Gay Dad Life

Thanks, Obama: A Gay Dad's Love Letter to POTUS

The following letter was written by guest blogger Frankie Bua, a gay dad.


Dear Mr. President,

Sweeping rhetoric aside, it wasn’t love at first sight. As a social studies teacher, I was delighted by the possibilities of hope and change, but I found something a little opportunistic about a relatively young politician cutting the political line and surrounding himself with Kennedys. I was skeptical to say the least.

But you were persistent. Your intellect, humor and charm warmed me, and you clearly had an LGBT game plan, one that I recognized long before your “evolution” happened publicly. In June 2009, you issued a directive on same-sex domestic partner benefits and opened the door for the State Department to extend a full range of benefits to same-sex domestic partners of members of the Foreign Service. In October of that same year, you signed the long-stalled Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law. In December 2010, backed by studies conducted by the Pentagon, you showed a willingness to spend significant political capital by repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I admired your long game ― methodically chipping away at the wall of homophobic policies ― and found you to be the savviest of quarterbacks. I was smitten.

Your administration sought input from national LGBT non-profits like Treatment Action Group and Family Equality Council, organizations on whose Boards of Directors I serve, to ensure as part of the Affordable Care Act that insurers could no longer turn someone away just because he or she is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Obamacare also made it easier for people living with HIV and AIDS to obtain private health insurance and Medicaid. Most notably, you developed and released the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. Your administration changed passport and student loan application forms to become more gender inclusive. Next time I fill out my children’s governmental forms, I will not be forced to complete a box labeled “mother” like I did last time. Now families like my own are allowed to re-enter the country as the unit we are. These gestures may have gone unnoticed by the general public, but not by those of us who for decades have felt the simple desire to be treated like everybody else.

For Easter in 2011, my partner and I took our twins to the White House Easter Egg Roll. As a formerly closeted man who fearfully came of age during the Reagan years, I had a near out-of-body experience watching my two-year old children frolic carefree on the lawn of the White House and in the shadows of history. I felt a sense of belonging I had never before imagined, and I left the South Lawn with renewed optimism in the direction of our country. At that moment I felt the need to become active in your campaign for reelection, something I hadn’t considered since college. So I made nightly phone calls to swing states, talking to prospective voters about how the Obama administration had quite simply changed my life. I will never forget the voter from Scranton, Pennsylvania, who told me she “couldn’t stand having that nigger in the White House.” I remember marveling at how the election of a black man to the highest office in the land had not moved us into a post-racial world. Neither of our fights is yet won.

I brought my twins to D.C. to witness your second inauguration in 2013; they turned four that very day. While they innocently thought that everyone had gathered at the Capitol for their birthday, our family did receive a present on that bitter cold morning just the same. I was floored by your mention of Stonewall in the same breath as Seneca Falls and Selma – incredulously asking everyone around me “Did he really just say that?” Yes, the President of the United States just gave legitimacy to my struggle as a gay man, and you’re damn right I shed a tear or two in appreciation. Our family returned to D.C. later that winter to be part of a rally at the Supreme Court when the Windsor case was being heard. This was more of a pilgrimage than a road trip. When I was a young man, I couldn’t fathom being comfortable enough with my sexuality to bring a boyfriend home, let alone think about marriage, the most ‘normal’ of American institutions. Now I was a grown partnered man, bringing his kids to the site where history was being made. Your administration’s decision to no longer defend the indefensible DOMA paved the way for the court’s eventual decision. I just had to be in the room where it happened.

In December 2014, I was honored and surprised to receive an invitation to a White House Christmas reception. Even my mother, who is not a supporter, couldn’t contain her pride. Walking the halls of the White House with a glass of champagne that sparkled in equal measure with my awe, this teacher truly felt that he was in The People’s House. Unable to resist the urge to finally meet you in person, I strategically positioned myself along the receiving line. I cannot imagine that you remember having met me, but I frequently find myself secretly hoping that you do. I gave it my best unscripted shot: “I know a lot of people blow smoke up your ass because you’re the President, but I want to keep it real. I’m a gay dad, and my husband is probably behind me snapping photos right now. Our twins were born the day after your inauguration. Our lives have benefitted immeasurably because of your leadership. Anytime the recalcitrant Congress tries to thwart you, I want you to think of me and my family. You are making a difference.” You put your hand on my shoulder and said, “Thank you. That means the world to me.” But really, you had me at hello.

The last two years of your administration have, for the LGBT community, demonstrated a stronger sprint to the finish line than American Pharaoh at Belmont. On the day the Supreme Court issued its decision in Obergerfell v. Hodges (2015), you directed that the White House be illuminated in the colors of the gay flag, a gesture so breathtakingly unbelievable that it left me scouring the Internet to determine its veracity. The photo went viral, sending a message of surreal optimism to gays in all corners of the world. But you didn’t stop with this rainbow exclamation point. This past year, you opened up the military to transgender soldiers and took aim at those who would deny transgendered students access to the bathroom they deem appropriate in public schools. One day transgender intransigence will be in the trash heap of history - next to segregated lunch counters - and we will look back to your actions as the tipping point. As a final salvo, this past June you directed the National Park Service to dedicate Stonewall, the site of riots and arrests of innocent gay people which is widely seen as the dawn of the modern gay rights movement, as the first National Monument focused on LGBT history. We’ve taken our children several times since, each time with a cone from the nearby Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, to reflect on just how sweet progress tastes.

Under your stewardship, the United States – long a nation where people viewed the Bible as more of an operations manual than the Constitution – has become an LGBT city upon a hill. If we indeed have to be taught to hate, you have demonstrated - through your family and actions - that by modeling acceptance and tolerance, love can be learned. Incrementalism may not be as flashy as a tweet, but it has proven to be an incredibly effective strategy for change. For your vision, for your resolve in the face of unfathomable obstacles and detractors, and for inspiring everyone to aspire to greatness, I and my family thank you.

See you tonight at your Farewell Address in Chicago.

Much love,

Frank Bua

The author, Frank Bua (left), with his family

This post was originally published on Huffington Post Queer Voices and is re-published here with permission.

 

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

8 Ways for Dads to Find Work/Life Balance

Finding work/life balance is hard enough... but can be even harder for gay dads.

Having kids is an amazing part of life, and it should be fun. Life does tend to get in the way sometimes, and one huge aspect of that is work. Striking that balance between work and home life is tough. If you both work it's even harder.

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.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

'NolaPapa' Launches YouTube Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

Check out Erik Alexander's new YouTune Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

When we first found out that our second daughter was African American I froze. Not because of her race, but because I knew NOTHING about African American hair. So I frantically tried to learn as much as I could while she was a newborn so I was ready to style it when she was a little older.

I decided to launch our YouTube channel Nolapapa: Story of a Gay Dad to focus on this very topic! Episodes 1-5 will solely be dedicated to learning how to wash, care for and styling African American hair. Afterwards, the content will shift towards personal & family situations, adoption, gay parenting questions and other great content! I'd love your support and become part of our little village as we launch this new project!

Sending Nola love to each of ya!

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Surrogacy for Gay Men

A Dream Becomes Reality, After a Men Having Babies Conference

New Yorkers David and Brian said their dreams of fatherhood crystalized only after receiving a "ton of information" at a Men Having Babies conference.

New Yorkers David F.M. Vaughn 39, and Brian Becker, 37, are new dads. Over the past three months, the two most important things they've learned as fathers is "patience, and how to swaddle LIKE A CHAMP!" David and Brian chose surrogacy as their path to fatherhood, but making that decision was one of the more difficult parts of their journey. Brian's siblings are adopted, and while they still want to make adoption part of their family journey, certain opportunities arose that made their surrogacy decision easier. Brian's sister enthusiastically offered to be their gestational surrogate, and they discovered more about the process with the help of Men Having Babies (MHB).

But let's jump back to the beginning of their story.

Keep reading... Show less
Foster/Foster-Adopt

Your Foster Adopt Questions Answered by a Foster Adopt Dad

We asked our Instagram community to send us their questions about being a foster dad — and an experienced foster dad responded.

Dad Joseph Bostick (read his story here) recently shared his experience as a foster and adoptive dad with our Instagram community via a question and answer session - did you feel nervous at the beginning? How did you start the process? Did you always know that you wanted to foster older kids?

Read Joseph's responses below.

Keep reading... Show less

Gay Surrogacy in the U.S. for International Dads

Kristin Marsoli of Circle Surrogacy breaks down the process of surrogacy for gay men outside of the United States

Written by Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation, who has been helping international gay men become dads for over two decades.

Becoming a gay dad through a surrogacy agency in the U.S. – when you live outside of the United States – can feel overwhelming. You may have questions such as: Why should I come all the way to the US for surrogacy? What do I need to know as an international intended parent? How do I get my baby home?

We spoke with Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation who has been working with international gay parents for over two decades. Circle Surrogacy was founded by a gay dad and lawyer, and is the most successful surrogacy agency with a full legal team on staff who are experts working with international parents.

Keep reading... Show less
Coming Out

My Gay Shame Is Officially Cancelled

After years of feeling ashamed of being gay, David Blacker has finally overcome it. And his son had a lot to do with it.

Scrolling through my social media feeds, reading all the posts about National Coming Out Day reminds me just how valuable it is for us to share our stories and be as open, vulnerable and authentic as possible. Warning: this article is about to get real AF, so now might be a good time to switch back to the Face-Aging app that gives Russia all your personal data.

Oh good, you stayed. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse