Gay Dad Life

"It Feels So Good," Says This Gay Dad After Coming Out of the Closet

Fatherhood as an out gay man is much harder than as a straight man, says Jay Turner. But it feels "so good" to be living life authentically

"It's hard to be gay in the Deep South," said father of four, Jay Turner. "I was excommunicated from my church when I came out, I lost my relationship with my parents and extended family, and I've been discriminated against in some very severe ways."

"But I wouldn't trade being a dad for anything."


Jay with his kids

Jay grew up in an ultra-conservative environment in rural Kentucky, and didn't come out till 2014. He was married to the mother of his children at the time.

Although Jay had experimented with other guys in college, he had never considering himself gay. It wasn't until he fell in love with his best friend in 2012 that he came to terms with his true self. After their relationship ended, Jay decided he couldn't stay in the shadows any longer.

"I can't tell you how good it feels to live openly and honestly about who I am."

But living his true self hasn't come without its struggles.

"Fatherhood as a straight man was easy; fatherhood as an out gay man is much harder," said Jay. "I completely lost the support of my family. I haven't spoken to my parents in over three years, even though they're still involved in the lives of my children."

But despite these hardships, Jay has message for other closeted fathers:

"Drop the mask. Let people see the real you. Be authentic. Be vulnerable."

It was his children who helped him find happiness and thrive as he chose to live his authentic life. When Jay came out, his children were still relatively young and he was able to use simple stories to explain to them that their dad liked boys and not girls.

"My children were largely unfazed," explained Jay. "They ask questions sometimes, but I don't think they really dwell much on the fact that I'm gay."

And from his kids, he learned to love.

"Kids don't see the same divisions that adults see. I've learned to love people in much deeper ways because of the example set by my kids."

Jay also learned to seize every moment and to always allow time for play.

"From singing at the top of your lungs in the car, to playing a game while waiting for dinner to arrive at the table, there's always room to play."

Jay and his ex-wife have maintained a very good co-parenting relationship for their kids. They coordinate closely for the children's schedules as they're always on the go with their sporting activities. Jay also has the kids almost every weekend. How does Jay find time for himself? Many of the members of his gay dad support group in Birmingham asked him the same thing.

"I'm the kind of person who is constantly on the go," said Jay. "I get up early every morning for a little me time with a run or to hit the gym, put in my hours at the office, and then spend time with friends during the week. Almost every weekend is reserved for my kids."

Jay thrives in his busy life as he loves being a dad!

"It's a simple, easy joy that comes with being a dad. From visiting the library and checking out books, to cooking dinner together - we make everything an adventure. After becoming a dad, I realized that I was not my own. That I had a greater purpose. I was put here to love people unconditionally."

The message is clear: All you need is love, and for your kids to teach you that lesson.

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Gay Dad Life

Encouraged by His Son, Single Dad Richard Started Dating Again — and Just Got Married!

After his 14 year relationship ended, Richard got a gentle push into the dating pool from an unexpected source — his son!

In 2014, Richard Rothman's relationship of 15 years ended, leaving him understandably reluctant to jump back into the world of dating as a single gay dad. But after spending one too many Friday nights at home, he got a gentle nudge from somebody unexpected —his teenaged son, Jonathan.

"Dad," Jonathan said. "Would you just get out of the house and go on a date already?" (You may remember wise-beyond-his-years Jonathan from this post that went viral of a tattoo he got commemorating his adoption day.)

On his son's encouragement, Richard started dipping a tentative toe back into the dating pool. In 2015, he met Kevin thanks to mutual friends that introduced them via social media. It took four months before Richard introduced Kevin to his son, who was a Sophomore in high school at the time.

On New Year's Eve in 2017, Kevin proposed while the couple was vacationing in Palm Springs. The city has an outdoor festival every year, he explained, which the couple attended. The band Plain White T's happened to be performing their hit "Hey There Delilah" as Kevin got down on one knee and proposed. "Now whenever I hear that song it brings back memories of that night," Richard said.

Richard and Kevin married on March 30, 2019 back at the scene of the crime — in Palm Springs, at the Frederick Loewe Estate. Jonathan was Richard's best man, and also walked him down the aisle (awwww.....). Kevin's brother Bobby served as his best man.

"As so many wonderful moments continue to happen for us in Palm Springs, we now own a home there in addition to our primary residence in Bentonville, Arkansas," said Richard.

Check out video from the couple's special day below!


And Jonathan is now an E4 Master-at-Arms in the US Navy.

News

Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals.

In a post on Facebook, Ed Smart, father of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart, came out as gay. He also discussed his strained relationship with his Mormon faith, claiming he felt he didn't feel comfortable living as an openly gay man in a church with a difficult history with respect to its LGBTQ members. He and his wife, Lois, have filed for divorce.

"This is one of the hardest letters I have ever written," he began the letter. "Hard because I am finally acknowledging a part of me that I have struggled with most of my life and never wanted to accept, but I must be true and honest with myself." He went on to acknowledged a new set of challenges facing he and his family as they navigate a divorce and his coming out — in the public eye, no less — but concluded, ultimately, that it's a "huge relief" to be "honest and truthful about my orientation."

He went on to condemn The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. "I didn't want to face the feelings I fought so hard to suppress, and didn't want to reach out and tell those being ostracized that I too am numbered among them. But I cannot do that any longer."

In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Ed Smart further discussed his reasons for coming out now, as a 64-year-old man.

"I mean, I knew that it would probably come out at some point, just because people can't leave things alone. I did anticipate that it would happen at some time, but my intention in writing it was to try to let my friends and family know, you know my extended family ... know where things were. So, you know, I was really concerned about how the rumor mill starts," he told the paper. "I knew that at some point in time, that would come out," he elaborated. "I didn't know when it would come out, and so I would rather have it come out the way that it did versus having some rumors going around, and you know the crazy way things can get twisted."

In 2002, Ed Smart's daughter Elizabeth was abducted at knife point by a married couple from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, Utah. She suffered physical and sexual abuse at the couple's hands, for nine months, until she was finally rescued by police. During the ordeal, papers — including the Salt Lake Tribute — speculated about Ed Smart's sexual orientation based on some fabricated information sold to the paper by tabloids like the National Enquirer. (The Enquirer retracted the story, and the reporters at the Tribute were ultimately fired.)

"I think that in April I started feeling like I needed to prepare something," Smart told the Tribute. "Because during Elizabeth's ordeal, there were things said, and it wasn't what I wanted to say, and I was not going to allow that to happen again."

As to how his family has taken the news, Smart said they've been "very kind" to him. "I think it was very difficult to have this kind of come out of the blue. I don't think any of them knew I was struggling with this, so it was something they were, if you want to call it, blindsided by. I totally get that. They've really been very wonderful."

Congrats to Ed Smart on making the difficult decision to live his truth. Read his full letter here and his interview with the Tribute here.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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