October 11th is National Coming Out Day, when we celebrate all the fabulous folk who have come out as LGBTQ+, and show support for those who may not be ready to come out just yet.
This National Coming Out Day, GWK is honoring some of the brilliant dads who came out of the closet and lived their truth, despite the odds, and continued to be great parents too.
Having children while in a straight relationship is still the most common way gay, bi and trans men have kids. That’s what happened for Matt Clark-Sally, who married a woman in his 20’s and had two daughters.
An active member of his church, Matt spent years in therapy, suppressing his sexuality before he finally came out as gay.
"Having grown up in the church and more conservative circles, I was always scared to come out," Matt said. "While I wouldn't wish some of these challenges on anyone, I wouldn't change a thing. Meeting my husband David was worth everything, and having our daughters is such a blessing.”
Kyle Ashworth grew up in a Mormon family in Utah, where he was taught as part of his religion that homosexuality was evil.
“I was taught there was no happiness in that life,” Kyle explained. “I was also taught that certain religious rites, like serving a Mormon mission, getting married and having children would 'correct' my sexuality.”
In 2015, after ten years of marriage, Kyle faced his fear and came out to his wife and mother of his five kids. Thankfully, Kyle said she “listened, she mourned, and she loved.”
"It was the most painful and wrenching experience of my life," he said. "In the cold morning hours that coming-out-day in March, I began a journey of authenticity and honesty."
Australian gay dad of six, Nigel Sellens said coming out in his 40’s was a tumultuous experience that completely turned his and his family’s worlds upside down. But after years of internal struggle, he knew he had to live his authentic life.
“I knew I was gay,” Nigel said. “But people like me are often so trapped in fear and terror, that we don’t know how to escape, so we survive the only way we feel we can. The only choice I felt I had was to be ‘straight.’”
Unfortunately, Nigel said his experience coming out to his wife was “cataclysmic,” and she later disclosed it to the rest of their family in anger. It was an era that took great strength, and was a struggle for Nigel — it included the loss of his home, and countless family and friends.
“The only thing that I think kept me going, through all that, was the kids,” Nigel explained. “In a way, it’s like the universe gave them to me because it knew that I would need them.”
Kyle said he received a great amount of support from his loved ones when he first told them he was gay. Now a dad of two, Kyle came out while he was studying at the Virginia Military Institute; first to his fellow cadets, and then to his family.
When he did come out, he said his family showed him unconditional love.
"They were only upset that I didn't come out sooner," Kyle said. "My father will tell you, he was upset and sad that I felt that I had to hide something from him."
In 2015, Kyle met Brock on Grindr, and the two started dating. About six months later, Brock introduced Kyle to his two kids from a previous straight relationship. Since then, Kyle's life has changed completely. Now, he finds pink and white striped socks in his laundry, hairpins in the guest bathroom, and his Netflix now suggests "Thomas & Friends" or Strawberry Shortcake movies.
For father of three Cameron Call, coming out of the closet was much less of a choice. In 2018, while he was at work, he received a phone call that changed the trajectory of his life.
“My then-wife of nearly ten years called me at work and said ‘Cameron, I found something on the iPad. Do you want to tell me anything?’ My heart sank and I knew exactly what she was talking about,” he explained. “For years prior to this moment, I would satisfy my urges and attractions by secretly and silently looking at gay pornography on the internet.”
Over the course of their marriage, Cameron said there were even times when his wife would ask him if he was gay. But he said he never had the courage, maturity, or awareness to admit it.
“I was convinced that I was just weak and needed to try harder to change,” Cameron said. “This time, I had had enough. I was defeated. I was tired. And for the first time I admitted to myself that if I was able to change this part of myself, it would have happened by now.”