Gay Dad Life

A Gay Dad, Suddenly Squeamish About Sex

As gay men, my partner and I talk about sex, we joke about sex, we enjoy sex (or did before having two high energy, high needs kids). We feel we're open-minded, honest, sometimes silly, sometimes raunchy, and recognize that sex is a healthy part of human nature and gay identity. So when our children ask us about sex, why are we suddenly so squeamish?

I always imagined that we'd be understanding and laid back parents when it came to sex. Our kids would be informed, we'd be comfortable talking about it, and as a result, our kids would make good choices.

We began with honesty by identifying body parts by their anatomical names, nothing cutesy or euphemistic. Our son has a penis, our daughter has a vagina, though not a Volvo, as she once she exclaimed, "I have one of those too!" when someone mentioned the make of their car.

See what progressive parents we are, labeling body parts correctly? But then our kids started to ask more questions about what those body parts do. And what "sex" means.

At first we defaulted to talking about how a baby is made. A sperm meets an egg which results in a baby! Sex = reproduction! But we were progressive, right? Because we avoided the whole "when a man who loves a woman..." thing. We didn't want to promote heteronormativity. Sex doesn't always have to include a man and a woman. Or even love.

We pulled out a great book, What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth, we bought that is very diverse and inclusive – it doesn't ascribe to two genders, or one sexuality. There are many ways to create a family.

One car ride comes to mind when our daughter, age 5, said, "I heard babies come from sex."

I replied, "Yes, sometimes. Sometimes from surrogacy. Or adoption, like our family. Are you hungry for a snack?"

"Did I come from sex?" she followed up.

"Yes. Granola bar?" I prodded my partner to give her some food...

"Did Daddy and Papa have sex to have me?" she asked.

When I said no, the precocious thing said, "Oh, that's too bad," then looked out the window.

Our son, just turned 10, has been asking more detailed questions lately: how does the sperm get to the egg? Why do kids at school talk about humping and make this motion? Why do people make noise when they have sex?

I always take a deep breath and try to be matter of fact. I don't want to act embarrassed because I don't want him to be embarrassed. I don't want to instill any sense of shame or squash his trust in talking to me about sensitive subjects.

My partner received a follow up question: "So the man puts his penis in a woman's vagina?" Yes. "Just puts it in and takes it out?" Well... "Does he have to leave it there for a while?!"

During these discussions, the kids either giggle or look horrified. One day our daughter looked down and said, "so one day I'll pee out a baby?" Not exactly - it is born through the vagina. She laughs, as if it's a joke, and says, "a baby won't fit through there." Well...

I resist explaining the mechanics of sex. But why? Because it's awkward, or because I don't want to talk about it and therefore promote it? Again, what kind of Puritan am I?

I think I'm almost nervous that they'll soon ask about gay sex. I'm not ready to talk about that either, but what are my hang-ups there? Because it will be too personal, and no kid wants to imagine their parents having sex? Or because I don't want to seem like I'm recruiting them to the gay side?

I guess I'm not as enlightened as I set out to be.

Thankfully the authors of the baby book put out a book about sex: Sex is a Funny Word. I appreciate how they have framed it: sex is about respect, joy, trust and justice. I like those concepts and can promote them and come back to them, something tangible to hold on to and guide me when I feel awkward.

Because I want my children to be safe and informed, and I want to provide the forum for discussion at home, whatever they hear from friends or see in the media. I want to keep the communication open and honest, especially as communication is an integral part of sex. And parenting too, of course.

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Gay Dad Life

The Suburban Gay Dad

Are you intimidated by the suburbs? This gay dad was — but then he moved there.

In a recent article for Yahoo! Lifestyle, Steve Jacobs says the thought of living in the suburbs as a gay dad "intimidated" him. But when he started fantasizing about garages, he began to question that notion. Any apprehension he had soon evaporated, he said, one winter morning while trying to navigate the snowy streets of New York City with a stroller.

While "pushing the stroller through snow banks and pools of slush with snowflakes stinging our faces," he wrote, "a vision came to me: I pictured us walking into a garage, hopping into a car, and arriving at a diner with 10 times less drama. This image planted the seed of moving to the 'burbs that I couldn't shake."

Soon, the family of four found a house in a town a half hour outside the city. "It had grass and a beautiful yard for our spirited kiddos. The schools were good. There were even good restaurants. The only red flag: Census data estimated only 0.1 percent of the population was gay male."

There were some "growing pains" while trying to make friends in this environment. "When we attended our first dinner party, within minutes the hostess went to the kitchen and the other wives followed her, while the husbands settled into the living room. Ira and I froze, looking at each other. In the city, our straight friends hadn't separated out like this for the evening. Should we stay with the dudes, exert our masculinity, and blow off the mom we liked? Or does one of us go with the wives and accept the personal branding that comes with that? We did a quick rock paper scissors in the foyer. Ira went with the wives."

But ultimately, "being a parent defined me more than I ever imagined it would," he wrote, and he settled in nicely to his new suburban life.

Have you had a similar adjustment, from city life to the suburbs? Tell us about it at for an upcoming piece!

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Guest post Tracey Wimperly

I've recently written a children's picture book (aimed at 2-4 year olds) called "Fridays with Fitz: Fitz Goes to the Pool." Every Friday - when his two dads go to work - Fitz and his grandparents (my husband, Steve and I) head off on an adventure. Through the eyes of a curious and energetic 3 year old, even ordinary adventures, like riding the bus or foraging for fungus in the forest can be fun and magical.

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And if you're a gay couple, it can have it's own set of problems above and beyond the standard work-life issues that people face. Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study that focused specifically on the experiences of same-sex couples who wanted to make moves towards a work/life balance.

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In 2003, while both studying at Reading University in the UK, Ben Suter and David Cocks met after locking eyes on the dance floor and then being introduced by a mutual friend. Ben, a meteorologist and Operations Manager, and David, an Assistant Principal, have been together ever since. They moved to Australia together in 2010, seeking a different life, and an overall better work-life balance. The chose Cairns in Queensland as their new home, between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, "taking life a bit easier," said David. The couple were also married in June 2016, back home in England.

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When Kyle decided to take his four kids, ages 6-11, to New York City on vacation, his friends thought he was crazy.

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"That's bold. There's no way I'd do that."

Those were a few of the responses I heard from my friends as I told them I was thinking of booking a trip to New York City with four kids, ages 11-6. My children's fall vacation from school was approaching and I wanted to get out of the house and explore. Was the Big Apple too much of an adventure?

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National's Pitcher Cites Wife's Two Moms as Reason for Declining White House Invite

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"I want to show support for them. I think that's an important part of allyship, and I don't want to turn my back on them," Doolittle said during the interview.

Trump's treatment of a minority groups, generally, factored into his decision as well. "I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can't get past that stuff."

Doolitttle clarified that his decision had little to do with policy disagreements with the White House. "There's a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we've done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the 'shithole countries.'"

He concluded by saying he respected his teammates decision to attend the White house ceremony. "I want people to know that I put thought into this, and at the end of the day, I just can't go."

Read more of the Washington Post interview here.


New York Will Fight 'Repugnant' Trump Rule on Adoption, Says Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York promises legal action of the Trump administration moves ahead with plans to allow discrimination against LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents

Last week, the Trump administration announced plans to allow adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against prospective LGBTQ parents — but he may face a legal fight from (former) hometown. In a tweet, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said the proposed move "isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values,— it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home." If the proposal moves forward, he continued. "we'll take legal action to stop it.

Governor Cuomo's office followed up the tweet with a lengthier statement posted to their website:

Once again the Trump administration is attacking the hard-earned rights and protections of the LGBTQ community, this time proposing a new measure that would give foster care and adoption agencies license to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Trump's proposal isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values — it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home. If he moves forward with this rule, we'll take legal action to stop it.

No matter what happens in Washington, New York State is and will continue to be a beacon of equality in this country. Our Human Rights Law and adoption regulations expressly prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community, including when it comes to adoption. I encourage any LGBTQ New Yorker who feels they are a victim of this discrimination to contact the State Division of Human Rights for assistance.

Our message to the Trump administration is simple: there is no place for hate in New York or in our nation, and we will not allow this noxious proposal to stop LGBTQ New Yorkers from becoming parents or providing care to children in need.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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