This Father's Day, Gay Dads Celebrate the Other Fathers in Their Lives

When we first become dads, Father's Day is the holiday we look forward to the most. For many, it's our first chance to celebrate the elusive club we've been longing to be a part of for sometime: the Dads Club.

But celebrating Father's Day isn't just about us, or our kids. It's about the other folks we share this special day with: our husbands, co-parents, friends, family members, and our own dads. Today, we're honoring the other members of the Dads Club.

We asked a few folks in our community who they look up to and celebrate on this special day. Here's who they are acknowledging today.

 

Paul and his husband Jamie Trudel-Payne 

 

@paultrudelpayne

Tell us about who you admire and look up to as a father figure and why?

Paul: "First, I have to say my husband, my father and father-in-law, and my two older brothers are all amazing dads. But when forced to choose one person I admire or look up to as a father figure, it has to be Apá, my grandpa. He was born in Mexico, worked the fields tirelessly in Texas, where he met my grandma. They married and had 11 children, while living in a tiny farm shack, maybe 12x15' ... Knowing the journey my Grandpa had to endure just so I could be born, is beyond inspiring and the reason I look up to him, still to this day."

What qualities does that father figure have that you would like to emulate?

Paul: "All of them. But I'll try to keep in short and just speak to a few. My Grandpa had a quiet confidence that I have always respected and admired. Constantly smiling, the epitome of welcoming and always respectful, even in the face of prejudice and racism. But what has stuck with me more than anything else about my grandpa, is his kindness. Kind will always be the one word that truly encapsulates him as a man, a father and a person."

 

 

 

What have you learned from them?

Paul: "He taught me that people can be good, and that being good is a choice I make every day, in every situation. He taught me that even when others hurt you, or make you feel small, the strongest thing you can do is to continue to show compassion and continue to be good even when confronted with negativity. He taught me that our past never has to define our future and that true success in life does not come from money or things. It comes from the memories we make that warm our hearts and bring a smile to our face, the beautiful tales we can share with those we love most and the impact we have on others, that will always live on like a beautiful melody of a treasured song."

How do you honor them on Father's Day?

Paul: "Honestly I try my best to honor him every day, to remember I can keep going and do what I dream because he made it possible for me. But now that I am a father myself there is one special thing we do on Father's Day to remember him by. We go through a photo album of my childhood. I love sharing with my son that I too was a little boy, and this man who survived and thrived so much in his lifetime, is who I have always looked up to, and that I hope to be that man for him."

***

 

Ned Russell with his husband James Huang

 

@airbus777

Tell us about who you admire and look up to as a father figure and why?

Ned: "I admire my uncle Dave as a father figure. Growing up my parents were divorced and my uncle Dave really stepped in and was something of a dad, taking me skiing with his sons every year, even letting me stay with him and his family one summer."

What qualities does that father figure have that you would like to emulate?

Ned: "I really want to be both a fun parent, which my uncle Dave was, and someone that my son wants to take some emulate in some ways."

What have you learned from them?

Ned: "Swimming was a big way that uncle Dave connected with his sons, I really hope my son and I can connect over a sport as well."

How do you honor them on Father's Day?

Ned: "I'll definitely be giving uncle Dave a call, if not FaceTime, on Father's Day."

***

 

Jermel Johnson and his husband David Jackson Jr.

 

@jermeltavonjohnson

Tell us about who you admire and look up to as a father figure and why?

Jermel: "The person I admire as a father is my husband. He's a former firefighter and transplant coordinator for Gift of Life and Temple hospital. Currently he's a lieutenant paramedic and has been on the front lines through the COVID pandemic. Working crazy hours through some very tough days, he hasn't hesitated to go above and beyond the call of duty to help as many people as he can through these unprecedented times. Helping people is his calling."

What qualities does that father figure have that you would like to emulate?

Jermel: "He's got many qualities worthy of admiration. He's very hardworking, fun, adventurous to name a few. Two of my favorites are his capacity for love and selflessness. Even though working the crazy hours through this pandemic, he's compelled to spend time with the kids human and four legged. We refer to him as our real life super hero.

What have you learned from them?

Jermel: "I know our children are learning what it means to be brave when things are scary. Even more so with the state of the world. He is a white man and we are raising two beautiful and loving black children. Doing so proudly."

How do you honor them on Father's Day?

Jermel: "On Father's Day we will let him sleep a little later (or just sleep a little period), create cards that show we love him, possibly cook a special dinner and shout to the world how proud we are of him."

***

 

Elliot Dougherty and his husband Paul

 

@ephemeral.elliot

Tell us about who you admire and look up to as a father figure and why?

Elliot: "Maybe this is the most cliche answer, but I admire my partner Matthew and he inspires me every day as a father.."

What qualities does that father figure have that you would like to emulate?

Elliot: "Patience and empathy"

How do you honor them on Father's Day?

Elliot: "I honor fathers by being a better provider and protector. I'm constantly making my kids' future will be full of joy, opportunities, and love."

Anything else you'd like to add?

Elliot: "Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there!"

***

Greg and his husband Paul Yorgey-Girdy

 

daddaddykids

 

Tell us about who you admire and look up to as a father figure and why?

Greg: "I actually look up to my husband , Paul. A happy day for him is spending the day with the kids. Every decision he makes is made with the kids' best interests at the forefront."

What qualities does that father figure have that you would like to emulate?

Greg: "Patience and empathy"

How do you honor them on Father's Day?

Greg: "I honor fathers by being a better provider and protector. I'm constantly making my kids' future will be full of joy, opportunities, and love."

Anything else you'd like to add?

Greg: "I believe fathers work hard to be more emotional and tell their kids that they love them..show and share love unapologetically."

***

Luke and his husband Jonathan Wangerin

 

@lukes_life_catacombs

Tell us about who you admire and look up to as a father figure and why?

Luke: "I still look up to my father, even though he passed some years ago. He always said he wasn't going to be a good Father, time after time. My dad was really smart. He battled PTSD his entire adult life. He showed me how to do things and taught me how to be there for my daughter and soon to be son, as we are in process of adopting one more."

What qualities does that father figure have that you would like to emulate?

Luke: "One of the qualities that I like to emulate are being open to allow real talk and feelings. Him doing that for me eventually allowed me not to be as afraid when I came out to my parents."

How do you honor them on Father's Day?

Luke: "On Father's Day I write him a letter every year, thanking him for all he did for me. I tell him I know he is proud of me and watches me every day as I have my own family."

Anything else you'd like to add?

Luke: "I said this back in February when we adopted Lily and were featured here before but being a father really is a part of any circle of life. It really allows you to leave a part of yourself to the world, even if your child or children aren't biologically yours."

***

Jak Shih

 

Tell us about who you admire and look up to as a father figure and why?

Jak: The person I look up to as a father figure is my dad because he taught me how to be mentally and physically tough, and still be compassionate to other people.

What qualities does that father figure have that you would like to emulate?

Jak: "Qualities I would like to emulate is be supportive for my children and lead by example."

How do you honor them on Father's Day?

Jak: "Since food brings everyone together, I honor them by having a Father's Day feast!"

Anything else you'd like to add?

Jak: "Thank you to all the fathers out there that made an impact on our lives."

***

Be a Part of Our Story

Join our continuously growing community of dads, families and industry experts. We’ll provide education, anecdotes and advice for wherever you might be in your journey to fatherhood. Sign up to our newsletter:

Sign up to our newsletter