Ok, so we might have made "National Single Queer Parents Week" up. But if "National Eat Your Jello Day" and "National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Week" are things (true story), a week to appreciate the many single queer parents in our community can certainly be one too.
And we didn't entirely make the holiday up — Sunday, March 21st is, in fact, National Single Parents Day, and before you scoff at whether or not such a day is actually needed, consider this: there are more single parents raising children in the United States than any other country in the world. Just short of 25 percent of children under the age of 18, in fact, are living with one parent with no other adults in the house. According to Pew Research, this compares to just 7 percent of children around the world.
Single parenthood is offset in countries abroad, in part, because many children live with extended families, like grandparents, aunts and uncles. (Around the globe, 38 percent of children live in extended families, whereas just 10 percent of those living in the U.S. do so.) But that's only part of the reason behind this trend — another is that single parenthood, long something that mostly occurred by misfortune or circumstance, is increasingly becoming something that people are choosing for themselves.
This trend is certainly true in the queer parenting world as well — no longer is finding "the one" a prerequisite for fulfilling our dream of parenthood. Adoption and foster care agencies, once reluctant to place children in the homes of single parents (particularly queer ones), have over the years become increasingly willing, and legally able, to do so. Advancements in reproductive technologies, like IVF and surrogacy, are also making biological single parenthood a reality for thousands of gay, bi and trans men around the world.
As we often have, the LGBTQ community is also leading the charge in creating novel and nontraditional ways to become parents outside the confines of heteronormative, couple-based arrangements. Platonic, intentional co-parenting arrangements — involving friends, family members, and even total strangers who meet on online matching website — are becoming more common, allowing single people to form families in ways that work for them.
Still, the majority of single queer dads in our community are without a partner for a more difficult reason, having come out later in life, while married to a women with whom he had kids. So we are also declaring this National Single Queer Parents Week to celebrate the thousands in our community who made the difficult yet ultimately empowering and life-altering decision to live their lives, out and proud.
Over the course of the next few weeks, be on the look out as we publish the stories of many of these single queer dads. These inspiring stories will cover the full range of the queer parenting experience as a single man. You'll meet Diego Valdez, a dad living in Panama City, who decided to pursue a surrogacy journey as a single gay man after learning more about the possibilities on the GWK website. And we'll get an update from Kevin Gerdes who just recently became a brand spanking new single queer dad, via foster-adopt, to an infant.
We'll be all over social media celebrating single queer dads as well — look out for their stories (and adorable pics, of course), as well as an Instagram Live event featuring some of our favorite badass single queer dads.
And maybe most important — if you are a single gay, bi or trans man reading this and wondering if parenthood is possible for you (spoiler: it is!) be sure to join our webinar on Wednesday, March 24th, that will explore all the ins and outs of becoming a parent as a single queer man.