Allow me to summarize some themes that emerged for me after checking in with each of these dads:
Parenting is hard, no matter your sexual orientation or gender identity. But parenting while LGBT, regardless of which path to parenthood you take, adds some extra layers of complexity. As a community, at least for the time being, we must contend with ambiguous laws and social norms that are slow to catch up with our evolving definition of the American “family.” Things are changing for the better, but often, as many of the gay dads profiled in this article can attest, they aren’t catching up fast enough.
Also standing out is this: gay, bisexual, and trans men can become fathers in a variety of ways. Each path to parenthood comes with its own unique set of questions and complications, but none are inherently better or less complicated than any other.
If I haven’t hit you over the head with it enough yet, indulge me as I do so one more time: we need more research into LGBT parenting. How many LGBT parents are choosing each of the various paths to parenthood outlined in this article? How do LGBT parents overcome the many obstacles that come along with each of these routes? It’s time to put to bed the debate surrounding whether LGBT people can make good parents. The answer, backed by our lived experiences and the research, is an unambiguous yes. Instead, we need to shift our focus to addressing these far more interesting and important questions.
I’ll get a little mushy here on my last point, writing this when Father’s Day was approaching fast: Though each of these men came to fatherhood in a different way, there are no accidental dads among them. These are all men who had a deep desire to be a part of a child’s life, which is a recurring theme among all the dads you’ll find within the pages of Gays With Kids. These are men who are choosing fatherhood deliberately and intentionally, and are willing to deal with the extra layer of complexity that comes along with parenting while being a gay, bisexual, or trans man, in order to make their dream of fatherhood come true.
Stay tuned as Gays With Kids continues to bring you fascinating stories, research, and family spotlights on GBT dads over the next year. From one proud papa to another, thanks for reading!