Meet gay dad Dustin, 27, and his sons Brody and Aiven. Dustin lives in New Castle, Indiana, and he became a dad via a previous marriage to a woman. Brodey is 6 years old and Aiven will turn 3 in March. Dustin co-parents with his ex-wife, whom he describes as his best friend. Because of their great relationship they've found co-parenting to be a breeze!
Gays With Kids: How did you create your family?
Dustin: Former straight relationship. I was born and raised in a small town where it was not OK to be gay. Growing up, I knew I was different. I thought being gay was a phase and it would eventually go away. I met my (now ex-)wife when I was 14 years old and I fell in love with her. We were young, but we were able to grow up together. We were together for nearly 10 years and married for almost six before I came out to her. After going to college and spending a significant amount of time in a big city, I realized that being gay was not wrong and I needed to be honest with myself and my wife. I couldn't stand the thought of telling my sons that they could be whatever they wanted to be as long as they were happy, knowing that I was a hypocrite because I wasn't being true to myself. After my wife and I split, things were tough. We did what was best for our boys and in the end had great results. My ex-wife and I are now best friends which makes co-parenting very easy and rewarding.
Jeremy and I met in Indianapolis where he lived and I worked. There were several times we had run into each other at one of the bars downtown, and I think we both knew there was a connection then. We were in relationships at the time, so we never pursued anything. After both of us ended our relationships with other people, he had an opportunity to move to Texas to be closer to his two sons. My former relationship [with a man] ended badly and Jeremy helped me get through it emotionally. We texted and spoke on the phone every day or every other day in 2015. We really got to know each other and became great friends. Jeremy came for Christmas this past year and it gave us the opportunity we needed to get to know each other in person. We both knew that there was a connection prior to meeting, but I don't think either of us expected it to be as strong as it was in person. We were together for almost a week straight before he had to leave and go back to Texas. In that time, I did introduce him to my boys. This is rare for me because I refuse to bring people in and out of their lives. If I introduce someone to them, I expect that person to stay in our lives forever, in one capacity or another. We actually took the boys to Chuck E. Cheese and then decided to go on an "adventure" as Jeremy calls it. This consisted of going to PetSmart and to see all the animals and to pet all the dogs that came in the store. After that, we went to Toys "R" Us and played with all the toys in the store. It was a great day and my boys had a blast. I was excited to see how well Jeremy did with my boys and how much they enjoyed being with him. This also made me even crazier about him.
Christmas 2014: Brodey, Dustin and Aiven
December 2015: Jeremy (left) and Dustin at the Indianapolis Auto Show
February 2016: Jeremy (left) and Dustin in Austin, Texas
Get to know other gay dad families here as part of our Meet Gay Dad series.