#SingleGayDadSunday: Trevor and his Daughter Jazz’Nique
In a relationship with a woman, Trevor, 28, became a dad. Then he came out, and he’s a much happier man for it. Gays With Kids spoke with Trevor and found out how's life for him and his daughter.
What is your daughter's first name and when is her birthday?
Jazz'Nique; her birthday: September, 2007
How did you become a dad?
I was in a three-year relationship with my daughter’s mom. It wasn't working out so I chose to follow what was in my heart and started dating guys. Life has been great so far. My daughter is very accepting.
Please tell us a little more about that – how old was she when you told her and how did you tell her?
Jazz was about 4 when I had my first real conversation with her about me being gay. I didn't really have to say anything because me being gay is all she's ever known but for her there just wasn't a word for it. Acceptance from her was very natural because I'm her father and because she's a child. I was in a relationship with a guy from the time she was 3 to about 6 and she pretty much saw him everyday, so I didn't come out to my child, it was more of just explaining to her about same gender attraction and that love is love. My daughter is exposed to a lot of different type of people, trans, gays, lesbians, drag queens and so on and so forth. If she has questions, I am always open to explaining to the situation and it's mainly because I would rather her hear it from me then from people who aren't as accepting as people I allow her to be around. I think children of gay people have the power to change the world because they see all walks of life early in life.
What challenges do you face as a single gay dad?
There are lots of challenges as a single gay parent and also as a man raising a young lady. We fight over hair, clothing and nail polish, and she wins every single time! She rolls out of bed and the first thing she says is "What dress should I wear today, dad?" A lot of the personal things that happen within our life I usually don't view as a challenge, just a learning experience. Dating can be challenge because you’re not really sure when you should introduce the person you’re seeing to your child. A lot of times as single parents we get into relationships and get our children involved and then it doesn’t work out. The child gets attached and then it becomes unfair to them because it's just another person snatched out of their life. Sometimes I struggle because I work a lot and I'm usually just tired. I also struggle with health issues. I've been HIV-positive since November 2011. Being openly HIV-Poz is a struggle in itself. A lot of times there's that fear of rejection and you feel that certain groups of people won't accept you. I became more open to my situation because I feared people would find out from a place other than myself. A lot of times I sit and wonder how I'm going to tell my child this information in the future.
Are you dating at the moment?
No, I’m not. If I were to date I would be looking for someone who already has children and knows what it's like to be a parent. Someone who knows what it's like to juggle different things while providing for another life. I've been in two long-term relationships. My first relationship was right after high school. I met my daughter’s mother and we dated for about three years. I lost my virginity to her and she got pregnant with my daughter a few months after I met her. We dated until the time my daughter was about 2 years old and right before my 21st birthday I came out to her and all of my family. At this time I had never been with guys. It was just a feeling. There was a lot going on at the time so I decided to move to Montana for a month to find myself, which was a big mistake because when I got back my daughter and her mom had vanished leaving me clueless for about a year and a half. During that time I found my first boyfriend and we dated for three years. We fought together to get my daughter back. That relationship didn't work out too well but we are still close friends to this day. Communication with the mother of my daughter doesn't happen because she doesn't want anything to do with me anymore even though it's been well over five years.
In August of 2015 (the last time I saw my daughter’s mother) we went to court. It ordered that I have my daughter Friday through Monday. I usually have her on all of the holidays and most summers and my mom helps me with that. When I don't have Jazz she is with her other family. I'm not really sure if she's with her mom or not. I don't ask because I don't want her to think I'm digging for information. As far as I know, my daughter spends most of her time away from me at her other grandparents’ house. We are not on speaking terms because apparently I broke her heart and she is still upset about that. When my daughter and her mom disappeared for over a year I truly didn't know where they were so, I went into stalker mode. I was messaging all of our mutual friends trying to figure out where she was. I thought they skipped town but they didn't. On July 15, 2011 was the first time I saw my daughter in a year. It was the happiest day of my life. I felt like she was born again.
Life as a Dad
Do you have help, e.g., a nanny, babysitter or relative?
We have a lot of help. I don't have a babysitter or a nanny; I have a mom who is 100 percent supportive of all of the positive decisions I make. She watches my daughter while I'm working or when I just wanna get out and live a little bit. I know I can always count on her.
How do you juggle your daughter, career, and dating?
It was extremely difficult when I was dating. Sometimes it's hard to keep the three separate when you need to. I'm learning not to mix my family with dating too early and trying to figure out a healthy medium between the two. I do work a lot but I always make sure I have time for my daughter.
How do you make time for your daughter?
I make sure that there are at least a few days a week that we can just hang out, just us. We go to the park, play mini golf, go swimming and we ice skate in the winter. If I get too busy she will definitely remind me, "Dad, you should tell your boss you’re not going to work tomorrow." Family days are really important. Jazz'Nique loves to draw on her free time. Anything outdoors is her type of setting. She loves to get dirty and animals are her passion. We have an 8-month-old puppy and she picks up my slack when I'm being a horrible pet owner. She wants to walk him, play with him, and care for him like he's the baby I had 8 years ago. LuckE, our puppy, is definitely another child to me. I have to make sure I have time to care for him as well so on really good days when it's nice out, we do family outings or go to my moms so Jazz can play with other kids and LuckE can play with other dogs.
How do you make time for yourself?
Sometimes I need to take a few days off of work or a few days away from being a dad so communication with my mom and boss is how I make time for myself. I feel like my mom understands that sometimes parents need a break too and that's why she's so willing to help me out. She knows firsthand the stress I've been through these last few years with co-parenting.
The Perfect Day
Describe the perfect day with your daughter.
The perfect day with my daughter would be something really simple like a swim day with lots of snacks. We come home and eat dinner while watching a show or a movie. Then she falls asleep without me asking her to go to bed. Perfect, minus the fact that her hair has to be washed after the swim! Since we live in Colorado we don't have those sunny days all the time and you never know when winter will come so we are always prepared for ice skating. Ice skating is a big deal for us. We've been going every winter for 4 years and she gets better and better but falling is the best part. I think anytime I get to spend with her is perfect because she's always excited to see me when she comes back from being gone with her other family for a few days. I always get that big bear hug and that huge smile.
Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.