Newly Out Gay Dads

This Gay Dad's Take On His Ex-Wife? 'She's My Best Friend'

Meet gay dad Dustin, 27, and his sons Brody and Aiven. Dustin lives in New Castle, Indiana, and he became a dad via a previous marriage to a woman. Brodey is 6 years old and Aiven will turn 3 in March. Dustin co-parents with his ex-wife, whom he describes as his best friend. Because of their great relationship they've found co-parenting to be a breeze!


Christmas 2015: Aiven (left), Dustin, and Brodey at Brodey's Christmas play

Gays With Kids: How did you create your family?

Dustin: Former straight relationship. I was born and raised in a small town where it was not OK to be gay. Growing up, I knew I was different. I thought being gay was a phase and it would eventually go away. I met my (now ex-)wife when I was 14 years old and I fell in love with her. We were young, but we were able to grow up together. We were together for nearly 10 years and married for almost six before I came out to her. After going to college and spending a significant amount of time in a big city, I realized that being gay was not wrong and I needed to be honest with myself and my wife. I couldn't stand the thought of telling my sons that they could be whatever they wanted to be as long as they were happy, knowing that I was a hypocrite because I wasn't being true to myself. After my wife and I split, things were tough. We did what was best for our boys and in the end had great results. My ex-wife and I are now best friends which makes co-parenting very easy and rewarding.

March 2014: Dustin with Aiven when he was a week old, Photo taken by a family friend in New Castle

Jeremy and I met in Indianapolis where he lived and I worked. There were several times we had run into each other at one of the bars downtown, and I think we both knew there was a connection then. We were in relationships at the time, so we never pursued anything. After both of us ended our relationships with other people, he had an opportunity to move to Texas to be closer to his two sons. My former relationship [with a man] ended badly and Jeremy helped me get through it emotionally. We texted and spoke on the phone every day or every other day in 2015. We really got to know each other and became great friends. Jeremy came for Christmas this past year and it gave us the opportunity we needed to get to know each other in person. We both knew that there was a connection prior to meeting, but I don't think either of us expected it to be as strong as it was in person. We were together for almost a week straight before he had to leave and go back to Texas. In that time, I did introduce him to my boys. This is rare for me because I refuse to bring people in and out of their lives. If I introduce someone to them, I expect that person to stay in our lives forever, in one capacity or another. We actually took the boys to Chuck E. Cheese and then decided to go on an "adventure" as Jeremy calls it. This consisted of going to PetSmart and to see all the animals and to pet all the dogs that came in the store. After that, we went to Toys "R" Us and played with all the toys in the store. It was a great day and my boys had a blast. I was excited to see how well Jeremy did with my boys and how much they enjoyed being with him. This also made me even crazier about him.

Indiana State Fair, August 2015: Dustin with Aiven and Brodey

Thanksgiving 2015: Dustin with Brodey and Aiven in New Castle, Indiana

Christmas 2014: Brodey, Dustin and Aiven

December 2015: Jeremy (left) and Dustin at the Indianapolis Auto Show

February 2016: Jeremy (left) and Dustin in Austin, Texas

Get to know other gay dad families here as part of our Meet Gay Dad series.

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Gay Dad Opens Up About His Experiences With Conversion Therapy

The California-based gay dad was one of 8 people to be interviewed about his experiences with the disproven practice of conversion therapy for The Cut.

Conversion therapy, the disproven practice of attempting to change an individual's sexual orientation through psychological interventions, has been in the news a lot lately. This past May, Maryland became the 11th state to completely ban the damaging therapy for minors. Some states are even considering bills to further prohibit the practice for adults.

Hollywood is paying attention to the trend, with two major movies, Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron Post, to be released before the end of the year.

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Gay Dad Comes Out to Son in a Hidden Camera TV Show

The scene, which aired in a recent episode of What Would You Do?, took place in a New Jersey diner.

A recently aired episode of ABC's What Would You Do? featured a staged situation in which a gay man comes out to his son in a restaurant in New Jersey. The premise of the show, which features hidden cameras, is to subject unsuspecting people to a certain dilemma, and then gauge their reaction as the drama unfolds.

This latest episode was inspired by a popular op-ed in the Washington Post by a man named Jared Bilski titled "My dad lived a lie. I'm determined my kids won't have to do the same." In the piece, Bilski writes about the regret he feels for his father, who finally came out to him just a few days before he passed away.

Bilski writes in part, "It wasn't death he was afraid of, at least not at that moment. My dad was terrified of how I'd react to hearing he'd been lying all along."

What would passersby in a crowded diner think of a father coming out to his son in a similarly-staged situation? John Quiñones, who hosts the hidden camera show, sought to find out. In the scene, a man, seated next to his wife, tell their son they are getting a divorce because of his sexual orientation. The couple then leave the room, leaving the son alone, pondering this news.

Fortunately, most of the feedback the young man receives from other diners who overhear the conversation are positive.

"You didn't lose him," one diner tells the son. "He is the same person with the same values and the same emotions. Let me tell you, it doesn't matter what age you are, divorce is divorce. It hurts. But these two people don't change. These two people still love you very, very much."

"It's still your dad, man," says another "Accept him for what it is, you know? It's the only thing you can do."

"Being gay, it's not a big deal," says yet another. "It doesn't change the fact that he's your dad."

You can watch the full clip of the touching episode here.

Gay Dad Family Stories

Newly Out Gay Dad is Living His Truth

"All of my relationships in my past were real," says Steven, who began living his authentic life as a gay man in 2015. "My marriage included."

Partners Steven Graffam and John Stivale met commuting to work on the bus in New York City. The two had noticed one another for months. Then one day, they went beyond exchanging looks and exchanged phone numbers too. The two have been together a little under a year.

Steven is a gay dad with one son, via a straight relationship, who came to terms with his sexual orientation in 2015. Now he's in a serious relationship with a man who adores his son and they've begun to talk about their future, one that might include more kids. Here's Steven's story.

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Study Finds Two-Thirds of Gay Dads Experienced Stigma in Last Year

The study also found that over half of gay dads have avoided certain social situations in the last year for fear of experiencing stigma.

According to new research by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the vast majority of gay men and their children experience some form of stigma. The findings are based on a survey of 732 gay father across 47 states in the United States.

More gay men are becoming fathers each year, and have more options for doing so than ever before: including adoption, foster care, and surrogacy. However as the study's authors write: "Despite legal, medical, and social advances, gay fathers and their children continue to experience stigma and avoid situations because of fear of stigma. Increasing evidence reveals that stigma is associated with reduced well-being of children and adults, including psychiatric symptoms and suicidality"

Almost two-thirds of respondents, or 63.5%, reported experiencing stigma based on being a gay father within the last year. Over half, or 51.2%, said they have avoided situations for fear of stigma, in the past year. Importantly, the study found that fathers living in states with more legal protections for LGBTQ people and families experienced fewer barriers and stigma. Most experiences of stigma (almost 35%) occurred, unsurprisingly, in a religious environment. But another quarter of gay dads said they experienced stigma from a wide variety of other sources, including: family members, neighbors, waiters, service providers, and salespeople

Surprisingly (or perhaps not?) another source of stigma cited by the study originates from other gay men. "Gay men report suspicion and criticism for their decision to be parents from gay friends who have not chosen parenthood." The study also says gay dads often feel "isolation in their parental role."

The study concludes, "Despite growing acceptance of parenting by same-gender adults, barriers and stigma persist. States' legal and social protections for lesbian and gay individuals and families appear to be effective in reducing experiences of stigma for gay fathers."

Read the whole study here.

Gay Dad Photo Essays

5 Pics of Ricky Martin In Newborn Baby Bliss

He may be a superstar most of the year, but with a new baby girl at home, Ricky Martin is just a regular ol' dad deep in the throes of newborn baby bliss.

On January 1st, 2019 superstar Ricky Martin and his husband Jwan Yosef shared a post via Instagram announcing that they'd welcomed a baby girl named Lucia into their family.

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Gay Dad Life

Gay Dads Featured on Cover of Parents Magazine for First Time

Fitness guru Shaun T. and his husband Scott Blokker are the first gay dads to be featured on the cover of Parents Magazine

I literally never thought I'd see the day. Literally.

Gay fathers on the cover of Parents Magazine! Gay fathers being celebrated in a "main stream" publication about being parents. Gay fathers!

I don't want to get overly dramatic here, but this is a milestone. A massive cultural milestone.

Sure, gay dads have come a long way in being accepted in our popular culture, but to my eye we've never been on the cover of a big popular parenting magazine celebrating our parenting skills. As if we are the norm.

We are now - thanks to Parents Magazine.

This is a particular milestone for me because I have a bit of a history with the magazine and with parenting publications in general. My first job out of grad school was in brand marketing at Johnson's Baby Products where I did indeed run advertising in this particular magazine. Back then though we only featured married, straight couples. There were no other kinds of parents to feature back in the day! And if I'm to be really honest, they were generally white, married, straight couples.

I distinctly remember one photo shoot where I forgot to put a wedding ring on the "husband's" finger and we had to reshoot it. No photoshop back then!

Now admittedly this was before I was a dad and before I was out, but as the years went by and I embraced my own journey as a gay dad, there were no role models or pop culture markers to say that I (and other gay dads) were accepted. There were no Andy Cohens publicly making baby announcements. We were alone on our parenting.

It was hard. There was a constant barrage of straight parenting norms that constantly reminded us that we were different.
Not any more! Being a gay dad, or any dad, is now simply being a parent. A good parent. A loving parent. And we have Parents Magazine to thank for the reminder and endorsement, with hopefully more to come.

And I can't help but think, and actually know, that this kind of normalization will inspire the next generation of gay dads who will simply accept, without hesitation, that fatherhood as a gay man is a real, accepted, and normal option.

Bravo!

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Broadway Husbands Talk Eggs, Embryos and Exciting News

The husbands explain what is considered a good egg retrieval.

In their previous video, Broadway Husbands Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna shared that they found their egg donor. In this video, the dads-to-be discuss their embryo creation process. And - spoiler alert - there are now frozen Hanna-Shuford embryos, and the husbands are ready for their next step: finding a gestational carrier.

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