Gay Dad Life

Love Together: Long-Term Male Couples Open Up

As a professional jazz pianist, Tim Clausen knows a lot about making beautiful music on his own. But in writing his new book, “Love Together: Longtime Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication," he learned more than ever about what it takes for two people to create long-lasting harmony.


“Love Together” is the culmination of three years of work and over 100 interviews that Tim conducted with long-term gay couples from across the country. Though he’s not in a relationship himself, he found himself drawn to studying what makes successful, long-term gay couples tick: What are their joys? What are their challenges? What are their secrets? Using the interviewing skills he honed in work as a jazz historian, Tim contacted couples across the country to share their very different stories.

And indeed, no two are the same. From a Christian music duo to the Canadian makers of erotic comics, these couples come from all walks of life. Some of the men have been together for 15 years, others as long as 60 years. In fact, Tim closes “Love Together” with the poignant tale of a couple that had been together for nearly six decades; one of the men passed away shortly after their joint interview, so Tim returned for three separate follow-up chats with the widower to discuss the experience of living on without his longtime love. Their final interview took place on what would have been the couple’s 61st anniversary.

Some of the couples are unmarried, while others have tied the knot: America’s first same-sex military couple to marry is among Tim’s diverse interviewees. And Tim found that the act of marriage really did have an emotional impact even on couples that had already been together for many years. “It really did something psychological for them,” says Tim. “One participant told me, ‘Prior to marriage, it was like we were on shifting sand. Now we’re on very solid ground.’”

And though many of the couples are childless, a significant number (about 20 percent, by Tim’s estimation) are also dads.

So is Tim, incidentally. He has a 26 year-old son from a past relationship with a woman, and for many years struggled with being a long-distance dad. So back in 1995 he founded the Milwaukee Gay Fathers Group, which he led for 10 years. Two of the men he interviewed for “Loving Together” actually met through the group. And Tim noticed that even for longtime couples, there is a new and unique bond that arises when they become parents together.

“Some of the men told me that seeing a partner as a dad made them love him even more,” says Tim. The dads ranged from those who fathered children independently in past relationships, to those who became parents together via surrogacy. One couple even adopted a baby they found abandoned in a NYC subway. However they arrived at fatherhood, the men found that it was a journey that enhanced their relationship together. “Seeing their partner in that newly expanded role was a really profound experience,” explains Tim. “It added a new dimension of love to their lives.”

Fatherhood also helped couples with communication skills, something that all long-term couples credit as being crucial to their success. “Having open and honest communication about everything is really important,” says Tim, recounting some of the most common advice shared by interviewees. “Anything has to be on the table for discussion.”

That includes discussions of monogamy, says Tim, who found that the issue of sexual exclusivity is one that many of the long-term couples negotiated at some point in their relationship. “In heterosexual relationships, people tend to follow a standard script that includes monogamy,” says Tim. But he found that many decades-spanning gay couples approached the issue in more varied ways: Some started in exclusive relationships, but eventually opened up to include other sexual partners. Other couples gave each other allowance to explore outside the relationship, within certain parameters. And still more opened up their relationship only temporarily, before returning to full monogamy. These conversations aren’t always easy, but that they happen at all helps many long-term gay couples remain “above board” with their desires – which can ultimately makes their bond of trust stronger, not weaker.

“When you’re able to communicate about even the difficult things, it leads to less sneaking around,” says Tim. And although many more traditional types blanche at the idea of open relationships, there’s one lesson that all couples can take away from the concept: In successful relationships, partners allow each other to change and grow. “Long term” does not mean “stagnant.”

“It’s all about accepting a person’s good, bad, and indifferent; the whole package,” says Tim of what he learned from these successful couples. “It’s about taking them for all their assets and all their liabilities. And it’s about allowing them to change. If you’re not ready for that, it’s probably not going to work long-term.”

Visit "Love Together" for more details on the book or to order your own copy.

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Gay Dad Life

Lance Bass Opens Up About Forming His Family Through Surrogacy

Lance Bass and his husband Michael Turchin hope to spend Father's Day next year as first-time dads!

According to a recent interview with ET Online, Lance Bass and husband Michael Turchin will likely be spending Father's Day next year as first time dads!

"It's looking like this might be the last Father's Day that I'm kid-less!" the former *NSYNC band member told ET. "We'll see if the timing's right. We're hoping to have a kid next summer, so we'll just see how everything works out. Who knows what wrenches might be thrown in, so we're just crossing our fingers that it all works out."

This past April, the dads-to-be revealed their plans to build their family via surrogacy, and will thus join the growing ranks of famous gay men who form their families in this way. In his recent interview with ET, Bass opened up further about what the process has been like so far.

"Our surrogate fell into our laps through our embryologist, who is incredible," Bass said. "We just loved her. She was so selfless and all about wanting to give that gift to someone. I wanted to cry because it was just so special that someone would do that."

The couple is still looking for an egg donor (here are some tips for choosing, Lance!) but are hoping to have the process complete by spring of this year.

In a recent appearance on the Today Show, Bass shared that he and his husband Michael Turchin have long hoped to become fathers.

"We are super excited," he said. "We love the idea of having a family. That's one of the reasons I wanted to marry this man, because I know he'll be such a great dad."

We'll be sure to keep you posted on their exciting journey!

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"Accidental Greek yogurt facial night." - Cheyenne Jackson

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Change the World

You Can Now Personalize A Gay Dad Children's Book Story with Your Own Family Names

This children's book author can help you write a story that reflects how your family was formed

Guest post written by Carmen Martinez Jover author of The Baby Kangaroo Treasure Hunt, a Gay Parenting Story.

After 18 years of struggling, failed IVFs, depressions, I finally become a mum via adoption. Life has many curious ways to get you where you are today. I would have never thought that after so many years of struggling to become a Mum and that what had turned out to be my biggest nightmare turned into such amazing blessings. I never thought I'd be a writer, an artist, an international infertility lecturer, a Mum and dedicate my life to help others with books, paintings, meditations, lectures, workshops and private sessions.

When my daughter arrived, I was so afraid to share how our family was formed. I was afraid that the information would hurt her and I didn't even know where to start. I had so many fears and doubts and it was by reading a story that I found sharing so much easier and it was this that motivated me to write so many children's stories to help others share with their kids . My first story was for kids conceived via egg donation. One story just followed the other: egg donation, recipes of how babies are made, two dads, single mum by choice. I also have an autobiography where I share my infertility journey through my art, my paintings: "I Want to Have a Child, Whatever it Takes!"

Carmen with her books

I believe in reading to your child as a baby. First it helps you as a parent to overcome your fears. After reading so many times the book becomes special and your kid enjoys when you read it to them. I wrote The Baby Kangaroo Treasure Hunt, a Gay Parenting Story, and my sister, Rosemary, did the most amazing illustrations. I was later asked to write a version for Twins. These books are available in Amazon, in English, Spanish, French and Italian. In my interest to make these books touch hearts, you can now personalize them and put your own names to the characters. This makes the book fun. Children really enjoy seeing the kangaroos with their Dad's names and theirs. Books can be customized in this link.

The Baby Kangaroo Treasure Hunt and The Twin Kangaroo Treasure Hunt, tell the story of how two kangaroos want to have kids and they visit wise William who gives them a scroll of what they need in their treasure hunt: a sperm, an egg and a womb. You accompany the kangaroos to find an egg donor, a surrogate and then how the doctor puts them together and finally they become a family.

Some of Carmen's art and painting from her autobiography. The chairs symbolized wanting another chair at her family table

Carmen Martinez Jover is a Fertility Coach, an artist, a lecturer, therapist and author who writes stories to help share with your child how your family was formed. Through her personal experience she realised how storytelling makes sharing easier. Her sister Rosemary Martinez, an international award-winning designer, did the most amazing illustrations and makes this story so much fun to read with your kids. Follow Carmen on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and you may also email Carmen.

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Anti-LGBTQ lawmakers across the country are attempting to allow state-funded child welfare agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples and others on the grounds of "religious freedom." According to the Desert News, there have been 140 "religious freedom" bills debated just this year, many of which would negatively impact the LGBTQ community. Two such bills restricting adoption rights have already passed, in Oklahoma and Kansas, with another pending in South Carolina.

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