Gay Dad Life

A One-Woman Show About A Totally Normal Girl (With Two Gay Dads)

At this year’s FRIGID Festival in New York City, one of the offerings is a one-woman show named “Upstream Swimming” about the playwright’s experiences as a girl growing up with two gay dads in the ‘80s. The show is written and performed by Lindsey Steinert, who herself was raised by two gay dads. TimeOut New York named “Upstream Swimming” a Critics' Pick.

Lindsey Steinert

 For performance dates and ticket info (including how to get free tickets), see end of article.

 A Blog Post From Lindsey About Herself

Here’s a little background about Lindsey, in her own words:

My Challenges of Growing up With Two Gay Dads

I’ve been performing for as long as I can remember. Whether on stage as a character, or in life as a normal child in spite of my abnormal upbringing as a child of same-sex parents, each role I’ve taken on – whether voluntarily or not – has presented a set of unique challenges.

I’ll never forget my first day of kindergarten because it was the day I learned that not everyone had two gay dads, two brothers and a beagle named Hymie. While I suspect my peers were in the midst of their own earth-shattering revelations, my revelation was unique in that there wasn’t a single person in my class, in my grade, or in my school who had same-sex parents. I was the first.

This notion of being the first continued throughout my childhood permeating my life in unique ways that at the time seemed less significant than they do upon reflection. For instance, when I started ballet at age 5, my Pop was told to get me dressed for class in a separate room from my classmates because his presence in the girl’s dressing room made my classmates’ mothers uncomfortable. Or constantly getting asked “Where’s your mom?” and having to explain that I have two dads. Then having to correct and inform the inquisitor that my dads were gay when they just assumed my parents were divorced and remarried which resulted in my having two dads. Or not being able to complete the Common Application for college because it required specific information about the applicant’s mother and father – rather than their parents or guardians – a simple change I suggested in the additional essay I had to write as an explanation for my incomplete application.

My Dads’ Challenges

While being the first wasn’t always easy for me, it was equally challenging for my parents who were the first in their own right, and subsequently faced challenges from the day I was born – literally. My birthmother lived in a different state so the day after I was born my parents boarded a plane to bring me home with them, and mid-flight one of the flight attendants started asking them where my mother was, and why they were traveling with a newborn. While they attempted to explain, their efforts weren’t successful, and their flight was greeted by the FBI who were responding to a possible kidnapping – reported by the airline. Two years later when my brothers were born, my parents learned their lesson and brought my godmother with them. She sat next to my Pop on the flight home and pretended to be their mother, while my Dad sat one row behind them. There were little challenges too, like having to change my diaper on the floor of an empty stall in the men’s room because changing tables were restricted to women’s restrooms at the time (and in many places still are). And other not-so-little challenges, like when I was 9 and someone spray painted the word “F*GGOT” in big, blue, capital letters on the side of my family’s brownstone. Even more vivid than my parents’ attempt to explain to us what that word meant, was the police’s refusal to classify the act as a hate crime.

Trendy

In 2017 with shows like “Modern Family” and “Orange is the New Black” where same-sex relationships are depicted as the norm, it’s becoming increasingly hard to believe – let alone recall – a time when having same-sex parents wasn’t considered trendy or cool. But when my two dads met 40 years ago the notion of starting a family as an openly gay couple wasn’t just far-fetched, it was unheard of. Five kids, two birthmothers and four beagles later, my parents not only created a loving family, but raised five children who collectively have no interest, despite having the option and ability, to meet their birthmothers. A phenomenon I can only attribute to my Dad and Pop’s parenting, and their insistence that we be surrounded by strong, female figures (such as nannies and aunts), whose presence likely circumvented the void that some children ascribe to not knowing their birth parents.

My One-Woman Show

When I graduated college in 2014 and realized that people were still shocked to learn that I have two gay dads, I knew it was important for me to use my unique position as a child of same-sex parents to contribute to the normalization of families like mine – something that as a child I had always yearned to do, but at the time lacked the resources to accomplish. Combining my love of performing with my desire to provoke social change is what led me to write a one-woman show titled “Upstream Swimming” about what growing up with same-sex parents is really like. Writing and performing “Upstream Swimming" provided me with a unique outlet where I cannot only share my story with strangers, but can share my experience as a child of same-sex parents with members of the LGBTQ community who continue to fear the repercussions of a less traditional family dynamic when deciding whether or not to start a family of their own. The show, not unlike most of my childhood experiences, is the first of its kind and will be taking part in this year’s FRIGID Festival in New York City that runs from February 16 to March 4; same-sex couples who attend the show together can see it for free.

Although I continue to be encouraged by the progress being made by and for the LGBTQ community, progress that I know will continue to dismantle the still widely held belief that a child is best raised by a mother and a father in a traditional family, as the successful product of a family that breaks with tradition, I feel it’s my responsibility to insure such progress continues. And the best way I know how to do that is by sharing my story with others, and encouraging potential same-sex parents that the only way to alter society’s understanding of what it means to be a normal family, is to redefine it.

This blog post first appeared in the Huffington Post. It is republished with some changes.


The 2017 FRIGID Festival Presents: “Upstream Swimming” – A One-Woman Show About A Totally “Normal” Girl (With 2 Gay Dads) – Written & Performed by Lindsey Steinert

In the late ‘80s (before having same-sex parents was considered cool), Dad and Pop decided they wanted to have a family. A few years and many unique attempts later – enter Lindsey: your typical 20-something girl, who just happens to have two gay dads. From justifying her singleness to her puzzled fathers, to addressing her anxieties – which range from not being interesting enough to stalk, to contracting malaria on the subway – it’s clear she isn’t always as put-together as she looks. But is her untraditional upbringing to blame? Join Lindsey in this first-of-its-kind show, and hear an actual child of same-sex parents explain why, despite having spent a lifetime swimming against the current, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Because the desire to provoke social change is what compelled Lindsey to write "Upstream Swimming,” she will be offering same-sex couples who either have children or are considering starting a family (and attend the show together) FREE TICKETS to see the show. It is her hope that hearing a first-hand account from an actual child of same-sex parents might alleviate some of the doubt and fear that society imposes on less traditional parents and their family dynamics.

 

Dates & Times:

Thursday, February 16 @ 7:10 p.m.

Wednesday, February 22 @ 5:30 p.m.

Friday, February 24 @ 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, February 26 @ 1:50 p.m.

Saturday, March 4 @ 5:00 p.m.

 

Runtime:

60 Minutes (No Intermission)

 

Location:

The Kraine Theater

85 East 4th Street

(between 2nd Ave & Bowery)

New York, NY 10003

*Please note: the theater is NOT wheelchair accessible

 

Tickets:

$15.00 or FREE for same-sex couples who bring their kids (14+), or same-sex couples considering starting a family!

Tickets can be purchased or reserved online or purchased day-of at the box office.

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Photo Essays

How Single Dads Are Celebrating Valentine's Day This Year

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers! We caught up with 8 single gay dads to see how they plan to celebrate Valentine's Day with this year.

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers; it's also a day to celebrate our loved ones. And that's exactly what these single dads are doing.

Within our community, GWK has a large group of admirable, active, and awesome (!) single dads and we want to honor them! On Valentine's Day, they and their kids celebrate their family unit in the sweetest possible ways. We asked the dads to share these moments with us, and, where possible, one of the most heartwarming things they've experienced with their kids on Valentine's Day to date.

Hear their stories below.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Photo Essays

11 Gay Couples Share Secrets to Their Long-Term Relationships This Valentine's Day

This Valentine's Day, we spoke with 11 gay dad couples who've been together for almost a decade or longer to learn what's made their relationships last

You're the peanut butter to my jelly, the gin to my tonic, the strawberries to my cream, the Mr. to my Mr.!

Happy Valentine's Day folks! We're excited to celebrate this day of lurrrrvvve by featuring a few dads in our community who've been together for almost a decade or more! And they're ready to share their secrets to a successful relationship and parenting partnership.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Life

"Worth Every Blood, Sweat, and Tear": Congrats to Gay Dads on Recent Births and Adoptions!

Wishing all of these gay dads whose families expanded a lifetime of happiness! Congrats to everyone in our community on their recent births and adoptions!

Gay men go through a lot of ups and downs on the path to parenthood. It can be one of the most emotionally draining times in our lives. But as each of these families who are celebrating births and adoptions this month agree: it's worth every hardship.

Congrats to the dads whose families grew this month!

Keep reading...
News

What's it Like to Be a Child of the 'Gayby Boom'?

Tosca Langbert, who grew up with two dads, writes a piece for the Harvard Business Review about what it's like being among the first children of the "Gayby Boom" to come of age.

We've previously written about the pressure on LGBTQ parents to appear perfect, given that so many in the United States still feel out families shouldn't exist in the first place. And we know this pressure trickles down to our kids. But In an article for the Harvard Business Review titled 'The Gayby Boom Is Here to Stay," author Tosca Langbert eloquently writes, from her perspective, about the experience of beingone of the first children to come of age during an era when LGBTQ parenthood is far more commonplace. She and her two siblings, she notes, "were raised in a family that was an impossibility only decades ago."

In the article, Langbert said she knew from a young age that her family was different from those of most of her peers, who had one a father and a mother. But otherwise, she writes, she didn't feel like her family differed much. "Like any other parents, Dad sat in the carpool lane after school and taught us how to ride our bikes," she writes, "while Papa took us to the movies on the weekends and separated the whites from the colors."

Despite this mundanity, her family remained something to marvel at for much of her youth. When the family moved into a new neighborhood in 2006, it made the local newspaper, with a headline titled, "Gay Father Tests Tolerance in the Park Cities."

She and her siblings have spent much of their lives, she explained further, having to respond to the question: what's it like having two gay dads? For Langbert, there is only one correct response, which is: Amazing! "Any other response, even if simply accounting for a family's nuanced experience, might as well be an outright admission of failure on behalf of the entire LGBTQ community," she wrote.

Children of the 'Gayby Generation,' are also put in the position of having to come out on behalf of their parents, and "often with mixed results," she wrote. She gave the following anecdote as an example:

"My father was asked to step down from his leadership position in my brother's Boy Scout troop on account of his sexuality. Even though my siblings and I were only fourth graders at the time, we understood that our family was under strict scrutiny, and that even the slightest misstep could beget severe consequences for how competent our fathers were perceived as being. In the face of this pressure, the first generation of 'gaybies' recognized the importance of presenting their families as perfect; doing otherwise would only present ammunition to those already dubious about the rights of LGBTQ parents to raise children."

The entire article, which includes the perspectives of multiple now-grown kids that are part of the "Gayby generation," is well worth a read, which you can access here.


Politics

Utah Bill Would Allow Gay Men to Enter Surrogacy Contracts

Rep. Patrice Arent of Utah is sponsoring a bill that will remove a provision that currently prohibits gay men from entering into commercial surrogacy contracts in the state.

Though Utah is not one of the three states that currently prohibit commercial surrogacy contracts, the state's current policy does specifically exclude gay men from doing so. That may soon changed, however, thanks to a bill in the state's legislature that was unanimously voted out of a House Committee that would remove that restriction.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, a Democrat, was created in response to a ruling by the Utah Supreme Court this past August that found the ban on gay men unconstitutional.

Gay men have been excluded from legally entering surrogacy contracts due to a provision in the current law that requires medical evidence "that the intended mother is unable to bear a child or is unable to do so without unreasonable risk to her physical or mental health or to the unborn child," Rep. Arent told the Salt Lake Tribune — a requirement that clearly excludes gay male couples.

The state's original surrogacy law dates back to 2005, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the state, which accounts for the gendered language. Though the state's Supreme Court already ruled the provision unconstitutional, Rep Arent further told the Tribute that, "People do not look to Supreme Court opinions to figure out the law, they look to the code and the code should be constitutional."

Politics

Colorado Republicans Try and Fail to Outlaw LGBTQ Marriage and Adoption Rights

A bill introduced by four Republican state legislators in Colorado that would outlaw same-sex marriage and adoption rights was voted down.

The "Colorado Natural Marriage and Adoption Act," which would have outlawed gay marriage and adoption in the state of Colorado, was voted down in the state legislature this week. The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Stephen Humphrey and three of his conservative colleagues: Dave Williams, Shane Sandridge and Mark Baisley.

If enacted, the bill would have enforced "state law that marriage is between one man and one woman" and restrict "adoption of children by spouses in a marriage ... that consist of one man and one woman."

The bill, which had little chance of success, particularly in Colorado which has trended more progressive over the past several election cycles, was mostly symbolic, according to Sanridrge. "We all know this bill isn't gonna pass in this current left-wing environment," he told Colorado Public Radio. "It's to remind everyone, this is the ultimate way to conceive a child."

In a sign of how far we've come on the issue of LGBTQ marriage and parenting rights, most Republican legislators in the state did not endorse the bill.

Though the bill had little chance of passage, LGBTQ advocacy groups in the state are taking the threats seriously nonetheless. Daniel Ramos, director of the LGBTQ group One Colorado, told LGBTQ Nation that the bills were an attempt to return Colorado to its "hate status" of the 1990s, adding the aggressiveness of the measures were "a bit surprising."

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Dads Talk About Surrogacy Process in New Video for Northwest Surrogacy Center

The Northwest Surrogacy Center interviewed some of their gay dad clients for a video to celebrate their 25th anniversary of creating families through surrogacy!

Image: NWSC Clients

Last year, Northwest Surrogacy Center celebrated 25 years of helping parents realize their dreams. And they celebrated in style by inviting the families they've worked with over the past two and a half decades to join them!

At the party, they took the opportunity to film queer dads and dads-to-be, asking them a couple of questions: how did it feel holding your baby for the first time, and tell us about your relationship with your surrogate.

Watch the video below and get ready for the water works!

Keep reading...

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse