Brian McGunagle and his husband Stephen Gustafson live in Westport, Connecticut with their three-year-old son Henry whom they had via surrogacy.
The dads worked with Illume Fertility and Worldwide Surrogacy to have Henry. "We opted for an open donor and have been able to build a great relationship with her. Through her we have met not only her family but another set of gay dads in France who have twin girls. They even came to stay with us for a few days and it was a treat to get to meet their family and then go meet the donors!"
The family is also in close contact with their surrogate who lives in Florida with her husband and three kids. "She is a high school theater teacher and really felt moved to specifically help a gay couple have a child. As a theater teacher, she has been the first person many of her students come out to."
"We are planning a second journey with a good friend who is willing to be our surrogate. We mentioned planning to have more kids and she immediately said she'd do it, much to our shock and her husband's!"
The dads admit that having a friend as their surrogate has been a humbling experience because all of the conversations that usually were up to an agency are now left for them to discuss, such as contract details, pregnancy issues and compensation. "We don’t know where this journey will end but that’s all part of the process that at some point is out of your control regardless of all the planning."
When they're not being dads or trying to grow their family, Brian is spearheading the Westport Pride events.
"After a successful inaugural year, Westport Pride is back this year stronger than ever. We have partnered with our local schools to start the Westport Public Schools Pride Coalition which offers programming K-12," shared Brian. "This includes Pride Day celebrations as well as a mentorship program amongst the middle and high school LGBTQ students. We have also coordinated with Kids in Crisis to start a weekly drop in program at our teen center."
In June, Westport Pride is kicking off the month with several great activities:
June 2 - Remarkable Theater Drive In showing To Wong Foo
June 3 - Pride Celebrations at High School and three Middle Schools(first year for MS)
June 4 - All 4 Drag Show at MoCA Westport with appearances by drag kid DesmondIs Amazing, Sienna Rose, Angelina Fierce, and Ambrosia Black including a Q@A. The night also closes out Punk is Coming at MoCA - a retrospective of punk era artists from the 70’s
June 8 - Remarkable Theater - How to Survive a Plague
June 12 - Pride Celebration on Jesup Green featuring local multigenerational queer speakers as well as performances by local youth, broadway performers and other local talent. Sponsors include: Illume Fertility, Leonard-Litz Foundation and Circle Care Center
June 17 - Pride Cabaret at Westport Public Library featuring local queer talent
Westport Pride is also partnering with local businesses to promote Merchants of Pride with proceeds being donated to Westport Pride.
To learn more check out www.westportpride.com
Westport Pride's fiscal sponsor is Positive Directions www.positivedirections.org.