Change the World

In This Beautiful Coming Out Letter, a Gay Dad Reconciles Faith, Family and Sexuality

36-year-old Travis is a recently single father of five, a man of faith, and a soldier currently stationed in South Korea with the US Army. Travis is also gay. As a one-time follower of the Mormon faith, Travis battled for years with his sexuality. His former wife, Rachelle, who has been a pillar of strength and support through Travis coming out, knew he was gay for the entirety of their marriage. They both did. But like many others, they thought their marriage was something they could make work based on their beliefs.

Travis admires Rachelle greatly: as a fiercely protective and supportive mother, but also as his own rock during this difficult time. Their children are surrounded by love and support, and still view themselves as a family. From this experience, Travis and Rachelle are teaching their children to be open and honest, and to know that they will always be loved and supported. The family currently lives in Arizona while Travis is stationed abroad.

To help in his coming out process, Travis wrote this public post below to share how he's reconciled his sexuality with his family and his faith. In his own words, here's Travis' coming out letter, which you can also read on his own blog.

This bridge near Monterey has meaning to me. Ten months ago, Rachelle, the kids, and I had an impromptu family picture here (pictured below). It was a beautiful shot. The moment seemed happy.

But there was so much pain that the picture didn't capture. I was at the darkest point of a lifelong conflict. And the darkness wasn't just affecting me; it was taking such a toll on those other people in that picture.

The conflict? It starts with my being Mormon. I loved my faith. Mormonism was a part of who I was. It was true. It was how I would get back to God. I learned and believed this, starting as a child. But I also learned when I was young that this was not the case for someone who was gay. They didn't go back to God. So, quietly and internally, I battled for years. I had to change. Because I wasn't just Mormon; I knew pretty early on that being gay was also a part of who I was.

But I loved and wanted to be with God. I'd do what it took. So the conflict became about making one part of my identity go away. That effort lasted for a decade.

It transitioned when I felt God tell me to stop trying to change. So I did. I accepted that being gay wasn't going to go away, and the conflict then became about reconciling. The teaching of my faith was still clear that marriage to a woman was what God wanted of me. My best guess, my best effort to make sense of it, was that with enough faith and selflessness and love, it could work.

So, with all the faith I had, I married Rachelle. She was my best friend. I loved her.

For a decade+, there was so much goodness. God gave us the most perfect set of five kids ever put into two parents' arms. Life had joy. We were so blessed.

But there was also a difficulty—a haze that lingered and hurt.

Rachelle and I worked for years on making these two parts of my identity work. Together, we shared tears, prayers, fasting, and attempts to reach out—it felt like we did it all. Endless, enervating, and earnest effort was just a part of our story. We were following God, though, so it would soon work out.

But soon wasn't arriving. And eventually that haze became a darkness—one that slowly and cyclically grew.
Around the time that picture was taken, the darkness had gotten so bad that, for the first time in my life, I began to question whether what I'd learned from my faith about being gay was actually of God.

And that's when I feel that God began to speak to me. And He spoke to Rachelle. I felt His love and acceptance over all parts of my life in a way that was transformative. A spiritual transition began. I no longer saw my identity as being in conflict at all.

A different set of changes happened. Mormonism remains a part of who I am; it imbues my faith and my approach to God. But I am no longer Mormon. And while Rachelle and I are no longer a couple, we still view ourselves as a family with our children. She is my hero. She saved me. She's the one who had the strength to listen to God and make the difficult decisions when I was stuck too deep in a dark cycle. I love her more than ever. Our children are my joy. I see my future in them. And this all makes us a family still.

The darkness has faded. I now view myself as whole and learning everyday more about myself and God. This is how life should be. Life is supposed to be about arriving at a place that makes us happy.

My family came to know intense hurt during this process. But we have a rule: We let the hurt out, we let it be what it is, and then we surround it with love. Because love is what makes a family.

Looking back, life always seemed to be two parts that were unable to be connected. But bridges are a thing. They connect the unconnected. And love—God's love, Rachelle's love, and eventually my love for myself—became that bridge for me.
This is why this bridge has meaning to me. It used to remind me of darkness. Now, I see love.

Show Comments ()

Take a Virtual Tour of The Homes of These Famous Gay Dads

Many famous gay dads — including Neil Patrick Harris, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Ricky Martin — have opened up their homes to fans on the pages of Architectural Digest.

In each issue, Architectural Digest offers a peak into the homes of different celebrities. In recent years, they've featured the homes of several famous gay dads. Check out the videos and stories the magazine pulled together on the beautiful homes of Neil Patrick Harris, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Ricky Martin below!

Keep reading... Show less
Children's Books

New LGBTQ-Inclusive Children's Book Asks: What Makes a Family?

A new children's book by Seamus Kirst follows a young girl's journey of emotional discovery after she is asked which of her two dads is her "real dad."

Editor's note: This is a guest post from Seamus Kirst, author of the new LGBTQ-inclusive children's book "Papa, Daddy, Riley."

Throughout my life, I have discovered that reading provides an almost miraculous way of changing the way I think.

There is no medium that better offers insight into the perceptions, feelings and humanity of someone who is different from us. Through reading we become empathetic. Through reading we evolve. I have often emerged from reading a book, and felt like I was changed. In that, even in this digital age, I know I am not alone.

As children, reading shapes how we see the world. The characters, places, and stories we come to love in our books inform us as to what life might offer us as we grow up, and our world begins to expand beyond our own backyards.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Photo Essays

Interested in Foster Care? These Amazing Dads Have Some Advice

As National Foster Care Month comes to a close, we rounded up some amazing examples of gay men serving as foster care dads, helping provide kids with a bright future.

Every May in the United States, we celebrate National Foster Care Month. With over 437,000 children and youth in foster care, it's our honor to take a look at some of the awesome dads in our community who are opening their hearts and their homes, and providing these kids with a bright future.

Thinking about becoming a foster parent? Check out these resources here, and visit AdoptUSKids.

Meet the Foster Dads!

Keep reading... Show less
Transracial Families Series

This Transracial Family Relies on a 'Support Group' of African American Women

Puerto Rican dads Ferdinand and Manuel are raising a daughter of Jamaican descent — and love to find ways to celebrate their family's diversity

Our second feature in our transracial family series. Read the first one here.

Ferdinand Ortiz, 39, and his husband Manuel Gonzalez, 38, have been together for 7 years. In 2017, they became foster dads when they brought their daughter, Mia Valentina, home from the hospital. She was just three days old at the time. On December 13, 2018, her adoption was finalized.

Mia is of Jamaican and African American heritage, and her dads are both Puerto Rican. When Manuel and Ferdinand began their parenting journey through the foster care system, they received specific training on how to be the parents of a child whose race and culture was different from their own. "We learned that it's important to celebrate our child's culture and surround ourselves with people who can help her be proud of her culture." However, as helpful as this training was, the dads agreed that it would've been beneficial to hear from other transracial families and the type of challenges that they faced.

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

How the Shut Down Opened Me Up to Being a Better Dad

David Blacker's dad used to tell him to 'stop and smell the roses' — the shut down has led him to finally take the advice

"Stop and smell the roses." It was the thing my dad always said to me when I was growing up. But like many know-it-all kids, I didn't listen. I was determined to keep my eye on the prize. Whether it was getting good grades in school, getting my work published, scoring the next big promotion, buying a house or starting a family. For me, there was no such thing as resting on my laurels. It has always been about what's next and mapping out the exact course of action to get me there.

Then Covid.

Ten weeks ago, I — along with the rest of the world — was ordered to shelter-in-place... to stop thinking about what's next, and instead, focus on the here and the now. In many ways, the shut down made me shut off everything I thought I knew about being content and living a productive life. And so, for the first time in my 41 years, I have literally been forced to stop and smell the roses. The question is, would I like the way they smell?

Keep reading... Show less
Transracial Families Series

How This Transracial Family Creates a 'Safe Space' to Talk About Their Differences

Kevin and David know they can never understand what it's like growing up as a young black girl — but they strive to create a 'safe space' for their daughters to talk about the experience

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of ongoing posts exploring issues related to transracial families headed by gay, bi and trans men. Interested in being featured as part of the series? Email us at

Is adopting a child whose race and culture is different from your own something that us queer dads need to talk about? Share our experiences? Learn from others? We've been hearing from our community, and the answer has been a resounding, "yes."

With over one-fifth (21.4%) of same-sex couples raising adopted children in the United States today (compared to 3% of different-sex couples), it's highly likely, at the very least, that those families are transcultural. According to April Dinwoodie, Chief Executive of The Donaldson Adoption Institute, Inc., all adoptive families are transcultural. "All, in my opinion, adoptions are transcultural because there are no two families' culture that is exactly the same, even if you went as far as to get very specific about the family of origin and the family of experience and almost make it cookie-cutter … no two families operate the same."

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Movie Night: My Favorite Family Tradition

As his sons have gotten older, the movies have morphed away from cartoons and towards things blowing up — but movie night remains his favorite family tradition.

Editor's Note: This is the next 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 his 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!

Of all of our traditions and rituals, probably the most consistent and longest-lasting one was movie night. Sure, we read the heck out of Harry Potter. But our capacity for watching Harry Potter? We're talking Quidditch World Cup here, folks.

In its early version, movie night looked like this: During the week, I would order a movie and a cartoon from Netflix—back when "Netflix" meant "mail." On Saturday night—and I mean, faithfully, every Saturday night—we would order a pepperoni pizza (which Mark faithfully took the meat off of—I'll get to food later) for delivery and then sit and watch our cartoon and movies while eating. The kids had a say in the movie, but I got to pick the cartoon. They watched enough of their own cartoons on the regular, and besides, this gave me a great opportunity to introduce them to the wonders of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Josie and the Pussycats.

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