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

Dads Tell Us Their 'Gayest Moment Ever' as Parents

We may be dads — but we're still gay, dammit! And these "gayest moments ever," sent to us from our Instagram community, prove it.

Did your child know all the lyrics to Madonna songs by age 3? Do your kids critique all the red carpet lewks from the Tony Awards? Do you often have baby food, diapers, sparkling white wine, gourmet appetizer, and fresh cut flowers in your shopping cart — all in one trip? If you answered 'yes' to any of the above, you just might be... a gay dad.

We asked the dads in our Instagram community to share their gayest moments as a dad, ever, and their responses were just as hilarious as they were relatable.

Here's a great way to start the week...

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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.

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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.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

Gay Dads Forced to Flee Russia Find Refuge in Seattle

After fleeing Moscow last spring, this family of four has started new lives for themselves in Seattle.

For almost ten years, Andrei Yaganov, 45, and his husband Evgeny Erofeev, 32, managed to live a fairly ordinary life in Moscow, Russia. The two men both held down respectable office jobs. And their two sons — Denis and Yuri, now 14 and 12 respectively — went to daycare and school without issue. Despite being headed by a same-sex couple in a country with notoriously aggressive laws and attitudes towards the LGBTQ community, the foursome went about their lives just like any other family.

Adoption by LGBTQ couples, like same-sex marriage, is illegal in Russia. But the couple managed to circumvent the ban by having Andrei adopt as a single parent. Andrei became only the third single man in Moscow, he was told during his placement process, to do so.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

'A Gay Man's Wife': One Couple's Co-Parenting Journey

The podcast 'A Gay Man's Wife,' explores how one woman makes her marriage to a gay man work for her — and their family.

Guest post written by Michael and Tawyne, hosts of A Gay Man's Wife

Michael: Growing up, I always knew I was different. I knew that what my family perceived as normal wasn't who I was. Only when I hit a certain maturity in my teenage years did I understand that I was gay. Still, I didn't know what that meant for me at the time. When I was 16 I met Tawyne (15) and immediately felt something that I didn't quite understand. She was wild like a tornado and captivated me. Throughout the first year of our friendship we fell in love.

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Politics

Supreme Court to Hear Major Case Concerning LGBTQ Foster Care Parents

The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether cities are allowed to exclude tax-funded adoption agencies from foster care systems if they refuse to work with gay couples.

In 2018, city officials in Philadelphia decided to exclude Catholic Social Services, which refuses to work with LGBTQ couples, from participating in its foster-care system. The agency sued, claiming religious discrimination, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit unanimously ruled against the agency, citing the need to comply with nondiscrimination policies.

The case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, follows a 2018 Supreme Court decision regarding a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. In that case, the court narrowly ruled that the baker bad been discriminated against, on religious grounds, by the state's civil rights commission. It did not decide the broader issue: whether an entity can be exempt from local non-discrimination ordinances on the basis of religious freedom.

The court — whose ideological center has shifted to the right since the addition of Justice Brett Kavanaugh in fall 2018 — may choose to do so now. Advocates quickly called on the court to consider the potential impact on the more than 400,000 children currently in the foster care system:

"We already have a severe shortage of foster families willing and able to open their hearts and homes to these children," said Leslie Cooper, deputy director of the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project. "Allowing foster care agencies to exclude qualified families based on religious requirements that have nothing to do with the ability to care for a child such as their sexual orientation or faith would make it even worse. We can't afford to have loving families turned away or deterred by the risk of discrimination."

"It is unconscionable to turn away prospective foster and adoptive families because they are LGBTQ, religious minorities, or for any other reason unrelated to their capacity to love and care for children," said HRC President Alphonso David. "We reject the suggestion that taxpayer-funded child welfare services should be allowed to put discrimination over a child's best interest. This case could also have implications for religious refusals that go far beyond child welfare. The Supreme Court must make it clear that freedom of religion does not include using taxpayer funds to further marginalize vulnerable communities."

The court may choose to override a 1990 decision, Employment Division v. Smith, which created the current standard for carving out religious exemptions. In that case, the court ruled that laws that target a specific faith, or express hostility towards certain beliefs, are unconstitutional — but this standard has long been abhorred by religious conservatives, who think it doesn't offer enough protections for religions. If the court does overrule Smith, it could have far-ranging consequences. " As noted on Slate, "it would allow anyone to demand a carve-out from laws that go against their religion, unless those laws are 'narrowly tailored' to serve a 'compelling government interest.'"

The four members of the court's conservative wing — Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh —have all signaled an openness to reconsider Smith. The ruling's fate, then, likely rests in the hands of the court's new swing vote, Chief Justice Roberts.

For more, read the full article on Slate.

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."

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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