How My Five Month Old Daughter Helped Me Come Out

Ryan Allen believes his daughter saved his life.

"I always call Harper my hero and my angel, and that isn't said lightly," said Ryan. "She did save my life and since then has always watched over me, protected me, loved me, and guided me as my angel."

Ryan, co-founder and president of a Kentucky nonprofit organization called Love Must Win, Inc., became a dad through a previous straight relationship. Ryan had always wanted children, but being a dad forced him to take stock in his life, become sober, and reevaluate what was most important to him. This process also led Ryan to come out as a gay man.

"It was through her that I found the strength to be true to myself," explained Ryan.

Although the pregnancy wasn't planned, it was a wonderful surprise and Ryan and Harper's mother share custody. Although co-parenting comes with it's ups and downs, they are proud of their co-parent relationship on behalf of their daughter.

We spoke with Ryan and found out how life has changed for him since becoming a dad.

Tell us about your path to fatherhood. Former straight relationship. Harper's mother and I weren't planning but ended up with the best surprise we could have ever asked for.

Tell us about any obstacles you faced on your path to fatherhood. Coming fully out as gay when Harper was about 5 months old, that was really tough. Since then co-parenting can be extremely challenging, but we work well together to create a thoughtful and bright and caring young lady!

How has your life changed since you became a father? Everything has changed! I learned to love and accept myself. I got sober when she was about a year old and my life has blossomed since then. I finished my two undergraduate programs and received a MBA degree shortly after. I rebuilt torn-down relationships and worked on raising my daughter with love and compassion. She helped me form a nonprofit in our area called Love Must Win, Inc., which helps eliminate violence in the world and self-violence (in the form of self-destructive behaviors) while spreading hope, love, kindness and acceptance.

What have you learned from your child since you became a dad? That anything I would want for my child, I would want for myself… Which is why I truly learned to love and accept myself just as I am. How could I have taught her that without teaching myself that lesson first?

Was there ever a moment that you experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself? When her mother and I found out, we got into the car and we both just yelled a loud "ahhhh" to let out our stress and anxiety... after that we laughed and immediately started planning and strategizing. Once I came out fully (her mother had always known I was bi/gay/not sure) I then questioned how I would raise her - what if she didn't accept me! What if she didn't understand? What if ... what if?

Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation? There have been some challenges in the past, but the majority of people are very kind and see it as encouraging situation rather than one to shame us or to belittle us. We have a strong support system :)

What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering pursuing your same path or parenthood? Just remember some nights will be filled with vomit covered blankets or floating poop in night time bath... but those situations are worth the millions of beautiful transformative times you get to spend and share with your child. You don't have to wait until you're completely financially stable, completely healed from past wounds, or completely have your life in order. All you have to do is be ready to love that child no matter what happens in life. If you wait until the perfect timing, the opportunity might pass you right by!

Show Comments ()
Change the World

After Suffering a Violent Homophobic Attack, This Gay Dad Turned to Advocacy

After Rene suffered a brutal homophobic attack that left him hospitalized, he and his family have turned to advocacy to heal

Guest post written by Rene and Nejc

We are Rene (35) and Nejc (29) and we come from Slovenia, Europe. I was an avid athlete, a Judoist, but now I am an LGBT activist and Nejc is a writer, who published a gay autobiography called Prepovedano. He was also a participant in a reality show in Slovenia (Bar) and he is an LGBT activist too. Nejc and I met by a mere coincidence on Facebook, and already after the first phone call we realized that we are made for each other. Nejc and I have been together as couple almost one year. We think we have been joined by some energy, as we have both experienced a lot of bad things with previous relationships and now we wish to create and shape our common path.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

10 of Our Most Popular Posts Featuring Single Gay Dads

Happy Single Parent's Day! To celebrate, we rounded up some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads.

Did you know March 21st is Single Parents Day? Well now you do, and you should mark the occasion by checking out our round up of some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

What's Life Like as a Single Gay Dad? These Guys Sound Off

We checked in with some of the single gay dads in our community to see what life is like while parenting solo

March 21st is Single Parents Day! To celebrate, we checked in with some single gay men in our community to sound off on what life is like while parenting solo — the good, the challening and everything in between.

Keep reading... Show less

Gestational Surrogacy Legalized in New York State

The Child-Parent Security Act, which legalizes commercial surrogacy in New York State, was included in the 2020 New York State Budget signed by Governor Cuomo

Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

"Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

"This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

Keep reading... Show less
Expert Advice

4 Tips for Single Gay Dads Raising Daughters

Here are some ways to create a safe space for your daughter to discover who she is, with you by her side.

There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

How to Survive a Midlife Crisis (A Guide for Gay Dads)

Turns out David Blacker is, in fact, experiencing a midlife crisis — according to the very official results of a Buzzfeed quiz

Today I took one of those Buzzfeed-like quizzes to determine whether or not I am having a midlife crisis. I know what you're thinking. How can 29 be considered mid-life? God bless you, but I'm actually 35. Fine, 41. The Buzzfeed results — granted, we're not talking a true clinical assessment here — implied that I am, in fact, showing symptoms of a midlife crisis. But instead of shopping for a new sports car, I'm looking around for something else.

Problem is, I don't quite know what that is yet.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse