Gay Dad Life

My Son Called Me a F*ggot

Many gays with kids face the same challenges of straights with kids. How do you teach children morals? How do you get gum out of the dog's hair? How do you teach children manners? How do you get your son or daughter into Harvard, Notre Dame, the Olympics or NBA Basketball?


But a few of the challenges arise only in that particular environment of the gay man or men raising one or more straight sons. Boys grow up, and sometime between the period of cute adolescence and mature adulthood, there is that time when a son is a rebellious teenager. It begins with the moment when the son realizes he can defeat his father.

Part of that rebellion is the need the son feels to differentiate himself from his dad. And that is something we all did. There is for every child, straight or gay, a moment when he or she stops believing that his/her parent is omniscient. For me, the moment came in the fourth grade. I was sitting at the kitchen table, studying for an American history test, while my mother, Nurse Vivian, was making meatloaf.

Reading a question from the textbook out loud, I said, “Who discovered Florida?"

“Polka Derry Long," replied Nurse Vivian, happily crushing stale bread into bread crumbs.

Yes, there in black-and-white in the textbook was the correct answer Ponce de León, but Nurse Vivian insisted it was Polka Derry Long.

For the first time ever I realized that I knew something that she did not. It would not be for many, many more years that I would realize that my very wise mother may not have been very smart.

And just like a million other kids facing the teen years, my sons Zane and Aidan are beginning to question my infinite knowledge. But one of the differences in gays with kids is that when a child grows up in any other minority family, he or she is at least comforted by the fact that the parents usually belong to same ethnic minority group: Jews, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians. Zane's background status has a different checkbox than mine.

And so, one afternoon, as I was making meatloaf, Zane was sitting at the kitchen table. As I crushed breadcrumbs, I told him that he needed to do his social studies homework before he played on the iPad.

He muttered, “Thanks a lot, f*ggot."

Aidan (l) and Zane at the kitchen table

What do you do when your son calls you a f*ggot?

I'm not sure if I got this right, but the first thing I did not do was flinch. The second thing I did not do was ignore it. No, flinching would mean that I was scared of him, and ignoring it would mean that I was afraid to react. I said calmly, “That's one."

“What do you mean, one?"

“No arguments. One. As in when I get to three you lose the iPad for the week."

“You're just mad that I called you a f*ggot."

“Yes, I am mad," I replied. “But that's not why you got a one."

I cracked exactly one egg into the mixture of breadcrumbs and ground turkey, and then added in parsley and dill. “The Fisher-Paulsons are like bumblebees. Physicists and aerodynamic engineers have proven conclusively that a bumblebee has too much mass for its wings to generate sufficient lift. In other words, they have calculated that a bumblebee cannot fly. And yet the California lilac in front of our home hosts an entourage of bumblebees, flying from one purple blossom to another."

Zane's brows drew together. “I don't get it."

“That's the thing. The bumblebee cannot fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know it. The Fisher-Paulsons survive as a family, despite the fact that these two queens, these two at-risk boys and these four rescue dogs make an impossible combination. But we survive. We thrive. Because we love on another. And we don't let anybody marginalize us. Not even a Fisher-Paulson."

This kitchen table that we sit around is sacred ground. It's where this impossible bumblebee family eats meals, does homework, and argues about the use of the iPad. I'm not sure if I did the exact right thing when my son called me a f*ggot, but I do know that my job, just like Nurse Vivian's, was to continue loving my sons, whether or not there ever was a Polka Derry Long.

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Gay Dad Life

"A Perfect Moment": Congrats to Gay Men Whose Families Grew This Month!

Congrats to all the gay dads and dads-to-be whose families grew this month from adoptions and births, or have recently announced pregnancies!

Wishing these growing families a lifetime of happiness! Congratulations to these gay men on their recent and expectant births, adoption finalizations and foster-adopt journeys, from all of us here at Gays With Kids!

"Truly a perfect moment," says Doug and Brent on the birth of their youngest son, Shepherd

Congratulations to dads Doug and Brent on the birth of their youngest son, Shepherd!

On June 28, Doug and Brent became dads for the second time through adoption when their son Shepherd was born. Their eldest son Sawyer is so excited to be a big brother and the dads are loving being a family of four.

"We finally felt our family was complete when we met him," shared Doug. "Truly a perfect moment."

We're thrilled for this Atlanta family!

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Congratulations to dads-to-be Steve and Richard on their exciting news!

Steve and Richard are thrilled to announce that they are officially dads-to-be! Their little one, via private adoption, is expected in December 2018.

"Fatherhood has always been a dream for the both of us," shared Steve. "We're most looking forward to 'moments' with our baby. From brand new experiences... the first smile, the first laugh, seeing a flower for the first time, trying foods from other countries to ultimately showing them how to first and foremost offer love and kindness to others, above all else."

"While there is a infinite amount to look forward to," added Richard, "we so excited to wake up each and every day and everything new that comes along with it."

The family of three-to-be live in Urbandale, Iowa.

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Floridian dads Bryan and Joshua are thrilled to have finalized the adoption of the gorgeous daughter, born in February earlier this year.

"After starting this journey one year ago and sitting in that courtroom with our 6-month-old, it really hit us," explained Bryan. "We were holding it strong together until we were answering questions from the attorney to the judge. At that moment, my husband Joshua started crying which made me cry."

"At that point," continued Joshua, "it really hit us how far we've come and there wasn't a dry eye in the courtroom. We couldn't be more proud to be her dads."

Congrats to Sean and Spencer, who recently became dads to twins, via surrogacy!

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Spencer and Sean began planning their surrogacy journey before they were married in September 2016. And on May 26 this year their dream was realized: the husbands became dads when their twins Rowan and Clyde were born.

The new dads are completely smitten and in complete agreement of their favorite thing so far as fathers: Watching their twins discover and experience the world around them for the first time every day.

This family of four live in Maplewood, New Jersey.

"September cannot come soon enough!" say dads-to-be Benjamin and Christopher

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Benjamin and Christopher are excited to share the news: a little bean will soon be joining their family to make them dads!

"We are most looking forward to bonding with our little bean; to see him grow and experience the amazing wonders of the world with our friends and family will be priceless," shared Christopher.

"To be able to travel with him on our excursions around this big crazy globe is something we've always talked about and looked forward to," added Benjamin, "September cannot come soon enough!"

We'e excited to follow the journey of this Pennsylvanian family.

"I was surprised by the impact those pen strokes would have," said AJ, after the finalization of his son's adoption

Jeff and AJ are beyond excited to finalize the adoption of son, Hayden!

New Yorkers AJ and Jeff became dads to son Hayden the day he was born, March 21, 2018. Hayden joined his dads via adoption, and on August 1st, it was finalized. They are now a forever family of three. AJ shared with us how the day impacted him.

"I thought the finalization would just be another happy part of Hayden's adoption journey we could tell him about and celebrate through the years. After all he became our son the moment we matched so a signing of papers wasn't going to change that in my eyes. But I was surprised by my naivety the impact those pen strokes would have. It was a moment of pure joy and happiness that will probably forever bring tears of happiness to my eyes when I think about that day."

The thing these dads-to-be are most excited about? "Double the dad jokes!"

Congratulations to dads-to-be Ryan and Steven on the pregnancy news!

Ryan and Steven live in Madison, Wisconsin, and in six months or so, they're going to be dads! What are the dads-to-be most looking forward to?

"Building a bond with our child in the same way we both have with our own parents," shared Ryan. "Watching them grow and experience the world, all while getting to see it through their eyes. Plus, double the dad jokes!"

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Gay Dad's Family Car Vandalized with Homophobic Slur in Tennessee

"Sometimes people do things to try and make you sad," Michael told his sons following the incident. "But we have to be better than that."

Michael Quinton, a gay man living in Dandridge, Tennessee, had just arrived at home on July 6th when he noticed the damage done to his car. His tires were slashed, the car seats sliced up, and the radio rendered useless by a sharp object.

"My first reaction was a flood of every emotion," he said. "Angry, mad, sad, disheartened. As I took a look at the vehicle I saw more and more damage."

The physical vandalism, however, was nothing compared to the emotional damage inflicted by this next part of the crime: the word "fagot" had been etched into the side of his car.

Though Michael was clearly the intended target of the crime, he was particularly worried about how the incident might affect his two sons, Blake and Clayton, whom he had adopted with his ex-husband.

"I called my mom who lives a few minutes away to come sit with the boys as an officer was coming out," Michael told Gays With Kids. "At that moment I didn't want them to see the vehicle or the words carved into it.

Michael called the experience "eye-opening," adding, "Come what may I have to ensure [my sons] are taken care of. I have to show them that love wins and without a doubt there is nothing wrong with the way you love. One day they very well could help change the climate in this country."

As far as the perpetrator, Michael has his suspicions of who might behind the damage, and has shared them along with some potential evidence with the detective involved. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime. Michael has spent most of life in east Tennessee and says this was the first time he had ever experienced an act of hate. From sharing this horrible experience, a lot of people have reached out to Michael and his family to send words of support and kind messages. But Michael is still worried.

"In the end, the tone of this country has done a 180," he said. "I honestly feel worried that things will continue to happen to families like mine or anyone viewed different in others' eyes."

New data has shown that hate crimes have risen 12% in the past year, and that is only those that are reported. The African American community has been the most targeted, followed by LGBTQ people.

Michael with his kids

The damage to Michael's vehicle has also been a blow to family, symbolically, he says. Michael is recently divorced from the boys' second dad, and is now raising them full-time. The car, a bright blue Kia, came to represent so much more than a vehicle; it meant a new beginning for Michael and his boys after the separation.

"So many memories have been made in that vehicle over the last 18 months," shared Michael. His youngest son, Blake, "processes things a little different than your average 7 year old," Michael says. "You take away routine, structure, consistency, security and he doesn't do too well."

Since the incident, the family has been comforting each other by sleeping together on the couch every night. Michael has always kept an open conversation with his kids, whether it be about their adoption (Blake originally came to Michael through kinship guardianship, and Clayton is Blake's biological older brother whom Michael later adopted as well), divorce, and now this.

"I told them that sometimes people do things to try and make you sad," said Michael. "But we have to be better than that and know that we can't stop loving and that we have each other and I wouldn't allow them to be hurt. We also have to be able to forgive in order to find peace."

The car, sadly, is beyond repair. Fortunately, Michael has a vehicle supplied by work he can use for family drop offs, baseball practice and medical appointments. But eventually, he'll need to get his own car again. As a single-income father, Michael has set up a GoFundMe page to help with the insurance deductible and/or possible replacement of the car.

Despite the gravity of the situation, Michael didn't miss an opportunity to through some well-deserved shade back at the perpetrator of this heinous act. "Who spells faggot..... fagot?" he wrote on a post he published to Facebook shortly after the incident. "Doesn't most everyone have access to spell check with their phone? I mean come on!!!"

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