Happy gay uncles day to all the wonderful "guncles" out there! Here at Gays With Kids we know how important your roles are within our families so we want to celebrate you today, and say a big thanks! Enjoy this collection of "guncle" photos and a few words of wisdom and contemplations from the uncles themselves.
Uncles Mark and Andrew, Babylon, New York
"Being gay uncles has taught us about caring for children in a different and deeper way than that of our professions (teacher and librarian).We have learned how children fit in our family, how they grow into distinct young people with strong opinions and powerful voices, and how to love children. Being gay uncles prepared us for fatherhood, fueling our desire to raise youth into confident individuals."
Uncles Laurence and Danny, London, England
"Being a gay uncle and role model normalizes it for them growing up making its importance both trivial and vital. And, we're automatically considered cool by all their friends."
Uncle Eric, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
"The best thing about it my nieces will always have the best fashion sense, haha! No, the best thing about it is they will know the way a guy should treat them the best way and that they will always have a GBF ("gay best friend") and that they can always confide in me about anything."
Uncle Dan from San Francisco and his niece Jese from Nebraska.
Dan: "Even though I'm 40 years old, I still feel like a teenager. My niece and I spent 10 days in Long Beach together and the age difference was never an issue. We are more like great friends rather than uncle and niece. All my other siblings are or were married and they all have children. They have to be responsible adults to their children, nieces, and nephews while I'm the "guncle" who is just a big kid who wants to go to Disneyland with niece.
Jese: "I would say your role has been very important. Seeing all your pictures from your travels is one of the reasons I went to Europe and you inspired me to have fun and enjoy life as much as I can at my age!"
Uncle Phil, Victoria, British Colombia
"Guncles can be a great influence to simply show love is love no matter who you're with. My nieces are totally cool with their uncles. That's down to my sister and her husband being great parents."
Uncle Mark, Colombus, Mississippi
"The best thing about being an uncle is knowing that they look to you for unconditional love no matter what is happening in their lives and being there for when the times are hard, to take away their burden."
Uncles Dayo and Michael, Melbourne, Australia
"Our role is important as it shows our nephews that it is okay to be different."
Uncle Sid (a.k.a. Uncle NeeNee) and his niece Savannah, Windsor, Virginia
"It has been the greatest thrill and honor of my life to be Savannah's uncle. Her mother, my sister, is a single parent, and she has always said that my father and I are the real father figures in Savannah's life. This is so humbling to me. Savannah is my only niece (only child and only grandchild as well). I am single as well, and Savannah is the closest to a child of my own I will ever have. The pride and joy she has brought to me is immeasurable. She was valedictorian of her graduating class this year, and in her speech, she thanked my parents and me for being her support system. This was priceless. She will be a Freshman at Dartmouth this year. It will be hard to see her go, but I know she has an incredible life ahead of her."
"I think my openness has helped teach and/or reinforce her open-mindedness and appreciation of diversity in all areas."
Uncle Mark with his niece Jonah, Vacaville, California
"The best thing about being a gay uncle is being able to experience all the things I went through growing up but with my nieces. So many things have changed since I was a kid and doing those same things now can be totally different with all the technology and such that has changed the way we do things. So it's like I'm experiencing them all over again for the first time. Plus I love spoiling them like crazy. Who doesn't like spoiling their nieces/nephews? "
Uncle Henry, Bloomington, Indiana
"I never realized I could love something so much until I met my niece. The best thing about being a gay uncle for me has been realizing this and accepting that my life will never be the same. As my niece grows (which I know will go by too fast), I'm excited to be a role model and show her the importance of being and accepting yourself and others for who they are."
Uncle Antonio with his nephew and his nephew's boyfriend, Phoenix, Arizona
"Truthfully, the best part is that I've never been treated differently. I believe I've added a little more color to their lives, and for some, I hope that I've helped paved the way for them. I hope they all watch and observe me go through life's tribulations as a gay man. I hope that they're all educated enough to see that our world isn't so small-minded and that it okay to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or being transgender. Love is love!"
Guncles Paul and Paul, Queensland, Australia
"The best thing about being an uncle is that it allows you a small insight into the life of parenthood. Parenthood is something many LGBTI+ people don't get to experience for themselves, which is unfortunate especially if they would like to, so the relationship between a niece and or nephew can be a very special one indeed. One of the things we love about being "guncles" is that we are able to teach our niece more about acceptance and tolerance and the importance of indifference. Many gay people have at various times in their lives suffered due to ignorance and intolerance so we feel it's important to share the message of acceptance so that our niece may grow up to accept and see the value in people regardless of their sexuality or cultural background."
Oscar with his nephew, Dallas, Texas
The best thing about being a "guncle" is the unconditional love they have for my husband and I. [We've been] together for 43 years; we serve as role models that love is love."
Uncle Louis and his husband Ed (not pictured) live in Washington, D.C.
"Just watching them grow and evolve into young men and women (I also have three nieces) where I'm just Uncle Louis. With no other labels attached. They are learning by observation that my husband and I are no different than their other married aunts and uncles."
Uncle Bradley with his nephews, Ripley, Derbyshire, U.K.
"The best part of being a gay uncle is being able to be a positive male role model in there life's as my sis is a single mum also I love seeing the happy looks in there faces every time they see me."
Uncle Matt, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
"I think that I can give my nieces and nephew a perspective that they might not get elsewhere. They live in a small town and as hard as my sister tries to get them to be open minded, it can be tricky for little ones. They see the loud, popular kid at school saying things they hear from their parents and it's easier to fall in. But my being gay and showing them a face that they love to go along with the lessons of love and acceptance, that goes a long way."
Uncle Dennis with his two nephews and son, Whitesboro, Texas
"What I like is that they don't care that I'm gay. Being in their lives is important as a gay man because, even in 2017, there is still a lot of suspicion about gays and kids and in my own small way, I want to end that."
Some answers have been edited for clarity.