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 ()
Gay Dad Life

8 Ways for Dads to Find Work/Life Balance

Finding work/life balance is hard enough... but can be even harder for gay dads.

Having kids is an amazing part of life, and it should be fun. Life does tend to get in the way sometimes, and one huge aspect of that is work. Striking that balance between work and home life is tough. If you both work it's even harder.

And if you're a gay couple, it can have it's own set of problems above and beyond the standard work-life issues that people face. Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study that focused specifically on the experiences of same-sex couples who wanted to make moves towards a work/life balance.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

'NolaPapa' Launches YouTube Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

Check out Erik Alexander's new YouTune Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

When we first found out that our second daughter was African American I froze. Not because of her race, but because I knew NOTHING about African American hair. So I frantically tried to learn as much as I could while she was a newborn so I was ready to style it when she was a little older.

I decided to launch our YouTube channel Nolapapa: Story of a Gay Dad to focus on this very topic! Episodes 1-5 will solely be dedicated to learning how to wash, care for and styling African American hair. Afterwards, the content will shift towards personal & family situations, adoption, gay parenting questions and other great content! I'd love your support and become part of our little village as we launch this new project!

Sending Nola love to each of ya!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Encouraged by His Son, Single Dad Richard Started Dating Again — and Just Got Married!

After his 14 year relationship ended, Richard got a gentle push into the dating pool from an unexpected source — his son!

In 2014, Richard Rothman's relationship of 15 years ended, leaving him understandably reluctant to jump back into the world of dating as a single gay dad. But after spending one too many Friday nights at home, he got a gentle nudge from somebody unexpected —his teenaged son, Jonathan.

"Dad," Jonathan said. "Would you just get out of the house and go on a date already?" (You may remember wise-beyond-his-years Jonathan from this post that went viral of a tattoo he got commemorating his adoption day.)

On his son's encouragement, Richard started dipping a tentative toe back into the dating pool. In 2015, he met Kevin thanks to mutual friends that introduced them via social media. It took four months before Richard introduced Kevin to his son, who was a Sophomore in high school at the time.

On New Year's Eve in 2017, Kevin proposed while the couple was vacationing in Palm Springs. The city has an outdoor festival every year, he explained, which the couple attended. The band Plain White T's happened to be performing their hit "Hey There Delilah" as Kevin got down on one knee and proposed. "Now whenever I hear that song it brings back memories of that night," Richard said.

Richard and Kevin married on March 30, 2019 back at the scene of the crime — in Palm Springs, at the Frederick Loewe Estate. Jonathan was Richard's best man, and also walked him down the aisle (awwww.....). Kevin's brother Bobby served as his best man.

"As so many wonderful moments continue to happen for us in Palm Springs, we now own a home there in addition to our primary residence in Bentonville, Arkansas," said Richard.

Check out video from the couple's special day below!

And Jonathan is now an E4 Master-at-Arms in the US Navy.

Today is National Coming Out Day, and as we celebrate, we're sharing six coming out stories from dads in our community. Their personal stories are heartwarming, relatable, and empowering. Happy Coming Out Day, and remember, live your truth!

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

Growing a Thicker Skin

Experiencing hateful and hurtful comments, Erik Alexander had to learn an important lesson: how to ignore the trolls.

Photo credit: BSA Photography

Twenty years ago when I came out, it was unbearably hard. As I have written before, I am from the Deep South. Anyone who dared to deviate from social norms was sure to be ostracized. It's not that these people were born hateful or mean; rather, it probably had more to do with them not being subjected to other lifestyles. Anything different from their own experiences sparked fear and confusion. Homosexuality, interracial relationships, religious differences – these were all unfamiliar territories to the average person I grew up around. Thus, growing up was particularly difficult.

I remember lying in bed at night when I was a little boy. I would pray and beg God to not let me be gay. Every single night I would end my prayers with "... and God, please don't let me have nightmares and please don't let me be gay." I remember crying myself to sleep many nights. I was embarrassed and ashamed. And I wanted God to cure me.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

10 Inspiring Coming Out Stories From Gay Dads

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our recent stories about gay men with kids coming out to live their most authentic lives.

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our best articles of gay dads coming out to live their authentic lives.

#1. Former NFL Player Jeff Rohrer, and Father of Two, Comes Out as Gay and Marries Longterm Partner

Jeff Rohrer, a father of two teenage boys via a previous relationship with a woman, is the first NFL player to marry another man. Read the article here.

#2. Coming Out to His Wife Was Painful, Says This Salt Lake-Based Dad of Four. But it Started Him on a Path of Authenticity

After Kyle came out to his wife, with whom he has four children, "she listened, she mourned and she loved," he said. Read the article here.

#3. Gay Dads Share Their Coming Out Stories for National Coming Out Day

We asked several gay dads to share their coming out stories in honor of National Coming Out Day, whose stories are heartwarming, instructive, and everything in between. Read the article here.

#4. Gay Muslim Single Dad Writes Op Ed on His Path to Self Acceptance

Maivon Wahid writes about the challenges of reconciling three separate, but equally important, identities in an opinion piece for Gay Star News. Read the article here.

#5. One Gay Dad's Path Towards Realizing Being Gay and Christian are Not Mutually Exclusive

Gay dads Matt and David Clark-Sally talk about coming out, parenting as gay men, and reconciling faith and sexuality. Read the article here.

#6. Republican Utah Lawmaker, and Dad of Two, Comes Out as Gay in Moving Video

Nathan Ivie has many important identities he's proud of: Mormon, Republican, Utahn, father of two... and gay. Read the article here.

#7. How Coming Out Helped This Gay Man Find the Strength to Be a Dad

Steven Kerr shares the moment he came out to his ex-girlfriend. "From that moment on," he writes, "my strength and purpose have grown." Read the article here.

#8. Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. Read the article here.

#9. The Best Part of Coming Out, Says This Gay Dad, Is Being an Out and Proud Role Model for His Daughter

"I couldn't face myself in the mirror and think that I could be a good dad and role model for my child when I was lying to myself every moment of every day," said Nate Wormington of his decision to come out. Read the article here.

#10. These Gay Dads Via Previous Marriages Have Adopted a Motto Since Coming Out and Finding Each Other: "United We Stand"

Vincent and Richard both had children in previous marriages with women; together, with their ex-wives, they are helping raise seven beautiful kids. Read the article here.

Gay Dad Family Stories

These Adoptive Dads Gained an Extended Family Through Foster Care

Adoptive dads Edward and Andrew have maintained a close relationship with their twins' biological family.

Celebrating gay, bi and trans fatherhood is what we do on Gays With Kids. We rejoice in whatever paths our community took to become parents. But many of those journeys come with heartbreak, sometimes for the intended parents, and sometimes for the biological family from whom the adoption or foster placement occurs. With an open adoption, the adoptive and biological families come to an arrangement which best benefits the child, and that's when something truly beautiful can occur. This isn't always possible in every scenario, but when it does, we're exceedingly thankful. Can a child ever have too many family members loving them? Not likely. This was husbands of five years Edward and Andrew Senn's experience.

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