Gay Dad Life

The Year of Living Dangerously: Brexit and Trump


Guess what – it was my birthday last week! You know what I got as a present? President Donald J. Trump! As you can imagine, this was one of those presents where you just can’t muster the Oscar-winning talent to fake a smile. In short, I was devastated. But who am I kidding? We all were.

For us Brits, this was the second big slap in the face of the year after the UK voted to leave the EU. How sad that the year my son Felix was born in the most progressive and un-conservative way, there is a lurch from the western world back into conservative rightwing darkness.

When the Brexit vote happened it was a wakeup call. I realised I’d been living in a bubble and outside the air was toxic. What happened across the Atlantic admittedly doesn’t feel as close. But it is close, because America has the power to affect the course of the world’s evolution.

Take the George W. Bush administration, for example. I remember my housemate at the time, James, calling while I was in a shopping mall to tell me that the World Trade Centre had been attacked. I ran to the nearest electronics store and watched the twin towers collapse on multiple screens in the store's window display. The world changed.

The Republicans called on world leaders to join them in a war against the Islamic world, which they labelled the “axis of evil”. This kind of rhetoric gave way to a “with us or against us” era of bullying on a global scale.

The UK joined the fight under false finger-pointing to weapons of mass destruction. France refused, so McDonald’s restaurants in the US changed "french fries" to "freedom fries." (Yes, really.)

The U.S. took down Iraq and before you could say "inconvenient truth," Saddam Hussein had been put to a quick death. Years of Islamophobia followed, with Muslims taking their place in the tabloid press as the panto villains of the 21st century, because hate sells more papers than truth.

Then Barack Obama came along and won the presidency. He had a message to those who had been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful: That they should "put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.”

What amazing words these were. I mean, really, has anyone else spoken to the world with such profoundness in our lifetime?

When he took to the stage in Chicago and gave that speech he did something we needed for so long: he put an end to our anger. We were all so tired, but he found a way to dazzle us. And for the first time in years, we could relax and feel safe knowing we were in good hands. He may not have pleased everyone during his time in office, but the world sure does feel like a nicer place with President Obama's leadership.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

When Trump announced in his campaign that he wanted to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., I thought he’d shot himself in the foot. Instead, his ratings surged. I remember saying to my mum recently that we’d had too easy a time with Obama and the world was due for another period of darkness. Well, here it is folks. Trump is next in line to the White House and the shadow is already consuming everything, with protestors currently outside Trump Tower and a rise in racial attacks. Planned Parenthood will take a beating too. I’m just so happy I already had Felix and got the hell out of there!

I've heard many people exclaim that the same underlying cause is behind both Brexit and Trump's surprise election victory: Disenfranchised people totally fed up with their political system.

But when in history have people not felt disenfranchised? This is the nature of a system that allows the few to govern the many. It's impossible to please everyone! For example, as a single father I want to be entitled to a parental order for my son, but I'm not because until there is enough need for it, it won't even be debated in Parliament. So I feel disenfranchised! Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we should put up and shut up. But I would never challenge the system by voting in someone like Trump to take down the establishment altogether because, for all its faults, we need it.

That said, I’d rather him than, say, Ted Cruz. Nothing could be more dangerous than a man who thinks he’s in the Oval office by God’s will.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, Wikipedia

Trump wouldn’t be interested in God’s opinion unless God said something nice about him, because all he wants is to be popular. His bromance with Putin only developed because Putin complimented him, but in the process Trump's cosying up to a homophobic old-style-Soviet politician whose tactical mind is far superior to his own. What if the US ends up on the same side with President Assad in Syria? It will destroy America’s relationship with the Middle East for generations. Young Syrians will once again grow up in anger, playing children's games under the shadow of drones and becoming ripe for radicalisation.

But Trump doesn’t care about any of this. He doesn’t care if my son or the kids of anyone reading this are caught in the blast of a terrorist attack in the London Underground or on the Paris Metro as revenge for America’s foreign policy. Why? Because he just wants to be adored. This is exactly what a world leader should not be. Instead, he should put his country’s best interests before his own.

I do offer one glimmer of hope: Republicans could step up after all the glitter of the election win has settled and demand Trump act in a way that turns people against him, and then Trump would realize that there’s actual work to be done, I could really imagine him telling them to go f&*k themselves.

But even if he did turn out to be an enemy of the Republicans, I’d still think he was vile. This is one reason so many Americans are devastated now. I’ve never been one for US patriotism, but I do sincerely believe it is one of the greatest nations in the world and I’m proud that my son was born there, through the support and kindness of doctors, nurses, scientists and lawyers that barely raised an eyebrow at such an alternative way to create life. And to go from the founding fathers through the abolition of slavery and the Great Depression and the subsequent growth, only to arrive at a man that boasts about grabbing women by the pu**y, is nothing short of heartbreaking.

So to my American friends, of whom there are many, I want to tell you that I know exactly how you feel. We had the same love for our membership of the EU and it was ripped from our hands by the evil on our doorstep. At first you will feel hurt. Then you'll feel anger. Then comes defiance and refusal to accept the decision, looking for something, anything, in the legal system that will provide a loophole. But slowly over time the news will lessen its coverage and go back to reporting on other stories, and the realism of President-Elect Trump will set in as life goes on. You are not alone in this journey. You are supported by friends across the Atlantic. But on your home turf just look to Hillary Clinton, who I thought conceded with such grace, and remember what she said:

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, Wikipedia

“…the rule of law, the principle that we are equal in rights and dignity, freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values too and we must defend them."

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

How Single Dads Are Celebrating Valentine's Day This Year

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Within our community, GWK has a large group of admirable, active, and awesome (!) single dads and we want to honor them! On Valentine's Day, they and their kids celebrate their family unit in the sweetest possible ways. We asked the dads to share these moments with us, and, where possible, one of the most heartwarming things they've experienced with their kids on Valentine's Day to date.

Hear their stories below.

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You're the peanut butter to my jelly, the gin to my tonic, the strawberries to my cream, the Mr. to my Mr.!

Happy Valentine's Day folks! We're excited to celebrate this day of lurrrrvvve by featuring a few dads in our community who've been together for almost a decade or more! And they're ready to share their secrets to a successful relationship and parenting partnership.

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News

What's it Like to Be a Child of the 'Gayby Boom'?

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We've previously written about the pressure on LGBTQ parents to appear perfect, given that so many in the United States still feel out families shouldn't exist in the first place. And we know this pressure trickles down to our kids. But In an article for the Harvard Business Review titled 'The Gayby Boom Is Here to Stay," author Tosca Langbert eloquently writes, from her perspective, about the experience of beingone of the first children to come of age during an era when LGBTQ parenthood is far more commonplace. She and her two siblings, she notes, "were raised in a family that was an impossibility only decades ago."

In the article, Langbert said she knew from a young age that her family was different from those of most of her peers, who had one a father and a mother. But otherwise, she writes, she didn't feel like her family differed much. "Like any other parents, Dad sat in the carpool lane after school and taught us how to ride our bikes," she writes, "while Papa took us to the movies on the weekends and separated the whites from the colors."

Despite this mundanity, her family remained something to marvel at for much of her youth. When the family moved into a new neighborhood in 2006, it made the local newspaper, with a headline titled, "Gay Father Tests Tolerance in the Park Cities."

She and her siblings have spent much of their lives, she explained further, having to respond to the question: what's it like having two gay dads? For Langbert, there is only one correct response, which is: Amazing! "Any other response, even if simply accounting for a family's nuanced experience, might as well be an outright admission of failure on behalf of the entire LGBTQ community," she wrote.

Children of the 'Gayby Generation,' are also put in the position of having to come out on behalf of their parents, and "often with mixed results," she wrote. She gave the following anecdote as an example:

"My father was asked to step down from his leadership position in my brother's Boy Scout troop on account of his sexuality. Even though my siblings and I were only fourth graders at the time, we understood that our family was under strict scrutiny, and that even the slightest misstep could beget severe consequences for how competent our fathers were perceived as being. In the face of this pressure, the first generation of 'gaybies' recognized the importance of presenting their families as perfect; doing otherwise would only present ammunition to those already dubious about the rights of LGBTQ parents to raise children."

The entire article, which includes the perspectives of multiple now-grown kids that are part of the "Gayby generation," is well worth a read, which you can access here.


Politics

Utah Bill Would Allow Gay Men to Enter Surrogacy Contracts

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The bill, sponsored by Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, a Democrat, was created in response to a ruling by the Utah Supreme Court this past August that found the ban on gay men unconstitutional.

Gay men have been excluded from legally entering surrogacy contracts due to a provision in the current law that requires medical evidence "that the intended mother is unable to bear a child or is unable to do so without unreasonable risk to her physical or mental health or to the unborn child," Rep. Arent told the Salt Lake Tribune — a requirement that clearly excludes gay male couples.

The state's original surrogacy law dates back to 2005, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the state, which accounts for the gendered language. Though the state's Supreme Court already ruled the provision unconstitutional, Rep Arent further told the Tribute that, "People do not look to Supreme Court opinions to figure out the law, they look to the code and the code should be constitutional."

Politics

Colorado Republicans Try and Fail to Outlaw LGBTQ Marriage and Adoption Rights

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If enacted, the bill would have enforced "state law that marriage is between one man and one woman" and restrict "adoption of children by spouses in a marriage ... that consist of one man and one woman."

The bill, which had little chance of success, particularly in Colorado which has trended more progressive over the past several election cycles, was mostly symbolic, according to Sanridrge. "We all know this bill isn't gonna pass in this current left-wing environment," he told Colorado Public Radio. "It's to remind everyone, this is the ultimate way to conceive a child."

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Though the bill had little chance of passage, LGBTQ advocacy groups in the state are taking the threats seriously nonetheless. Daniel Ramos, director of the LGBTQ group One Colorado, told LGBTQ Nation that the bills were an attempt to return Colorado to its "hate status" of the 1990s, adding the aggressiveness of the measures were "a bit surprising."

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Dads Talk About Surrogacy Process in New Video for Northwest Surrogacy Center

The Northwest Surrogacy Center interviewed some of their gay dad clients for a video to celebrate their 25th anniversary of creating families through surrogacy!

Image: NWSC Clients

Last year, Northwest Surrogacy Center celebrated 25 years of helping parents realize their dreams. And they celebrated in style by inviting the families they've worked with over the past two and a half decades to join them!

At the party, they took the opportunity to film queer dads and dads-to-be, asking them a couple of questions: how did it feel holding your baby for the first time, and tell us about your relationship with your surrogate.

Watch the video below and get ready for the water works!

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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