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


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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:

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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

Gay Dads Forced to Flee Russia Find Refuge in Seattle

After fleeing Moscow last spring, this family of four has started new lives for themselves in Seattle.

For almost ten years, Andrei Yaganov, 45, and his husband Evgeny Erofeev, 32, managed to live a fairly ordinary life in Moscow, Russia. The two men both held down respectable office jobs. And their two sons — Denis and Yuri, now 14 and 12 respectively — went to daycare and school without issue. Despite being headed by a same-sex couple in a country with notoriously aggressive laws and attitudes towards the LGBTQ community, the foursome went about their lives just like any other family.

Adoption by LGBTQ couples, like same-sex marriage, is illegal in Russia. But the couple managed to circumvent the ban by having Andrei adopt as a single parent. Andrei became only the third single man in Moscow, he was told during his placement process, to do so.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

'A Gay Man's Wife': One Couple's Co-Parenting Journey

The podcast 'A Gay Man's Wife,' explores how one woman makes her marriage to a gay man work for her — and their family.

Guest post written by Michael and Tawyne, hosts of A Gay Man's Wife

Michael: Growing up, I always knew I was different. I knew that what my family perceived as normal wasn't who I was. Only when I hit a certain maturity in my teenage years did I understand that I was gay. Still, I didn't know what that meant for me at the time. When I was 16 I met Tawyne (15) and immediately felt something that I didn't quite understand. She was wild like a tornado and captivated me. Throughout the first year of our friendship we fell in love.

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Politics

Supreme Court to Hear Major Case Concerning LGBTQ Foster Care Parents

The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether cities are allowed to exclude tax-funded adoption agencies from foster care systems if they refuse to work with gay couples.

In 2018, city officials in Philadelphia decided to exclude Catholic Social Services, which refuses to work with LGBTQ couples, from participating in its foster-care system. The agency sued, claiming religious discrimination, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit unanimously ruled against the agency, citing the need to comply with nondiscrimination policies.

The case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, follows a 2018 Supreme Court decision regarding a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. In that case, the court narrowly ruled that the baker bad been discriminated against, on religious grounds, by the state's civil rights commission. It did not decide the broader issue: whether an entity can be exempt from local non-discrimination ordinances on the basis of religious freedom.

The court — whose ideological center has shifted to the right since the addition of Justice Brett Kavanaugh in fall 2018 — may choose to do so now. Advocates quickly called on the court to consider the potential impact on the more than 400,000 children currently in the foster care system:

"We already have a severe shortage of foster families willing and able to open their hearts and homes to these children," said Leslie Cooper, deputy director of the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project. "Allowing foster care agencies to exclude qualified families based on religious requirements that have nothing to do with the ability to care for a child such as their sexual orientation or faith would make it even worse. We can't afford to have loving families turned away or deterred by the risk of discrimination."

"It is unconscionable to turn away prospective foster and adoptive families because they are LGBTQ, religious minorities, or for any other reason unrelated to their capacity to love and care for children," said HRC President Alphonso David. "We reject the suggestion that taxpayer-funded child welfare services should be allowed to put discrimination over a child's best interest. This case could also have implications for religious refusals that go far beyond child welfare. The Supreme Court must make it clear that freedom of religion does not include using taxpayer funds to further marginalize vulnerable communities."

The court may choose to override a 1990 decision, Employment Division v. Smith, which created the current standard for carving out religious exemptions. In that case, the court ruled that laws that target a specific faith, or express hostility towards certain beliefs, are unconstitutional — but this standard has long been abhorred by religious conservatives, who think it doesn't offer enough protections for religions. If the court does overrule Smith, it could have far-ranging consequences. " As noted on Slate, "it would allow anyone to demand a carve-out from laws that go against their religion, unless those laws are 'narrowly tailored' to serve a 'compelling government interest.'"

The four members of the court's conservative wing — Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh —have all signaled an openness to reconsider Smith. The ruling's fate, then, likely rests in the hands of the court's new swing vote, Chief Justice Roberts.

For more, read the full article on Slate.

Gay Dad Life

Dads Tell Us Their 'Gayest Moment Ever' as Parents

We may be dads — but we're still gay, dammit! And these "gayest moments ever," sent to us from our Instagram community, prove it.

Did your child know all the lyrics to Madonna songs by age 3? Do your kids critique all the red carpet lewks from the Tony Awards? Do you often have baby food, diapers, sparkling white wine, gourmet appetizer, and fresh cut flowers in your shopping cart — all in one trip? If you answered 'yes' to any of the above, you just might be... a gay dad.

We asked the dads in our Instagram community to share their gayest moments as a dad, ever, and their responses were just as hilarious as they were relatable.

Here's a great way to start the week...

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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