Gay Dad Family Stories

One Dad's Plan to 'Co-Parent Like Crazy' with His Future Husband and Ex-Wife

"I see my daughter being raised in such a loving home," said Nick. "She'll understand equality and love, and I hope I will instill those qualities in her so that she spreads it to others."

When we asked 30-year-old Nick from Fort Worth, Texas, about his path to fatherhood, he told us it was a long story and to get ready. Nick became a dad through a previous straight relationship and only came out a few years ago, but a lot has happened since then.

Growing up, Nick was raised with the belief that he should, one day, become a dad and have a family. He was brought up Catholic, and was taught that his only option to have a family was with a woman.

At first, he didn't question this belief, but he distinctly remembers the first moment when he realized he was attracted to men.

"At around age 14, I remember getting in trouble in class and was sent to sit in the hallway and this guy came walking down the hallway and I thought, 'Oh, he's cute.'" After pondering that thought for a while, Nick began to look at other guys and soon realized that he was attracted to guys. "I never asked my parents, or any religious figures from church, about these thoughts that were rapidly swimming around my head—even when I was supposed to confess my sins in confession at church. I was terrified that the Father of the church would tell my parents and I'd be exiled or forced into being straight."


Instead, he did the only thing he could think of at the time - "bury my thoughts deep down."

Several years later, Nick went on a date with a close female friend. "We hit it off and before we knew it, we were married," he said. "Of course in hindsight, I feel like I rushed it with her because I finally found someone who wanted a marriage and I truly did love her." But Nick couldn't shake the small and nagging voice inside his head telling him that everything he was doing was wrong.

As he continued to ignore his internal struggle, he tried to cover it with living a "normal" life. But, in 2014, he reached a point where he could no longer keep it up. "I could no longer live with the lie that I had been sustaining for what seemed like an eternity. So my solution, or so I thought, was to have a kid. I thought that having a kid would help distract me from thinking I was attracted to men and help get my 'normal' life on track."

In 2015, his wife gave birth to their beautiful daughter. And for a while, she was a wonderful distraction. But it didn't last.

"The first four months of 2017 were perhaps the worst months of my life. Around February, I could no longer sustain the life I was living," Nick shared. "It got to the point where I wouldn't eat, couldn't emote, cared very little about my job, and wasn't the partner my wife deserved. One night, I started talking to this guy from the website Reddit. It was an innocent conversation, but for some reason, I was able to tell him everything. With his help, I had finally found the courage to accept who I am and tell my now ex-wife the truth."

At the end of April 2017, Nick sat his then-wife down after putting their daughter to bed. "At this point in time, she knew there was something weighing me down. After all, she was the person who knew me best. As we were sitting in our bedroom, I tried to say the words 'I'm gay' but kept stammering. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't look her in the eyes. My mouth became abnormally dry. I would start to say 'I'm' but even that wouldn't escape my mouth. As I was stammering, she began to guess everything that could be wrong. She went from gambling problems to losing my job. Finally she asked if I was gay. When she said those words, my eyes met hers and I nodded. l looked into her eyes in that moment and said softly, 'I'm gay.'"

Those two little words changed everything.

"She looked at me and tears began to flow. And even though she had every reason to be mad or angry, she remained calm and just talked."

After Nick came out, he and his now ex-wife went through a rough patch that, in hindsight says Nick, was very much expected. As finances were stretched thin, Nick stayed in the spare bedroom of their shared family home. He also started dating quite quickly after their separation, and has since regretted moving on so quickly. (The relationship was short-lived as the man didn't show much interest in Nick's daughter despite spending time as a family. "This was a wake-up call for me. After ending my relationship with him, I decided that the next time I was not going to sugarcoat what I wanted in a relationship.")

In May of 2019, Nick met Tyler, 29, on the dating app OKCupid and the two immediately hit off and were both upfront and honest about what they wanted from the relationship. "Tyler, is an amazing partner," said Nick. "In the short time we've been together, he has shown time and time again that he will be an amazing father and an amazing husband. He's the person I've been waiting for my whole life. I'm excited to see him be a father to my daughter! And I've already seen how well she takes to him!"

On October 5 this year, while the couple were in New York City for Tyler's work for a few days, Nick surprised Tyler by proposing to him on top of the Rockefeller Center. In Nick's own words, here's his proposal story:

"New York City happens to be Tyler's favorite city," began Nick. "As soon as I found out, I immediately started coordinating with one of his good friends, who happened to work for the same company. After much discussion and hesitation, the plan was made the Friday before the proposal! On the morning of 5th, I was a nervous wreck! I couldn't focus on anything and was taking my time getting ready. I apparently didn't do a good job hiding my stress because he knew something wrong. When he asked, I panicked and immediately blamed it on the outfit I was wearing—he knows I take pride in my outfit so I thought it to be a safe answer! Thankfully the walk to Rockefeller Center was short from our hotel but the wait to get to get Top was agonizing! Once we got to the Top, I hurried to find a spot that was empty from all the other tourists—one thing to note is the the Top of the Rock is a big touristy place, you can see the entire city from up there! Luckily, one spot became available and it happened to be in front of the Empire State Building! After looking at the view in awe, Tyler walked away. I asked him to come back because I wanted to "look" at it a bit longer. He came in close, put his arm around me, and asked me if I wanted to move here one day. I turned to face him and said "yes, but I'd like to this first" and proceeded to get down on one knee. I will never forget the shock of surprise on his face! He thought it was a joke until I pulled out the ring box. I still can't remember what I said to him but I know everything I said was from the heart! Once I asked him "will you marry me?" He said yes but I had to ask him again to confirm because I was still in shock myself! The coolest part of the proposal was we had an audience around us while it was happening! After I stood up, slipped the ring on his finger, and kissed, the roar of cheers and applause was so prominent! It was such a magical moment! Everything about the proposal went off without a hitch!"

When Nick and Tyler returned from their trip, Nick told his daughter about his and Tyler's engagement. Although she didn't quite grasp the concept of marriage, she did light up when told that she'd be seeing more of Tyler. "So she's definitely happy about that!"

No definite plans for the big day as of yet, but if Nick and Tyler decide upon a family and friends wedding, Nick would love to involve his daughter as she could play the role of ring bearer.

Today, Nick and his ex-wife co-parent their four-year-old daughter and they have an understanding and respect for how they want to raise their daughter together. "My daughter is everything to me and I want her to be raised in a household where there is no prejudice and there is an all around mutual respect between everyone." Nick shared that those extra few minutes a day spent with his daughter, reading to her, answering her difficult questions, and most of all, showing her a ton of affection and love, are what makes his world go round.

When asked where Nick sees himself in five to 10 years, he had this to say: "I see my husband, ex-wife, her spouse, and myself all co-parenting like crazy for our daughter. I see my daughter being raised in such a loving home. She'll understand equality and love. And I hope I will instill those qualities in her so that she spreads it to others."


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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.

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Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

Coming Out to My Kids Was the Most Raw and Tender Moment

Cameron Call, a newly out gay dad, wonders how to come out to young kids who can only understand so much.

Cameron Call, who came out in summer 2019, has generously agreed to chronicle his coming out journey for Gays With Kids over the next several months — the highs, lows and everything in between. Read his previous articles here.

I always wanted to be a father. I am so glad that as messy as my journey might have been it got me three beautiful kids. I can't imagine my life without them. No matter how dark some days are as I navigate coming out and getting divorced I can always remind myself that my journey got me my kids. And I am so grateful for that.

When their mom and I decided to get a divorce I still hadn't told our kids that I'm gay. But once it was decided the best decision for us was to end our marriage, I knew it was time to tell them the biggest reason why. And I was terrified. Even though my twin boys are only seven and their sister is five I was scared to death to be so honest with them.

Some could argue that my kids didn't need to know but I feel strongly that they deserved to. They deserve to know their dad fully. And they deserve to know one of the reasons their parents decided to get a divorce.

Without much preparation or planning, we sat down on our couch as a family one Sunday afternoon and their mom let me speak. I trembled as I attempted to formulate words into sentences. How do you come out to young kids who can only understand so much? I stumbled for several minutes as we discussed the previous year. I asked the kids about their thoughts and feelings as they had witnessed countless arguments between me and their mom, heard several doors slam, and seen a lot of tears. They each expressed how scared and sad seeing their mom and I fighting so frequently had made them.

I explained that after a lot of conversation and prayer we decided we weren't going to be married anymore. But that wasn't enough. I could tell they were still confused and I felt uneasy. And then it hit me. I knew what more I had to say.

I looked at my oldest son and said "You know how God made you with handsome bright blue eyes?" Then I looked at his twin brother and asked "And how He made you with a cute face full of freckles?" Then I looked at my daughter and said "And you know how God made you with the most contagious belly laugh that fills the room?"

They all nodded and in their own way replied, "Yeah."

"Well," I said. "God made me to like boys more than girls. And that is part of the reason why your mom and I aren't going to be married anymore."

And I left it at that. They asked a few questions and I attempted to explain to them that their mom deserved to be with a man who loved her in a way I couldn't. And I told them that I wanted to love a man in a way I couldn't love their mom. I said again, "We aren't going to be married anymore." And that's when reality started to sink in a little bit.

My two boys immediately started crying. They both just wanted to be held. I was squeezed so hard as I hugged my son while he cried in my shoulder for several minutes. I couldn't hold back tears either. It was one of the most raw and tender moments I've ever experienced as a dad. It was a new type of pain I had never felt before. But it was also very healing. My daughter was kind of clueless as to what was going on and she didn't understand. As a five-year-old there's only so much she can grasp. She didn't even cry or ask a single question that day. But I knew we were laying the foundation for the growth that was to come as we navigated this new journey. And we've come a long way.

After holding our sons for a few minutes the conversation continued and I knew I had done right when my son said "A happy mom and dad is better than a sad mom and dad." I was blown away at his wisdom and understanding at such a young age.

As hard as coming out to my kids was, I am so glad that wasn't the end of the conversation. We continue on almost a daily or weekly basis to circle back to their thoughts and questions surrounding having a gay dad. And there continues to be highs and lows. But I'm grateful we are talking about it. I'm grateful they aren't afraid to share their feelings, fears, and thoughts.

While I cannot control or protect my kids from everything, I can control what I say and teach them, especially in regards to the gay experience. And I hope that I am up for the challenge.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Dating a Single Gay Dad Is a 'Package Deal'

When you date a man with kids, you get the "whole package," says Kyle Ashworth

I am a package deal.

That is a phrase I have continued to tell myself since entering the dating scene. I say it because it's true. You see, I was previously married to a woman for ten years. From that relationship came four wonderful children who are the lights and loves of our lives. Seven years into our marriage I made some hard decisions. The most monumental of them all was coming out to my wife. Everything about being gay and living a life of authenticity felt like a fantasy to me. I didn't know what to expect, what to believe, or where to begin. I just knew I wasn't straight and living in that closeted space was destroying my life.

People often ask me what the hardest part of the journey out of the closet has been. That is a difficult question to answer. Coming out was hard because you'll never get a chance to go back in the closet—once you are out, you're out. Divorcing my wife was hard, because it meant that everything comfortable and "normal" in our lives would be disrupted. Losing friends and family members to bigotry and ignorance was difficult.

So why do we come out? What compels us to turn our whole world upside down?

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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.

Gay Dad Life

Dads Tell Us Their 'Gayest Moment Ever' as Parents

We may be dads — but we're still gay, damnit! 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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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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Politics

Utah Bill Would Allow Gay Men to Enter Surrogacy Contracts

Rep. Patrice Arent of Utah is sponsoring a bill that will remove a provision that currently prohibits gay men from entering into commercial surrogacy contracts in the state.

Though Utah is not one of the three states that currently prohibit commercial surrogacy contracts, the state's current policy does specifically exclude gay men from doing so. That may soon changed, however, thanks to a bill in the state's legislature that was unanimously voted out of a House Committee that would remove that restriction.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, a Democrat, was created in response to a ruling by the Utah Supreme Court this past August that found the ban on gay men unconstitutional.

Gay men have been excluded from legally entering surrogacy contracts due to a provision in the current law that requires medical evidence "that the intended mother is unable to bear a child or is unable to do so without unreasonable risk to her physical or mental health or to the unborn child," Rep. Arent told the Salt Lake Tribune — a requirement that clearly excludes gay male couples.

The state's original surrogacy law dates back to 2005, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the state, which accounts for the gendered language. Though the state's Supreme Court already ruled the provision unconstitutional, Rep Arent further told the Tribute that, "People do not look to Supreme Court opinions to figure out the law, they look to the code and the code should be constitutional."

Fatherhood, the gay way

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