Gay Dad Family Stories

These Dads Chose to Raise Their Kids in Philly for the City's Diversity

These foster dads say Philly is "actively protecting, serving, and supporting their queer families."

Are you a Philadelphia gay dad family? Ivory Tree Portraits is hosting a special Gay Dad Family Day and offering all the attendees a complimentary photoshoot and digital print! Put May 4th in your diary, meet other local gay dads and their kids; make memories and keep them forever in the form of a digital print of your beautiful family. Click here for more details.

We're working in partnership with Ivory Tree Portraits to bring you the stories of some of their gay dad clients. The dads had this to say about their experiences in the studio: "At Ivory Tree photos, Marcy worked until she got the shot that she knew would make us happy and beyond," said Greg Yorgey-Girdy. "Marcy had the kids pose certain ways, but also let them be themselves. It was a wonderful experience. Even though we didn't have the pleasure of meeting Lara in person, she reached out via email to ensure our photo session was a positive and fun experience. We absolutely recommend Ivory Tree to anyone looking for a great photo studio who has a talented photographer, responsive, friendly, and extremely professional."

***

Paul and Greg Yorgey-Girdy have been together for over 12 years and married since March 19, 2014. Paul, a Philly local, was born and raised in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and Greg came to Philadelphia to attend law school. They met in a bar rather serendipitously. "Paul happened to have on a Texas t-shirt, and I'm a big Longhorn fan," said Greg. "So I approached him and asked him did he go to University of Texas, and he said "no" … didn't even know he had a Texas t-shirt on; he said it just matched his shoes."

Paul and Greg are dads to three kids through the foster care system – Bella, Xander and Trevor. They also recently became guardians to eldest son, Raymond, who joined the family in 2018.


(You can watch Greg and Paul's family video here.)

Both dads have chosen to raise their kids in Philly because of its diversity. "We love being advocates for the community to facilitate positive changes and to ensure that life is better for all families," says Greg. The husbands both feel that the city is committed to actively protecting, serving, and supporting their queer families and community. The became dads thanks in part of to Christian Johnson, who is based in Philadelphia. "She has single handedly provided opportunities to create our beautifully diverse family when others dismissed us as two gay guys."

Greg is currently on the Philadelphia Family Pride (PFP) Board and their family has been active with PFP for approximately 6 years. [PFP is an inclusive community for LGBTQ+ prospective parents and families to engage in social events, education and advocacy.] "We strive to create a fun, reflective and supportive environment where our diverse identities are valued and nurtured while working to promote a more just world." Other Philly dads, take note: there's an annual family trip to Wolf Lodge being organized by the PFP right now!

Greg says that he has found being a gay dad in Philly definitely easier that being a gay dad family in Texas or even in other parts of Pennsylvania, but admits that being a gay dad family anywhere can have its challenges. "I feel that folks question our ability as a two-dad family to raise a girl," he said. "I usually respond by saying the same way a single parent raises his / her kid – with love."

Greg and Paul believe visibility is the one the most important things they can do as a family to change prejudice. They're active on their Instagram account and share their story in their own words via their blog.

This family is proud to call Philly home.


Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Family Stories

Meet the First Same-Sex Couple to Receive a Grant Through Best Buy's Adoption Assistance Program

Keegan and Paul Schroepfer are believed to be the first gay couple to receive a grant through Best Buy's adoption assistance program.

Keegan Shoutz and Paul Schroepfer met at college in 2010, when marriage equality wasn't legal in their home state of Minnesota. Back then, kids were a far off distant thought. After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA in 2015, the pair married a year later and began discussing their future as dads. In 2017, the husbands began their adoption journey, and the long wait began.

Keegan, 31, works in public relations for Best Buy's corporate communications team, and Paul, 35, is a lawyer. Their journey to adoption took over two and a half years, and they describe it as "a LOT of waiting." The couple considered surrogacy but decided adoption was the right path for their family. The first part of their journey was focused on a pile of paperwork, in-person classes, and then social outreach.

Their nursery sat empty for a year after all their "homework" was completed.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Family Stories

These Gay Dads Chose to Make the Philly Suburbs Home

Check out this profile of one of Ivory Tree Portraits many gay dad clients!

Are you a Philadelphia gay dad family? Ivory Tree Portraits is hosting a special Gay Dad Family Day and offering all the attendees a complimentary photoshoot and digital print! Put May 4th in your diary, meet other local gay dads and their kids; make memories and keep them forever in the form of a digital print of your beautiful family. Click here for more details.

We're working in partnership with Ivory Tree Portraits to bring you the stories of some of their gay dad clients. The dads had this to say about their experiences in the studio. "Ivory Tree is amazing!" said Matthew Wright-Conti. "It is a total curated experience that made us feel relaxed, comfortable and confident in who we are. They have a ton of experience with children, and it shows. Maddie tends to be a bit shy and she warmed up right away! Highly recommend them for ALL families."

***

Growing up in the 90's and realizing he was gay, Matthew Wright-Conti wasn't sure if fatherhood would be part of his future. "After all, it wasn't until I was in my late 20's that gay marriage was even nationally legalized," said Matthew. When he was 19, Matthew came out to his family.

Matthew remembers being on the beach for a family vacation before he'd met his husband, watching his nephew run and play in the sand; his dad turned to him and started a sentence with, "One day when you have kids of your own…" (Matthew had been out to his family for 7 years by this point.) "He didn't realize how much those words meant to me," explained Matthew. "It was that type of support that really helped me believe becoming a father was possible."

Keep reading...
Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

Only so much growth and learning can occur when we limit ourselves to our fears. If people never did anything they were afraid to do, life would be incredibly boring and far too predictable. At some point we must face the things we fear and just go for it not knowing what will happen next.

After finally coming out to my ex-wife after ten years of marriage (see previous articles for that story), and eventually telling my family I knew there was one more step I needed to make.

I am a business owner. I am a structural chiropractor and am highly specialized in my field. Nearly four years ago I opened my own clinic, Horizon Chiropractic Center, in Phoenix, Arizona. I poured my whole heart, body, and soul into the creation of my practice and its growth. Opening a business fresh out of school is no simple task and I worked hard to build my practice with close relationships and word of mouth referrals. I established myself as an expert and built a strong reputation as a family man, and my ex-wife and kids were the face of my practice.

I loved and do love every person who has ever come into my office and treat them like family. We laugh together during visits, celebrate wins, cry together, often hug, and cheer each other on regarding various things in our life. That's also a large part of who I am: a people person. I enjoy spending quality time with those I am privileged to help. No one comes in my office and only sees me for 2-5 minutes.

Even though there was so much good that I had built into my brand and reputation fear eventually found its way into my business too. I was afraid of what would happen if people found out the truth. Would they be okay with having a gay chiropractor? Would they still trust me to be able to help them? Of course, the story in my head I was telling myself was much bigger and badder than it needed to be.

When we decided to get a divorce, I felt strongly that I needed to face these fears and begin telling a number of patients the truth of what was happening in my life. I know in reality it is no one's business but my own. However, I felt like I needed to let my patients who had become like family to me truly see me for who I am, and who I always was. And so slowly, case by case, I began to tell a select number of people.

I'll never forget the first patient I told. She had been coming in for years and was bringing her son in to see me who is on the autism spectrum. It was the day after my ex-wife and I decided to get a divorce and she could tell something heavy was on my mind. I eventually came out to her. The first words out of her mouth were "I am so proud of you!" We cried and hugged and it was the complete opposite of what I ever expected. And it was perfect. I felt loved. I felt accepted. I felt seen.

As time went on it got easier. And overall the responses were all completely positive and supportive. Out of all the patients I told and those who found out from other circles, only three stopped coming in to see me. Since coming out, my office has grown tremendously. My reputation hasn't changed. If anything, it's solidified. I can't help but think that part of that is due to finally embracing all of me and allowing others the same opportunity.

I read somewhere once that you never really stop coming out of the closet. And I've noticed that too. Sure, not everyone needs to know; it isn't everyone's business. And I hope that one day we live in a time period where fear doesn't prevent anyone from being seen. I want to contribute to the upward trajectory I think our society is headed of understanding, acceptance, support, and equality.

I would love to be able to say that after coming out publicly I no longer feel fear; but I do. And I think in some ways I always will no matter what. But that's part of life, right? Recognizing fear when we have it but then choosing to move forward out of love – love for others, but maybe more importantly love for ourselves.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

Keep reading...
Surrogacy for Gay Men

Interested in Surrogacy? Check Out These Bay Area Events This Weekend

If you're in the Bay Area this weekend, two major events are happening that will be of interest for dads-to-be and surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF)

If you're in San Francisco or the surrounding area, clear your calendar this weekend. Two events are happening simultaneously that are significant for dads-to-be AND surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF). For an outlines of both events, check out below.

Keep reading...
News

Gay Dads Show Up at Boston Event to Drown Out Anti-Trans Protesters

When Trystan Reese found out protesters were planning to show up to an event in Boston he was presenting at, he put out a call to his community for help — and gay dads showed up.

A couple months ago, Trystan Reese, a gay, trans dad based in Portland, Oregon, took to Instagram to share a moving, if incredibly concerning, experience. Reese, who works with Family Equality Council, was speaking at an event in Boston, and learned before his appearance that a group of protesters were planning to attend.

"As a trans person, I was terrified to be targeted by anti-LGBTQ people and experienced genuine fear for my own safety," Trystan wrote. In response, he did what many LGBTQ people would do in a similar situation — reach out to his community in Boston, and ask for their support. "And they came," he wrote. But it wasn't just anyone within the LGBTQ community that came to his defense, he emphasized — "you know who came? Gay men. Gay dads, to be exact. They came, ready to block people from coming in, ready to call building security, ready to protect me so I could lead my event. They did it without question and without reward. They did it because it was the right thing to do."

Keep reading...

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse