017, they became foster dads when they brought their daughter, Mia Valentina, home from the hospital. She was just three days old at the time. On December 13, 2018, her adoption was finalized.

Mia is of Jamaican and African American heritage, and her dads are both Puerto Rican. When Manuel and Ferdinand began their parenting journey through the foster care system, they received specific training on how to be the parents of a child whose race and culture was different from their own. "We learned that it's important to celebrate our child's culture and surround ourselves with people who can help her be proud of her culture." However, as helpful as this training was, the dads agreed that it would've been beneficial to hear from other transracial families and the type of challenges that they faced.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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