Gay Dad Life

“Out & About Dad”

Jim Joseph has built a hugely successful career in the world of marketing. He has launched exciting new products, promoted powerful businesses, and even authored a well-regarded book about the value of branding.

But his latest tome tells the story of the most important, and challenging, campaign in his long career: The one to build himself a happier life.

“Eventually, you can get to a point where you know you have to do something — because you're so unhappy that things just can't feel any worse," says Joseph. “I once got to that point. I knew I had to do something to change my life."

Joseph traces this journey in “Out & About Dad," his new book out June 2. He is a gay father of two children born during marriage to his (now) ex-wife, and in his memoir Joseph recounts with humor, heart, and bracing honesty his experiences with coming out and juggling single parenthood with a fast-moving career. From the sadness and frustration that precipitated his divorce to navigating the challenges of the corporate closet, Joseph's experiences will seem familiar to many. And he says that's precisely why he decided to write “Out & About Dad": to offer inspiration, practical advice, and a sense of empathy and understanding to the countless potential readers who have also reached the end of a proverbial rope, and discovered that they need to rebrand their life.

Cover of Jim Joseph's “Out & About Dad"

“Today, images of gay dads are pervasive. There's an entire community on social media, hash-tagging together," says Joseph, who observes a very different climate than that which he encountered while starting life as a single gay dad in the mid 90s. “Back in the day, it wasn't so accepted. Even if I had never used any of these resources, just seeing them would have been a validation that helped tremendously."

The then-dearth of representations of gay fatherhood contributed, in part, to Joseph's late reckoning with his sexuality. He harbored the desire to be a dad for as long as he can remember, but at the time those values didn't immediately jive with anything other than the assumption of a traditional heterosexual marriage. “I've thought about why I didn't figure things out sooner," says Joseph. “I really wanted children, and I think that was a motivating factor that really overwhelmed everything else in life."

Besides, “it seems crazy by today's standards, but I really had no exposure to gay people. I had nothing to look at and say, 'I think I'm more like that.'"

Joseph recounts how that changed as his increasingly unhappy marriage dissolved: A pair of friends, perhaps purposefully helping him test the water, invited him to hang at a gay bar. Joseph soon realized that it wasn't a new wife he wanted, but a new approach to the romantic side of life. The epiphany posed a challenge – but it was also something of a relief. “In an odd way, it was almost like an easy way out of the marriage," says Joseph. “There wasn't something for us to fix or solve. No one failed. It was that we had to move on in a different way."

In fact, some of the greatest challenges came after coming out. Like all single dads, he found himself forced to carry the daunting double-load of career and parenthood, and without support from those in similar circumstances: He was the only guy in the office who had to rush out of work for a PTA meeting. (And then he was the only gay dad when he to there.) And owing to the climate of the time, there was a lot of anxiety about what his corporate colleagues could — and couldn't — know about his family.

“I would be in meetings with a client who was talking about pulling their advertising out of the 'Ellen' show, because her coming-out was so controversial," recalls Joseph. “Talk about a sticky situation. Part of me thinks they know I'm gay; I've never said I'm not. Yet they're saying this in front of me, so I better keep my mouth shut or they won't hire me."

Meanwhile, as a primary caregiver for his son and daughter, Joseph had to contend from discrimination within the gay community itself. Dating was hard as a single dad with children from a marriage to a woman. Guys would grill him: How did he not know he was gay? He had been fooling himself, they would say; he was a coward, they would mock; he must have cheated on his wife, they would claim. (He never did.) “I got a lot of grief from guys for having kids," says Joseph. “It was a source of agita for me, figuring out when to tell them I was a dad — when to drop the bomb."

“I remember when I told one date, he excused himself from the table. He left."

Luckily, the right one stayed. Today Joseph has been with his partner for 16 years, and the tales he shares in “Out & About Dad" — from attending his first Gay Pride to sending his eldest off to college – paint the portrait of a happy modern family that may not look like the one the author originally envisioned for himself. But it is proof that it is never too late to embrace a path that truly makes you happy.

“I hope that it will help people in the middle of their own experience," says Joseph of his book. “Everyone has a different story. But reading about someone who it made it through, during a time when it was a lot harder — if that can motivate even one person, it will be worthwhile.

Show Comments ()
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
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."

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
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
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