Gay Dad Life

Kid-Friendly Drag Shows? Yes, Please!

My family attended our first drag brunch recently. It was a holiday affair, advertised as a family-friendly event where Santa Claus would make a very jolly and gay appearance. To be honest, it felt a little strange bringing my two and four-year old children into an environment that's usually reserved for cruising and after-midnight merriment. And yes, there was some side-eye from the elder gays, rallying for their noon meet-up after what was undoubtedly an evening of college boy cruising and dollar give-a-ways at the go-go bar.


But damn be the side-eye! Living in a rural area, when I have the opportunity to expose my children to my community, you'd better be sure we'll be there. There were six children in attendance, and the lovely Nina West made it a point to talk with each of them, exuding a sassy kindness we expect from our drag superstars. My daughter sat in her seat, asking for more tickets (apparently what she now calls dollar bills) to hand to the ladies as they walked by lip-syncing to their favorite holiday tunes.

For gay and lesbian parents, it becomes too easy to fall into that typical "gay" agenda – praying the children let you sleep until 7:00 a.m., feeding and dressing them, taking them to pre-school, going to work, picking them up, feeding and bathing them, and then passing out, only to start the whole agenda afresh tomorrow. We become disconnected from our community – especially if your sense of gayness coming of age was wrapped in a Show Tunes Mondays veil of bar identity. Welcoming us into our former gathering spaces, with our children, not only brings a familiar sense of home but allows our children to normalize our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, and feel comfort and warmth in a space that isn't a typical learning environment.

There will always be those who say they go out to experience a good time, and a two-year old screaming with a dinosaur, in a space that is usually reserved for Hollister and Axe Body Spray, has no place blocking their server from bringing them a much-needed Bloody Mary. But I would argue, we need those runny noses and 4T dresses now more than ever. Our community is changing. Gay spaces are no longer about finding a safe space, but are now venues that can expand and inspire our growing community. We can marry. We can have children. For the 21-year old coming to the big city for the first time from his family farm, we're showing that your dreams are limitless. You certainly don't have to conform with society and manifest a heteronormative lifestyle, but if you want to raise children and jointly file a tax return with someone, you can do it.

But be sure, we'll only come on those days we're invited. On our once-a-year night away from the children, there is nothing better than throwing back a few drinks, watching music videos of people we've never heard of, and, invariably, talking about our children the entire evening. The invitation, however, now and then, to return with children is much appreciated. And it's not about finding that perfect dress or shirt so they gays don't judge them, but allowing my children to be a part of my community. After all, they may grow up to be straight. And allies with an intimate knowledge of the entire LGTBQ experience are invaluable. Their dedication to what is just and right will always win over those bachelorette parties. And guess what, we've taught them to tip better too.

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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.

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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.


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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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