Gay Uncles

Gay Uncles are an Essential Part of This Gay Dad Family's Village

It takes a village to raise a child, and this village includes many gay uncles

In November last year, Ottawa-based husbands Matt Ottaviani and Rej Gareau (whose story we shared in July) became first-time dads through surrogacy. They were overjoyed to welcome their daughter Andy and become a family of three.

But as many of us know, raising a child isn't always just about the nuclear family. The African proverb "it takes a village to raise a child" is a commonly repeated phrase, and rings very true for many families. Matt and Rej are no different, and when they shared their story last month, one thing jumped out to us: the important role Andy's guncles play in her and her dads' lives.

In honor of Gay Uncles Day today, we reached out to Andy's many guncles to learn first-hand how their relationship with the family affects their lives. Here's what they had to say.


Matt, Rej and Andy with guncles Mark and Shawn

"Words cannot describe the affection that Shawn and I both have for Andy... and to a lesser extent Matt & Rej," joked Mark Bracko. He and his partner Shawn Boeyen love being part of Andy's extended village, watching her grow and witnessing many of her first experiences alongside Matt and Rej. "We knew that they would be fantastic dads, but watching them in action as they embrace fatherhood has been an awesome experience."

Additional guncles Andrew Smith and his partner Logan Marynissen are also besotted with young Andy. Their favorite thing is to try to get her to smile or squeal in excitement. "It's cathartic to forget about being an adult and make whatever face, sound - fart noise - or action that will make Andy laugh, clap, and smile," said Andrew. "Which isn't difficult. Andy is one happy, clappy, smiley kid."

"Being part of Andy's life is an incredible gift," continues Jason Bett. "It truly takes a village and being a guncle means that we get to be there to see her grow and hopefully play a role in helping her become a strong, fierce and loving person. We equally love to see the impact that Andy has on her dads and how she brings out the best in them."

Jason and Mike with Andy

Husbands Jason and Mike McGuire are proud dads to their 24-year-old son, and relish being part of Matt and Rej's guncle crew. Plus, as dads themselves, they are also ready to impart worthwhile parenting advice they've learned over the year. "The most important thing for us is that Matt and Rej know that they have a strong support system, which is all the more important because neither of them have immediate family in Ottawa," added Jason. "We feel like we are their family and they are ours."

"Andy's guncles have been so supportive to us initially in the process of becoming parents and now are regular babysitters, visitors, playmates to Andy and also spoil her - maybe too much," explains Matt. "They have continued to invite us all out and have been so welcoming of a new little one in our social circle."

Husbands and guncles Darryl Hol & Charlie Brenchley were quick to confirm that not much has changed in the mens' relationships with Matt and Rej since they became dads. "We still get all our hangs in, there's just now one more little member part of most of the hangs -- who loudly reminds us when she needs to be fed or a new diaper," says Charlie. "Matt and Rej have mastered the balance of becoming daddies and maintaining a flourishing social life."

Darryl and Charlie with Andy

As the most recent dads to the crew, Matt and Rej have paved the way for some of the friends - not all - to consider their own parenting journey. "The more gaybies the better!" says Charlie. "While we are not 100% sure that parenting our own children is in in our future, Andy's arrival is helping push us in that direction. Well, most of the time," he added quickly. "Acting as role models and caregiving for kids is super important to us."

While Shawn and Mark don't see fatherhood in their own future, they do understand the important role they have as guncles in their friends' lives, as godparents, and to family members. "Being there for the guys as well as Andy as she gets older. We want her to be comfortable in being able to pick up the phone and call or text us at a moment's notice if she has questions, concerns or just to talk."

"Maintaining a growing friendship and a support network that Matt, Rej and Andy can trust in and rely on," added Andrew, about their important role as friends to family of three.

Friends and guncles Andy, Brent and Chris with Rej and Andy


"Every member of her community has a role to play," adds Charlie. "We love being part of Andy's chosen family."

"We count ourselves lucky to be part of Andy's life," continues Jason. "She brings much joy to us and we are successfully creating a community of guncles that will be there for Matt, Rej and Andy for the years to come."

And the feelings are very much mutual. Matt shared how much their friends enrich their lives, teach Andy new things and just give their family love. "They really are the best. We are so lucky to have them in our lives. From Ottawa to Toronto to Montreal to Boston and many other parts around the world, Andy's gay uncles are everything!"

They have just one rule for their friends and Andy's guncles - "We have said it to the guncles before and we will say it again. We love you, but no glitter in the house."

Andrew and Logan with Andy


Show Comments ()
Popular

This Gay Uncle is on a Mission to Provide His Nieces and Nephews With as Much Culture as Possible

Mike Adank isn't a dad (yet!) but that isn't stopping him from introducing his nieces and nephews to all New York City has to offer.

Mike Adank, who lives in New York City, has been a "guncle" for 19 years to Dylan (19), Emma (17), Laura (12), Alex (8), Katie (6), and Lizzie (3). His Instagram account reveals him to be a fun uncle who thinks the world of his nieces and nephews, and someone eager to share with them his life and passions. He's attentive, enthusiastic, and, dare we say, probably the favorite uncle.

Last year for "Gay Uncles Day" he shared the post below on Instagram with his niece and nephew, with a caption that read: "who needs your own kids when you can just borrow your siblings'?!"

As much as Mike loves being an uncle, however, this message was a bit tongue and cheek: he's begun thinking about having his own family one day in the maybe not-so-distant future.

Mike is the manager of VIP guest experiences at Jujamcyn Theaters, a major Broadway landlord and producer. He lives and breathes Broadway, loves adventures and is a proud New Yorker.

Mike takes his status as a "guncle" seriously and has played a large role in his nieces and nephews lives since they were born. Although they live far away in Wisconsin, Mike travels back two or three times a year, and they make the most of their time together: hiking, camping, gossiping and eating. He also makes sure they see the annual summer musical in their hometown, and plans to give each of them a paid for ticket to New York upon their graduation from high school. "I want them to be well rounded and provide them with as much culture as possible," he said.

As a gay man, Mike also feels it's his responsibility to teach them about tolerance and respect. "Or at least demonstrate it and be an example of how successful you can be if you stay true to yourself and follow your dreams." Recently, he was an even prouder uncle when his niece stood up to a teacher who was allowing hate in the classroom.

Mike has been seeing someone whom he meet via Chappy for the past four months, and although everything is going very well, it's still too early to bring up the conversation of kids. But Mike has begun researching regardless as he's still open to being a single dad if he hasn't found someone who shares the same dream.

In terms of a choosing a path, Mike is keeping his options open even though he's very keen to become a foster dad."Fostering is at the top of my list," said Mike. "I love the idea of sharing my love and life with a child that may be experiencing some rough times, or may not have been as fortunate this far in their life. Everyone deserves to find that one person they can count on, look up to, learn from, and feel safe with, [when] they need it most." Ideally Mike would like to foster to adopt, but he'd also be happy just fostering those in need.

Becoming a dad doesn't come without some fear on Mike's part. And those fears are tied up with his sexuality. "I'm a little scared of them not liking me because I'm gay; I don't want them to feel short changed." But on the flip-side of his concerns, Mike knows that his sexuality could also be a real asset, and help him educate his children on the importance of compassion and love.

As Mike gets closer to celebrating an exciting milestone - the big 4-0 - which is still a couple of years away, he's getting more and more excited about fatherhood, but still wants to be young enough to have fun his kids. The goal is in 5 years time to not only be a fabulous guncle, but also a loving and doting dad. We're excited to watch this space!

Mike with his nephew Dylan

Gay Uncles

Happy 'Guncles' Day! Have You Thanked the Gay Uncle in Your Life?

To celebrate the important role gay men play in the lives of their nieces and nephews, check out these adorable pics below!

Two years ago, on August 14, the Internet lit up with the hashtag #GayUnclesDay, accompanied by countless adorable pictures of gay men beaming for the camera alongside their nieces and nephews. The social media sensation was all in good fun, of course, and we're supportive of any holiday that leads Olympic bobsledder Simon Dunn to post this picture on his Instagram, but it's worth noting that not every gay uncle felt celebrated that day:

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Uncles

As Male Role Models for Their Nieces and Nephews Lives, These "Guncles" Aren't Afraid to Show Some Femininity

These proud gay uncles are excited to be positive role models in the lives of their nieces and nephews


Shamar and Joshua Litvinoff met in college in Providence, Rhode Island, and have been together 6 years. On October 9, they will celebrate their third wedding anniversary. They are "guncles" to Shamar's thirteen biological nieces and nephews - Nathan, Yaya, Shamar, Chris, Mason, Ian, Eli, Chance, Jojo, Julanie, Lamaria, Naomi, and Destiny - and love spending time with them and often get the opportunity to do so as they don't live too far away.

Does the couple aspire to be more than "guncles" one day? Yes, but not right now.

Shamar (left) and Joshua

Early on in their relationship, the subject of kids was discussed as both Shamar and Joshua hope to one day become dads. "Neither of us wanted to waste our time in a relationship that could possibly go nowhere if the other felt differently about the idea of having kids," explained Shamar. But right now, their priorities are finishing school and then they'll begin to save for the substantial cost that is both becoming gay dads and raising kids. Their first choice would be to pursue surrogacy but they're also still considering adoption.

When it does become time for the Shamar and Joshua to focus on fatherhood, there's something else weighing on their minds other than just being gay dads. "My sexuality doesn't play into my fears more so than the fact that we are in a interracial relationship," explained Shamar. As he's become older, Shamar has learned to embrace who he is and his sexuality, but he's found that dating outside his own race has brought a whole new set of eyes looking at his and Joshua's relationship. And he's concerned that this judgement will continue towards their kids. "There is no place outside the home we share that I am never aware of people or the color of our skin."

However, the husbands are going to abide by one of RuPaul's life lessons and remind themselves that, "someone else's opinion of me is none of my business."

One of the things that the husbands are most looking forward to when they become dads is teaching their kids everything they know. Shamar and Joshua are also excited about what their kids will teach them!

For now, Shamar and Joshua will just soak up their fun responsibilities as the fun and doting uncles. Their relationships with their nieces and nephews is unique as they're the male figures in their lives that are not afraid of showing some femininity, believing it to be helpful to raise a well rounded person. "You get to see how kids experience life and how at one point you thought your sexuality would be the end all be all but actually is a very small part of your relationship," said Shamar.

These "guncles" are sharing their love with their nieces and nephews, and one day, they look forward to sharing it with their own kids. And before then they'll keep reminding themselves of these words of wisdom: "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell can you love somebody else."

Gay Dad Family Stories

These Dads Had 'Twins' — Just Four Months Apart

Angel and Dan's wanted twins, without the complications of a twin pregnancy — so they worked with two separate surrogates at once.

If you have ever been out late on a Saturday night, you may have high hopes of meeting a handsome stranger, but you probably wouldn't expect to meet your future husband. Angel Mario Martinez Garcia, 45, surely didn't when, five years ago on a very early Saturday morning in Barcelona, he casually approached Dan's Mouquet, 40, and asked him, over many gin and tonics, what he wanted out of life. The nightlife setting notwithstanding, Dan's told Angel he ultimately wanted a quiet life, with a partner and children.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics

Gestational Surrogacy Legalized in New York State

The Child-Parent Security Act, which legalizes commercial surrogacy in New York State, was included in the 2020 New York State Budget signed by Governor Cuomo

Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

"Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

"This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."


Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

Keep reading... Show less
Expert Advice

4 Tips for Single Gay Dads Raising Daughters

Here are some ways to create a safe space for your daughter to discover who she is, with you by her side.

There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

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