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.

Brian and his son, Houston, Texas

"Normally my son and I go on a date together and I let him pay and pick the restaurant but since he will be with my ex this year I will decorate his room with hearts with things I love about him on them."

"Last year me and the munchkin spent the day visiting various local parks and eating at his favorite restaurant and dessert shop. Later that day when he was falling asleep, he said he had the best day ever."

Emiliano and his son, Argentina

"Our celebration will be riding on our bikes!"

"The sweetest thing (he always does) is to tell me, "Dad, I love you" while he plays with his tablet. And the second thing is when he brings me his drawings on papers, and I'm in them."

Ben and his two kids, Dublin, Ireland

"The last two years I have taken my kids to a restaurant and then a movie. Just as another way of making them feel special on a special day, and to spend time with them without any distractions. Last year I brought my mother, too."

"Each year my son and daughter would make a card, sometimes two to wish me a Happy Valentines Day."

Nuno and his daughter, San Diego, California

"We plan to celebrate Valentine's Day by welcoming Rita (our Au Pair) that will be arriving that day to join our family. We are making her a welcome basket and poster to help acclimate her into our lives. I will most likely cook a nice dinner for all of us."

Calvin and his son, Durban, South Africa

"We dress to the occasion. Corbin and I make cupcakes together and we give 'Nanny' (his grandmother/my mother) a special gift and homemade card."

"The sweetest thing Corbin has done for me was when he was 2 and a half years old. It was last year's Valentine's Day, and he made me a very special card at school and its something I will always treasure."

Jim and his two daughters, Dallas, Texas

"Since my kids are adults, we usually share a glass of red wine together."

"I still have framed and on the wall of my office homemade Valentines the painted with water colors when they were six years old."

Roberto with his daughter, Fort Lee, New Jersey

"This will be my first Valentine's Day with my daughter. I plan on spending it with her by doing what I do every day: spoiling her (and myself) with plenty of hugs and kisses, and telling her how much she is loved. After all, she is the only girl that has ever stolen my heart."

Jake and his son, Birmingham, Alabama

"Each Valentine's Day, I get Matthew a heart shaped box of Reeses, his favorite. We go out to dinner to a steak house since it's both our favorite meal: steak and potatoes. Next, we go to see a movie in the theaters of his choosing. It's been our tradition for the past three years."

"Honestly, I have a child with a heart of gold so it's hard to narrow down to one item on a particular day. However the best present given by him was the day I received the news of my divorce being finalized, he was just there to console me. I couldn't help but breakdown with tears, he gave me a big hug and told me don't cry dad, everything is OK. He thought I was tearing up from the movie, yet it was very heartwarming. It was signed by the judge the evening of Valentine's Day 2017. Children are very resilient and have a lot of strength, we don't realize at times. Their words and impact are just as powerful as ours are on them. Glad I get to share a day of love with my little buddy."

"Unfortunately, I know it wouldn't be long before he is sharing with his future significant other. Hopefully soon I'll have someone to join me. So for now I'm going to cherish each year while I have it."

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Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

"Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

"This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."

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