It’s hardly news anymore to read about gay men having children, but when was the last time you read about gay men having children who live what might be considered unconventional careers? While "Playboy" centerfolds and "Sports Illustrated" models have kids without causing a commotion, what about guys who work in similar fields? Or, more provocatively, the escort business? Are these potential gay dads under the radar or uninterested in having children?
According to porn mogul Michael Lucas, it’s neither. Lucas, 42, who runs Lucas Entertainment, one of the most successful gay adult-film sites in the world, says he’s always wanted and planned to have children, but the timing was never right. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“Gay men have time to think,” says Lucas, who is in the planning stages of having a child with his partner. “It doesn’t just take a c*m shot.” Lucas thinks that gay people often have an advantage in raising kids because they are not doing it spur of the moment.
“That’s why I think children in gay families are less insecure and healthier, emotionally,” he says. “People do it right, they read a lot about it. You don’t do it when you’re eighteen.”
Like everyone else, he does worry about that time clock. “I want to be there for my kid when I’m not old. So I should do it soon.”
Admittedly, Lucas is in a sound position financially to have a family, no matter what anyone thinks of his choice. As for other potential obstacles—his partner is HIV positive, Lucas himself has sex with men on film—he brushes them aside like a wayward fly.
“You can be positive these days and have kids,” says Lucas, who plans on having a surrogate birth. “They can clean the sperm.”
He’s also not worried about dirty looks or nasty comments or bigoted remarks.
“I never thought about doing something I would never do,” says Lucas on hitting parts of the country that aren’t particularly gay friendly. “I would never go to Texas, so I never thought about that. I care about myself and what actually has to do with me. I can protect my child from any prejudice better than someone else.”
For Colby Melvin, fitness model, calendar boy, and activist-in-underwear, having children is not on next year’s calendar, but the future is still way off. “I was going to say I don’t want kids, but then again, five or so years ago I thought I liked girls,” he says.
What the 26-year-old does want is to make clear is that sex and the display of the male body is not something his kids should ever be ashamed of.
“I grew up constantly tormented and teased about my height [he’s 5 feet 7], about the way I acted, etc.,” says Melvin. “It wasn’t until I was able to take a picture in my underwear that I discovered a new sense of self-confidence that led to my success in all other areas of life. I can guarantee that if I had a kid, he or she would be damn proud of themselves.”
Melvin is also not concerned about any unhealthy messages he might be giving a child. Just the opposite.
“I’m not ashamed and I feel like passing on the mentality that you should always be yourself,” he says. “Obviously, some of my stuff is not meant for under eighteen, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. I think Americans, especially, are afraid of sexuality.
“We all have bodies and pretending sex does not exist or making it seem taboo is how we get so many body-image disorders. Make fun of me all you want, but this is the real me, and it isn’t changing. Would that be so bad to teach my child?”
On the farther end of the spectrum is Tom, a 39-year-old gay escort in New York City who has advertised on RentBoy.com for seven years, who has a partner who is also an escort, and who would very much love to have a child.
“It’s out of the question,” he tells me. “As much as gay rights have advanced, men who sell their bodies are not considered good parents. How would I even begin to explain my choice to friends and family?”
Tom says that he and his partner have made enough money to change professions, but simply love their jobs. “I love sex, I have a very lucrative business, and I am certain I would be a great father. I don’t know how or when I would explain to him what I did for a living, but I would let him know the human body and sex are things that should make us feel proud.”
“I’d say, as a whole, people are very deviant,” adds Melvin, on our somewhat hypocritical views on sex. “Porn stars and prostitutes (even me) just aren’t afraid to show it. In my experience, the ‘normal’ working gays typically exhibit a lot more shameful behavior.”
With regard to a family, he adds, “If you try and pretend it doesn’t exist, your kids are f*cked.”
Neither Lucas nor Melvin would allow their careers to encroach on their children, even if they're quick to point out that kids are going to be curious about sex no matter what business you choose.
“Children will see porn regardless of what industry you’re working in,” says Lucas, who adds that he felt ashamed of his parents when he found adult materials in their home as a teen. “I don’t have porn materials in my house, and maybe in my world the child will be exposed to it later on.”
“I don’t think my kids should know the details of my sex life,” says Melvin. “Just like my mother shouldn’t know when I stick it in a guy’s butt.”
He’s quick to point out, however, that secrecy and a private life are two different things.
“[Kids] will find out on their own. Why not be their guide and be the support, so they are getting the information from you? I think they’d be less likely to rebel and engage in risky behavior.”
Adds Tom, “My first order of business as a dad would be helping my child understand the basics of sex. To be proud of it, and to ask questions and never feel ashamed. Trust me, on a daily basis I see how sexual confusion causes men to do amazingly crazy things. In my private life, I’m extremely vanilla.”
Whatever business you’re in, raising children is tough, and gay men are learning the ropes just like everyone else. Jinkx Monsoon, RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5 winner and all around sex goddess, sums it up best.
“I plan on having kids one day, and I know that’s a tall order with my career. But Gypsy Rose Lee and Joan Crawford did it. Why shouldn’t I?”