Gay Dad Life

Athlete Simon Dunn Asks: As a Gay Man Is Fatherhood in My Future?

Athlete Simon Dunn has always wanted children. But as a gay man, he wonders if his dream will ever become reality.

I've always wanted children. But as a gay man, I long ago realized fatherhood might not ever happen for me.

Let me explain: I've wanted kids since I was no older than 5. One of my first memories is of telling my mother about my future wife and all of the children I planned to have with her. I would have at least 10 children, I told her, of all races, ages, and ethnicities. I wanted a Brad-and-Angelina-type family before Brangelina was ever even a thing.


Future athlete Simon Dunn at age 5

Of course, not having a full understanding of the “birds and bees" at that age, I didn't realize that to have my own biological children of all races, I would have to be a pretty promiscuous husband. Not sure how my make-believe wife would have felt about that.

Fortunately, I never had to find out; among the other things that 5-year-old me didn't know at the time was that I would grow up to be gay.

When I came out to my mum at 17, she still had a 5-year-old version of me in her mind. How could her son, who had always dreamed of having a wife and children, be gay? If she'd really been paying attention she might have noticed that I started dropping the “wife" part out of my fantasy a long time ago.

My mother made it quite clear (in not the most amicable terms) that my sexuality would make it impossible for me to become the family man I'd always dreamed of being. For better or worse, her message stuck. As gay men, many of us learn this lesson all too young: Families are not in our future. Eventually, many of us find peace with the idea and move on.

In my early 20s, I put the idea of becoming a dad out of my mind, and instead began immersing myself in the gay community. It was rare to even hear mention of the word “children." My friends from childhood, meanwhile, began to get married and have kids of their own. Before I knew it, it seemed everyone I'd grown up with had settled down and started a family.

Yet here I was a single gay man, spending more time in bars and clubs than is socially acceptable. I realized I was jealous of my childhood friends. Because of my sexuality, I thought, I would never get the same opportunities.

It wasn't until my late 20s when my friendship circle began to mature that I started noticing gay couples with children. I was 24 when I began playing for the Sydney Convicts in 2012, which is an inclusive rugby team. During games, I started seeing dads and their small children on the sidelines. I began noticing gay families enjoying the weekend together in Sydney's suburbs. These moments gave me hope — perhaps the idea of a gay man having children wasn't so crazy after all.

At the same time, we began seeing amazing progress in the LGBT community. Though Australia, my home country, has unfortunately yet to legalize same-sex marriage, many Western countries have done so. This global progress has brought validity to our relationships and families. We definitely have a long way to go when it comes to the ability for gay men to have children. But I've been humbled watching our community grow and strengthen in the short time since I've begun living my life as an out gay man.

Today, my childhood dream of becoming a father seems like much less of a fantasy than it once did. Of course it's possible for gay men to become dads; once you scratch the surface, there's a multitude of options available. It's simply a matter of deciding which path to parenthood is right for you.

But once instilled, the idea that gay men can't be fathers doesn't just go away; I long ago accepted the fact that I might never have children. Despite all the recent progress, it's something I've already come to terms with. I'll have opportunities to do other things with my life. Maybe I'll travel the world or buy a Ferrari or Harley Davidson during a midlife crisis. I'm already an uncle. Maybe that'll be enough.

Then again, you never know what life will bring.

So if you happen to pass a 50-year-old me playing rugby with some little ones in the park, you'll know my childhood goal was achieved. But should you see me childless and sailing around the French Riviera? Don't feel bad for me.

I've already made peace with either outcome.

>> Read Gays With Kid's post on how Simon Dunn started Gay Uncles Day.

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Foster/Foster-Adopt

This Gay Couple Was Inspired to Become Foster Dads Thanks to the Show "The Fosters"

Matthew and Brian say they used to feel like "unicorns" as gay foster dads. They're happy to see more LGBTQ couples take the plunge into the foster system.

Matthew Hamparian and his husband Brian Lawrence have been together for over 18 years and live in Columbus, Ohio. "We had talked about children for a long time," shared Matthew. They were inspired by the show "The Fosters," and watched it regularly as one of the staffers of the show was a friend of Brian's. In one of the episodes, Matthew remembers a conversation between a foster child and the biological child of his foster parents. The foster child asks if he was okay with the fact that he had to share his home with foster siblings. He responds that he is okay with it, because he and his family have enough of everything.

"It was very meaningful to us as we were both raised that when you got up the ladder, you threw the ladder back," explained Matthew.

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Gay Dad Life

Gay Single Dads Defend Andy Cohen's Right to Be on Grindr

After the Internet rushed to judge Andy Cohen for signing onto Grindr a couple of weeks after welcoming his newborn son home, fellow single gay dads rushed to his defense.

Last week, we wrote a post about reports that "What What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen had been "spotted" on gay dating app Grindr several weeks after welcoming a newborn into his home. This has some of his followers on social media all worked up"

"Get off Grindr and start being a dad," said one follower who appeared to think single parents must take a vow of celibacy the minute they start changing diapers. "You're sad, that kid has no chance," said another.

Well, suffice it to say that this judgment from people who are presumably not single gay dads of Andy Cohen certainly struck a nerve with our gay dad audience! We received well over 100 comments on this post on Facebook, the vast majority of them coming to Cohen's defense. We caught up with two fellow single gay dads to find out why the story struck a nerve.

"We don't have to live like monks!"

One of the most liked comments on our piece came from Owen Lonzar, who wrote the following:

"I have always been a good single father to my biological son who came to live with me when he was 7 years old. He is now 25 years old and we are very close. I used Grindr and dated while he lived with me. I never had anyone sleep over and he certainly never saw some man he didn't know hanging around my home. Single parents have to date responsibly and with sensitivity to their child but that doesn't mean they have to live like monks!"

We asked Cohen to elaborate a bit more on why the backlash against Cohen bothered him. He had the sense, he said, that much of the criticism against LGBTQ parents comes from gay men without children. "Gay men without kids have a lot to say," he said. "And all of it is ignorant, because they have no idea what it means to actually be a father." He said he was particularly disappointed in gay critics, given our shared history of discrimination. "You would think with all the prejudice we have faced that gay men would be less judgmental themselves," he said.

"Are we supposed to be celibate?"

Another commenter, Josue Sebastian Dones-Figueroa, who is a divorced father of five, questioned what Cohen's critics would prefer him do. "So what, parents are supposed to become celibate because they have kids?" he asked.

We followed up with Josue to ask him to elaborate a bit more: "The idea that just because he is a dad that he would need to stop being a man," he said, questioning why Cohen should have to put his life hold and stop dating, or having sex, just because he's now a father. "If the child is cared for loved and not neglected what is the problem? Life goes on right?"


Gay Dad Life

Internet Conflicted About Advice Given to Closeted Gay Dad in the Guardian

Ok fellow gay dads: if you were the advice columnist at the Guardian, what would you have said?

Recently, in a post titled "I met my girlfriend's parents – and realized I once slept with her father," a man wrote into the advice column at the Guardian with the following predicament:

"Five years ago, I went through a bi phase and used to sleep around with pretty much everyone that came along, including other men. This changed when I fell in love with my new partner, who is everything to me. I recently met her parents and halfway through lunch realised that I had slept with her father. I was going to propose, but when my partner and her mother were away, he told me to end it with his daughter. I'm obviously in love – shall I just ignore him, or tell my partner?"

Pamela Stephenson, the Guardian's columnist, responded as follows:

"I am not sure you could ever have a comfortable future with your new partner. To tell the truth would be to court disaster: a probable break-up, plus the risk of a permanent rift between father and daughter and father and wife. Hiding the truth would lead to toxic secret-keeping that could be equally destructive in the long run. If this whole family was as open-minded and sexually open as you, it might be possible for you to become part of it. However, the father – your former lover – has made it clear that you will not be welcome. Walk away now, and avoid the massive pain that would otherwise be inflicted on your partner, her family and yourself."

Not all commenters agreed with Stephenson's advice.

"Assuming your girlfriend knows that you were bi until falling in love with her and that you slept with everybody in your path [which she deserved to know up front anyway] then you can give HER the option what to do with this bond, rather than leaving the choice to her dad," said one commenter.

Another said, "Walking away without explaining why would be callous and also allow the father to escape the possible consequences of his actions."

It's worth noting that none of these commenters, nor the columnist, are or will ever be gay dads, whose perspective on this bizarre situation may be uniquely valuable. Many gay dads have become fathers while still in the closet. And even those who became dads after coming out can still sympathize with the detrimental impacts of the closet on our lives and those of our families.

So what say you, gay dads, about this man's predicament?

Terrell and Jarius need your help. Earlier this week they were made aware of an act of discrimination against a male transgender student at Johnson High School in Gainesville, Georgia

"Dex Frier was elected by the student body to run for prom king but is now facing backlash from the school's administration," shared the dads via their Instagram. "The school's Superintendent is forcing Dex to either run as prom queen or not run at all. This is very unjust and does NOT reflect the opinion of the parents nor the students."

Watch their video below:

Dex, 17, who came out identifying as male in his sophomore year, spoke with Gainsville Times about being nominated by the student body. "Frier said he kept his emotions in check while at school, but 'the moment I got home, I immediately started crying. I've never been shown so much support before,' Frier added."

He was later informed by school officials that his name had been withdrawn and he could only run in the prom queen ballot.

Sadly, there have been rival petitions started in support of Dex's nomination being withdrawn, and he's received backlash from those who believe he shouldn't be able to run.

Although Terrell and Jarius do not know Dex personally, they were made aware of what was happening through Jarius co-worker who is a parent at the school. "He's such a brave kid and is standing firm in his beliefs, and we should support him," said Jarius.

These dads are asking all of us to take a minute and sign this petition and share with friends and family, or anyone you think could help.

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Learn How These Dads Used Social Media to Find Their Surrogate

In the latest "Broadway Husbands" vlog, Bret and Stephen discuss the rather unconventional way in which they found their surrogate: through a Facebook group.

In this, the Broadway Husbands' sixth video, Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna discuss the rather unprecedented process they went through to find their surrogate. The lucky couple also chat about winning an "Intended Parents" competition, which granted them the free services of a surrogacy agency who is now helping guide them (and their new surrogate!) on their journey.

In the first video below, get caught up to speed with the dads-to-be. Plus: there's bonus footage! Ever wondered about the financial side of their journey? In the second video, Bret and Stephen talk candidly about how they're managing to afford their dream of fatherhood.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

This Women's History Month, Gay Men Honor the Gals Who Help Make Them Dads

Each and every man becomes a dad with the help of a woman. We asked gay dads to honor one who helped them along in their path to parenthood to help us celebrate women's history month.

Each and every one of us became (or will become) a dad with the help of a woman--more often than not, with the help of multiple women. So this Women's History Month, we choose to celebrate these women by asking you to tell us a bit about them. Enjoy these inspiring stories below. Want to honor a woman in your life who has helped you become a dad? Tell us about her at dads@gayswithkids.com

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Gay Dad Life

These Gay Dads Know How to Make Holidays Extra Super Special

Adam and Josh got engaged on Good Morning America on Valentines Day, and welcomed their Christmas miracle baby into their lives on December 26th

Picture this: Valentine's Day 2015, Adam and Josh Klocke were among 24 other couples ice skating in Bryant Park as part of a Good Morning America segment. Lara Spencer was hosting while Christina Perri sang "A Thousand Years" on top of a piano. Midway through, she stopped and Lara reported technical difficulties. This was the cue that the knowing members of each couple had been waiting for. They each dropped to one knee and asked for their partner's hand in marriage. Adam recalls, "It was such an amazing experience that we will never forget." 18 months later, they were married.

While their engagement was a life-changing experience, another for the husbands was welcoming their Christmas miracle, Baby K, via adoption on December 26, 2018. She was just two days old. Here's their story.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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