Gay Dad Life

Revisiting The Real Dads of Melbourne


Last year, we met a family jetting towards celebrity status with their charming and wildly popular Instagram: The Duggan-Tierneys a.k.a. @The_Real_Dads_of_Melbourne. We shared their story in September 2015, and since then their followers have grown more than 400% to a whopping thirty-two thousand! We recently caught up with the Australian family to see what they've been up to since we last spoke.  

Gays With Kids: Great to connect with you again! What's new with your family and what’s going on with your Instagram during the past year?

Michael and Jarrad: We have been busy! We are both working full time now, we’re house hunting and juggling everyday life around Reid’s first year of primary school and his busy social calendar. Since we last spoke, Reid’s grandfather and our adorable firstborn Albert (a dachshund) have passed away. Reid has had to experience the passing of loved ones way too soon; however, like everything, we approached it very honestly, with love being the core message.

Gays With Kids: We’re so sorry for your losses! We saw on your recent Facebook post that getting your pet Albert was the first step in your journey to becoming dads. Can you elaborate?

Michael and Jarrad: We had each hoped to become fathers since before we met each other 15 years ago, but never in our wildest dreams did we really believe we would actually be parents. Thirteen years ago Albert came into our lives to share our love. We thought at the time that a fur baby would be our only chance [at fatherhood]. Albert had been a constant in our lives, sharing the ups and downs, the sad times and the happiest – the birth of Reid. We all miss Albert dearly; he was very special and everyone that met him loved him.

Albert and Reid

Gays With Kids: You mentioned that Reid was beginning to understand why your family dynamic was unique. In what ways have you seen that understanding grow over time?

Michael and Jarrad: We have always been conscious to introduce Reid to a large diverse group of people, with the intention for him to understand that every family is different.

Starting in pre-primary (kindergarten) this year and being surrounded with inquisitive 5- and 6-year-olds has prompted new questions when we are doing parent help at school. We are always honest with Reid, but aware he is only 6 and the entire complicated medical procedure involved in his conception isn’t something to talk about in detail yet.

We also find it challenging when Reid’s classmates ask us (detailed) questions about how he was born. Kids seem to know a lot these days! We answer with "All families are different: Some have one parent, some have two, some have no parents. Reid has two dads.” Their questions are very innocent and come from a good place; however, it’s our role to be open and honest about Reid’s surrogacy. It’s not our place, nor is it respectful to other parents, to talk about and explain such things with their children.

Gays With Kids: Have you encountered any negative pressures or reactions?

Michael and Jarrad: We are happy to say we haven’t experienced much negativity, thankfully; it’s been quite the opposite. We receive many emails, messages and even people approaching us on the street to support us for being so public with our lives. We still have a belief that other people’s opinions are none of our business. We know who we are, we are very active in our local area, and we are honest in the way we conduct ourselves on social media.

Gays With Kids: We were so impressed with Reid's stylish fashion sense! Has he received offers for his own bowties yet?

Michael and Jarrad: LOL! Reid still loves fashion, although he isn’t as enthusiastic in wearing [bowties] every day as he gets older. He still has a drawer full of them that he shares with his friends. Having said that, he’s a typical 6-year-old who goes through many obsessions. At the moment, as summer in Australia is approaching (but we’re not yet convinced), it’s sunglasses; next week it’s likely to be something else.

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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.

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Sending Nola love to each of ya!

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

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"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.

Gay Uncles

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It takes a village to raise a child, and this village includes many gay uncles

In November last year, Ottawa-based husbands Matt Ottaviani and Rej Gareau (whose story we shared in July) became first-time dads through surrogacy. They were overjoyed to welcome their daughter Andy and become a family of three.

But as many of us know, raising a child isn't always just about the nuclear family. The African proverb "it takes a village to raise a child" is a commonly repeated phrase, and rings very true for many families. Matt and Rej are no different, and when they shared their story last month, one thing jumped out to us: the important role Andy's guncles play in her and her dads' lives.

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Dig through your phones — what was the last pic taken of you BEFORE you became a dad?

We all have THAT photo: the one taken moments after we become fathers for the first time. For some of us, we're doing "skin to skin" in a delivery room. For others, we're standing proudly alongside our newly adopted child and judge in a courtroom. However or wherever it happens, though, we make sure to snap a picture of it.

But what about that last photo BEFORE you first became a dad? What does that image look like, we wondered? Well, we asked our Instagram community to dig through through phones and find out. Some of us are enjoying a last carefree meal or glass of wine, others of us are captured nervously contemplating our futures. Whatever it is, we've decided these BEFORE pictures are just as meaningful.

Enjoy some of our favorites! Want to play along? Dig through your phones and send us your pics to dads@gayswithkids.com!

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The pairing, for any gay man who has been subjected to impossible beauty standards (not unlike... literally all women?) makes a bit too much sense after watching the new Sundance film, "Brittany Runs a Marathon," starring SNL writer Jillian Bell (as the 27-year-old) and Micah Stock as the (somewhat *ahem* older) gay dad.

Based on a true story, the film follows Brittany, an overweight and over-boozed 20-something, trying to clean up her act by training for the New York City marathon — while doing so, she meets Seth (the gay dad), and the two begin to train together, along with Brittany's neighbor Catherine. Each has their own motivation for running: getting one's live together, recovering from a messy divorce, or an attempt to impress one's athletic son. (Which is the gay dad? Guess you'll have to watch to find out!)

We won't give too much more away, apart from saying that the trio — based off of actual people and events — really works. It's the feel good film you're waiting to see.

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Your 15 Most Common Questions About Adoption, Answered by an Expert

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Popular

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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