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.

Keep reading...
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

Colorado Republicans Try and Fail to Outlaw LGBTQ Marriage and Adoption Rights

A bill introduced by four Republican state legislators in Colorado that would outlaw same-sex marriage and adoption rights was voted down.

The "Colorado Natural Marriage and Adoption Act," which would have outlawed gay marriage and adoption in the state of Colorado, was voted down in the state legislature this week. The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Stephen Humphrey and three of his conservative colleagues: Dave Williams, Shane Sandridge and Mark Baisley.

If enacted, the bill would have enforced "state law that marriage is between one man and one woman" and restrict "adoption of children by spouses in a marriage ... that consist of one man and one woman."

The bill, which had little chance of success, particularly in Colorado which has trended more progressive over the past several election cycles, was mostly symbolic, according to Sanridrge. "We all know this bill isn't gonna pass in this current left-wing environment," he told Colorado Public Radio. "It's to remind everyone, this is the ultimate way to conceive a child."

In a sign of how far we've come on the issue of LGBTQ marriage and parenting rights, most Republican legislators in the state did not endorse the bill.

Though the bill had little chance of passage, LGBTQ advocacy groups in the state are taking the threats seriously nonetheless. Daniel Ramos, director of the LGBTQ group One Colorado, told LGBTQ Nation that the bills were an attempt to return Colorado to its "hate status" of the 1990s, adding the aggressiveness of the measures were "a bit surprising."

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Dads Talk About Surrogacy Process in New Video for Northwest Surrogacy Center

The Northwest Surrogacy Center interviewed some of their gay dad clients for a video to celebrate their 25th anniversary of creating families through surrogacy!

Last year, Northwest Surrogacy Center celebrated 25 years of helping parents realize their dreams. And they celebrated in style by inviting the families they've worked with over the past two and a half decades to join them!

At the party, they took the opportunity to film queer dads and dads-to-be, asking them a couple of questions: how did it feel holding your baby for the first time, and tell us about your relationship with your surrogate.

Watch the video below and get ready for the water works!

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Surrogacy for Gay Men

Campaign to Legalize Surrogacy in New York Heats Up with Competing Bills

Two competing bills — one backed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and another by Senator Liz Krueger with stricter provisions — are aiming to legalize surrogacy in New York.

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York is once again attempting to legalize commercial surrogacy in the state, which is still just one of three states in the country to forbid the practice.

"This antiquated law is repugnant to our values and we must repeal it once and for all and enact the nation's strongest protections for surrogates and parents choosing to take part in the surrogacy process," Governor Cuomo said in a statement in announcing a broader effort called Love Makes a Family. "This year we must pass gestational surrogacy and expedite the second parent adoption process to complete marriage and family equality."

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Change the World

Your Marriage Should Be Gayer, Says the New York Times

In an op-ed for the New York Times, Stephanie Coontz, author of "Marriage: a History," lists the many insights LGBTQ marriages can offer straight ones.

According to a fascinating op-ed in the New York Times this week by Stephanie Coontz, author of "Marriage: a History," turns out the people convinced marriage equality — legal across the United States for five years now — would usher in the complete breakdown of civil society should be more worried about the health of their own marriages.

In the article, Coontz details the results of research that followed 756 "midlife" straight marriages, and 378 gay marriages, and found same-sex couples reporting the lowest levels of physiological distress — with male gay couples reporting the lowest. The reason for this, the author said, is pretty simple — misogyny. The idea that men and women should strive for parity in a relationship is still a fairly new idea, Coontz said, and traditional gender roles are still pervasive. Gay couples, meanwhile, are free from such presumptions, which often results in happier, healthier relationships.

The most interesting findings in the research relate to parenting. While gender norms tend to be even more emphasized among straight people once they have children, with the bulk of the childrearing falling to mothers, same-sex couples — once again freed from the stereotypes of the male/female divide — parent more equitably. As the author notes, "A 2015 survey found that almost half of dual-earner, same-sex couples shared laundry duties, compared with just under a third of different-sex couples. And a whopping 74 percent of same-sex couples shared routine child care, compared with only 38 percent of straight couples."

When it comes to time spent with children, men in straight marriages spent the least amount of time and the lowest proportion of "nonwork" time, with their children — while men in same-sex marriages spent just as much time with their children as women in a straight relationship. "The result?" Coontz writes, "Children living with same-sex parents experienced, on average, three and a half hours of parenting time per day, compared with two and a half for children living with a heterosexual couple."

Straight fathers devote the least amount of time — about 55 minutes a day — on their children, which includes things like physical needs, reading, playing, and homework. Gay mothers spent an additional 18 minutes each and straight mothers an additional 23 minutes. Gay fathers spent the most time with their children, the study found, an average of an additional 28 minutes a day.

Taken together, straight couples spend an average of 2 hours and 14 minutes on their children. Lesbian moms spend an additional 13 minutes, while gay men spend 33 more minutes than straight couples.

One factor, the author notes, that can help explain this difference is this: gay parents rarely end up with an unintended or unwanted child, whereas a full 45% percent of pregnancies in straight relationships in 2011 (the last year data is available) were unintended, and 18% were unwanted.

But right. Gay people shouldn't be parents.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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