Gay Dad Life

The Sun Went Down: Love Won

When I was young, I remember sitting in the back of my parents' car listening to the radio. Often when we were heading to a major league sports game downtown, during which I only paid attention to eating every food item the stadium offered, we listened to a talk radio station. On air was a host who infuriated me.


He was the kind of host that liked to listen to himself talk. He was pompous and overbearing, he ranted, he attacked his guests who were there only to be a target of his forceful opinions. I didn't think of him again until years later when he became one of the most vocal opponents to gay marriage, using his platform and rabid on-air personality to spread his opinions.

Naturally I was wary when invited to appear on his TV show on Canada's fledging right wing network. I was to represent Gays With Kids and speak as a voice for gay dads during an eight-minute interview that would be part of a special on families in current Canadian society. I was assured that the interview would be fair.

I agreed even though I was still skeptical about how I’d be treated or what I’d be asked. I was afraid to make myself the face of gay families in Canada and therefore a punching bag of the right. Nor did I want my children to be a target in any way. But I told myself to be brave and try to put a pleasant face forward. I also comforted myself with the fact that the station had a very low viewership so maybe the piece wouldn’t be seen by many people, though again I was still nervous because those few people might be the most rabid of reactionaries.

The day of the filming, I made myself look presentable, I wrote down some of the main points I wanted to make and I took the bus down to the studio. I felt like I was selling myself to the dark side, or at least entering the devil’s territory. The lobby of the building, however, was bright, white and eerily quiet, giving an impression that there actually wasn’t much going on – no factory of sinister men in black hats drumming their fingers and plotting ways to bring down the liberal elite.

I was greeted apathetically by the receptionist, met the indifferent production assistant, taken to make-up and then was asked to wait. The host himself came to get me and to walk me across the street to the studio. He was amiable and chatty, talking too much either out of his own nervousness or a way to keep my mind occupied to prevent me from getting nervous. We had to sit in the company cafeteria, a sterile little room with white tables and chairs, and devoid of any other people, while we waited for the studio to become available.

The host took the opportunity to tell me about himself, speaking about his children and grandchildren. Part of me thought, Yes, I know you’re straight, but the kinder side in me recognized that he was trying to find points of commonality. He also told me about his (Catholic) Church, and about how hate had infiltrated belief and how his own views of marriage had evolved. I still didn’t fully trust that he was being sincere.

John Hart’s day in the Sun

We were called into the studio, fitted with microphones and ushered in front of the cameras. I tried not to be nervous, telling myself that I knew my own story and could share it easily. I focused on where to put my feet, which were hidden behind a desk, but dangling from the tall stools on which we were sitting.

The cameras rolled. I spoke about how my partner and I had wanted to start a family, had chosen adoption as our route, about having loving families, a great network, lots of resources and about the growing community of Gays With Kids. The host asked about any difficulties we may have faced and then asked a roundabout question: “How do we answer when people ask about the importance of a nuclear family and if our children need a mother?” I said that that speaks to the idea that men can’t be nurturing. And here the host jumped in and spoke a little about his own role as a father. It was the highlight of the interview for me: After I had made my main points, I had the host agreeing and sympathizing with me, surely a good sign to others in the right-wing world.

The eight minutes went by quickly, the interview was done, I was thanked and escorted to the street. That was that. I hadn’t been put on the spot, or confronted or pilloried. It was anti-climactic, just a pleasant little chat. And the man I loved to loathe for so long was no longer a threat or an enemy. A few months later Michael Coren (for he was the man in question) publicly discussed his change of heart in an interview with the National Post. The main reason he left the Catholic Church was the treatment of gays: “I could not remain in a church that effectively excluded gay people. ... I felt a hypocrite being part of a church that described homosexual relations as being disordered and sinful. ... I felt that the circle of love had to be broadened, not reduced.”

I waited for my interview to air on the weekend; I waited for the reaction from the internet trolls. But on that Friday Sun News TV went off the air. Its corporate company shut it down and laid off all its employees, effective immediately. The rabid right-wing reactionaries couldn’t sustain a profitable national network in progressive Canadian society.

Happy news in itself. But I also felt a mix of disappointment, because I was proud of how well the interview went and the points I made, as well as a bit of relief. No one would ever watch it: I wouldn’t be made a punching bag or target of the right and I’d never have to watch either, because I never want to see myself on tv.

The moral of the story? People can and do change. Right-wing networks go off the air. Most of all: Love wins.

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

8 Ways for Dads to Find Work/Life Balance

Finding work/life balance is hard enough... but can be even harder for gay dads.

Having kids is an amazing part of life, and it should be fun. Life does tend to get in the way sometimes, and one huge aspect of that is work. Striking that balance between work and home life is tough. If you both work it's even harder.

And if you're a gay couple, it can have it's own set of problems above and beyond the standard work-life issues that people face. Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study that focused specifically on the experiences of same-sex couples who wanted to make moves towards a work/life balance.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

'NolaPapa' Launches YouTube Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

Check out Erik Alexander's new YouTune Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

When we first found out that our second daughter was African American I froze. Not because of her race, but because I knew NOTHING about African American hair. So I frantically tried to learn as much as I could while she was a newborn so I was ready to style it when she was a little older.

I decided to launch our YouTube channel Nolapapa: Story of a Gay Dad to focus on this very topic! Episodes 1-5 will solely be dedicated to learning how to wash, care for and styling African American hair. Afterwards, the content will shift towards personal & family situations, adoption, gay parenting questions and other great content! I'd love your support and become part of our little village as we launch this new project!

Sending Nola love to each of ya!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Encouraged by His Son, Single Dad Richard Started Dating Again — and Just Got Married!

After his 14 year relationship ended, Richard got a gentle push into the dating pool from an unexpected source — his son!

In 2014, Richard Rothman's relationship of 15 years ended, leaving him understandably reluctant to jump back into the world of dating as a single gay dad. But after spending one too many Friday nights at home, he got a gentle nudge from somebody unexpected —his teenaged son, Jonathan.

"Dad," Jonathan said. "Would you just get out of the house and go on a date already?" (You may remember wise-beyond-his-years Jonathan from this post that went viral of a tattoo he got commemorating his adoption day.)

On his son's encouragement, Richard started dipping a tentative toe back into the dating pool. In 2015, he met Kevin thanks to mutual friends that introduced them via social media. It took four months before Richard introduced Kevin to his son, who was a Sophomore in high school at the time.

On New Year's Eve in 2017, Kevin proposed while the couple was vacationing in Palm Springs. The city has an outdoor festival every year, he explained, which the couple attended. The band Plain White T's happened to be performing their hit "Hey There Delilah" as Kevin got down on one knee and proposed. "Now whenever I hear that song it brings back memories of that night," Richard said.

Richard and Kevin married on March 30, 2019 back at the scene of the crime — in Palm Springs, at the Frederick Loewe Estate. Jonathan was Richard's best man, and also walked him down the aisle (awwww.....). Kevin's brother Bobby served as his best man.

"As so many wonderful moments continue to happen for us in Palm Springs, we now own a home there in addition to our primary residence in Bentonville, Arkansas," said Richard.

Check out video from the couple's special day below!


And Jonathan is now an E4 Master-at-Arms in the US Navy.

Today is National Coming Out Day, and as we celebrate, we're sharing six coming out stories from dads in our community. Their personal stories are heartwarming, relatable, and empowering. Happy Coming Out Day, and remember, live your truth!

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Growing a Thicker Skin

Experiencing hateful and hurtful comments, Erik Alexander had to learn an important lesson: how to ignore the trolls.

Photo credit: BSA Photography

Twenty years ago when I came out, it was unbearably hard. As I have written before, I am from the Deep South. Anyone who dared to deviate from social norms was sure to be ostracized. It's not that these people were born hateful or mean; rather, it probably had more to do with them not being subjected to other lifestyles. Anything different from their own experiences sparked fear and confusion. Homosexuality, interracial relationships, religious differences – these were all unfamiliar territories to the average person I grew up around. Thus, growing up was particularly difficult.

I remember lying in bed at night when I was a little boy. I would pray and beg God to not let me be gay. Every single night I would end my prayers with "... and God, please don't let me have nightmares and please don't let me be gay." I remember crying myself to sleep many nights. I was embarrassed and ashamed. And I wanted God to cure me.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

10 Inspiring Coming Out Stories From Gay Dads

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our recent stories about gay men with kids coming out to live their most authentic lives.

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our best articles of gay dads coming out to live their authentic lives.

#1. Former NFL Player Jeff Rohrer, and Father of Two, Comes Out as Gay and Marries Longterm Partner


Jeff Rohrer, a father of two teenage boys via a previous relationship with a woman, is the first NFL player to marry another man. Read the article here.

#2. Coming Out to His Wife Was Painful, Says This Salt Lake-Based Dad of Four. But it Started Him on a Path of Authenticity

After Kyle came out to his wife, with whom he has four children, "she listened, she mourned and she loved," he said. Read the article here.

#3. Gay Dads Share Their Coming Out Stories for National Coming Out Day

We asked several gay dads to share their coming out stories in honor of National Coming Out Day, whose stories are heartwarming, instructive, and everything in between. Read the article here.

#4. Gay Muslim Single Dad Writes Op Ed on His Path to Self Acceptance

Maivon Wahid writes about the challenges of reconciling three separate, but equally important, identities in an opinion piece for Gay Star News. Read the article here.

#5. One Gay Dad's Path Towards Realizing Being Gay and Christian are Not Mutually Exclusive

Gay dads Matt and David Clark-Sally talk about coming out, parenting as gay men, and reconciling faith and sexuality. Read the article here.

#6. Republican Utah Lawmaker, and Dad of Two, Comes Out as Gay in Moving Video

Nathan Ivie has many important identities he's proud of: Mormon, Republican, Utahn, father of two... and gay. Read the article here.

#7. How Coming Out Helped This Gay Man Find the Strength to Be a Dad

Steven Kerr shares the moment he came out to his ex-girlfriend. "From that moment on," he writes, "my strength and purpose have grown." Read the article here.

#8. Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. Read the article here.

#9. The Best Part of Coming Out, Says This Gay Dad, Is Being an Out and Proud Role Model for His Daughter

"I couldn't face myself in the mirror and think that I could be a good dad and role model for my child when I was lying to myself every moment of every day," said Nate Wormington of his decision to come out. Read the article here.

#10. These Gay Dads Via Previous Marriages Have Adopted a Motto Since Coming Out and Finding Each Other: "United We Stand"

Vincent and Richard both had children in previous marriages with women; together, with their ex-wives, they are helping raise seven beautiful kids. Read the article here.

Gay Dad Family Stories

These Adoptive Dads Gained an Extended Family Through Foster Care

Adoptive dads Edward and Andrew have maintained a close relationship with their twins' biological family.

Celebrating gay, bi and trans fatherhood is what we do on Gays With Kids. We rejoice in whatever paths our community took to become parents. But many of those journeys come with heartbreak, sometimes for the intended parents, and sometimes for the biological family from whom the adoption or foster placement occurs. With an open adoption, the adoptive and biological families come to an arrangement which best benefits the child, and that's when something truly beautiful can occur. This isn't always possible in every scenario, but when it does, we're exceedingly thankful. Can a child ever have too many family members loving them? Not likely. This was husbands of five years Edward and Andrew Senn's experience.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse