Whether someone comes out as LGBTQ+ at a young age, or after decades in a straight marriage with several kids, every queer person's coming-out story is powerful and unique.
In honor of National Coming Out Day 2021, GWK is recognizing the many fabulous fathers who came out both before and after having kids, by hearing them tell their own coming out stories.
For men who already have children, coming out as gay, bi or trans can undoubtedly add another layer of complexity to the process. Even though Jacques said he knew he was "different" from the age of seven, his coming out experience didn't happen until later in life after he was married with kids.
"I came out at 40," he said. "There's a phrase 'it takes a village,' that's definitely the case in my case."
Jacque said his ex-wife and kids have always been some of his biggest supporters, and they are huge LGBTQ+ allies.
For other gay, bi or trans men in straight relationships considering coming out, Jacque said it's important to give yourself grace and see yourself as worthy of living your truth.
Hear Jacques' coming out story and his advice for others:
Follow Jacques on Instagram @jacques_sterlinglifestyle
Alabama dad of five JW came out to his ex-wife in 2019, after 12 years of marriage.
"I came home one day and said I needed to have a conversation with her, " he explained. "[It was] probably one of the most difficult things I had ever done."
JW comes from a large close-knit religious southern family. Having been raised Christian in a small town, he said he struggled with the conflicts within himself.
"When I turned 35, I woke up one day and had this realization that my life was going by," he explained. "I wasn't being fair to myself, or to her."
Hear JW tell his coming out story:
Follow J.W. on Instagram @jwgodwin
Single dad Roberto became a father through surrogacy in 2019, and his favorite thing about fatherhood so far is his 2-year-old daughter Amina's infectious smile.
While he's now loving life as a single gay dad, Roberto's coming out experience was not easy. He first came out to his mother when he was 17, and was met with a reply he wasn't expecting.
"She [asked] if I needed to see a doctor," Roberto said. "Then she said not to tell my dad because he had heart issues and she thought it might kill him."
Despite his mother's response, Roberto said he felt free after he came out. 20 years later, his mother has come a long way; Roberto said her focus is now more on his happiness and less on the sex of the person he loves.
"Fatherhood has reminded me that family — whether it’s the one you’re born into, the one you choose, or both — is everything."
Hear Roberto's story here:
Follow Roberto on Instagram @aminasdaddy