Gay Dad Life

Why I Took My Three Year Old to Pride

Andrew Kohn explains the importance of taking young children to pride events

My daughter experienced her first Pride parade this weekend. We marched with my co-workers and the dedicated volunteers of Planned Parenthood in Columbus. I am a married gay man with two adopted black children. My daughter, the oldest at three, joined me, and my community, on a hot Saturday morning. We took the obligatory Facebook photos with the caption, “Let the liberal indoctrination begin.” I could feel the eye rolls of some of my more conservative family members. But for me, this was an important moment, not only for myself, but for helping to shape my daughter’s sense of community.

We live in rural Ohio. Our school district is wonderful, but is 97% white. We attempt to give our children a diverse experience, but it can be difficult. Wherever we go, we are the "other." Among our straight friends, we’re the gay ones. Among our gay friends, we’re the ones with kids. Among our friends with kids, we’re the gay dads with black kids.

So many well-intentioned community members talk about how someday my children will be so popular in school. I smile and say thank you. Internally, though, I’m wondering if they’ll be popular because they’re supposed to be great at sports? Or will they be loved because they have gay dads? Everyone knows that’s cool! Will they be popular because they are so dramatically outnumbered racially that they’ll become the token friend? Black kids with gay parents in a predominately white community are the "other" of the "other." Does that give them the ultimate “in?”

So, to Pride we went. Because it’s important that my daughter starts to see there is a beautiful and diverse community where she can thrive if our small village life becomes daunting. Her world may or may not be defined by Lilly Pulitzer, lacrosse, and local country club swim races. As a financially stable white gay man, to be honest, that’s my comfort zone. I’ve lost touch with Pride and my LGBT community. As a family, we’re in our own little routine. But I recognize that routine will have to expand to include situations that might make me uncomfortable to increase my children’s opportunities. So, we’ll start on the kiddie coaster and attend a parade.

The sights and sounds were as refreshing as ever. More inclusive then I remember, and the richer for it. On our morning walk, we saw a collective strength that reinvigorated my energy to engage and fight back against an oppressive administration. Ohio can be a wonderful place to live, but for many, it is a state that continuously tries to keep you down, instead of lifting you up. If what we saw walking in the parade was any indication, however, our community is strong. And the resistance is real.

On a shady grass-covered lawn stood a legion of women blowing horns more popular at soccer matches across Europe. They hailed our arrival, in the spirit of noble Valkyries heralding our welcome to Valhalla. Only these noble sirens were drowning out the hateful rhetoric of anti-gay men with megaphones. Their voices may have not been heard that day, but like so many in our community, they created a profound moment of dissent that echoed off the walls of our downtown.

A line of gorgeous men in gold speedos crossed out path carrying sound equipment to some unknown location. A young man, in the croppiest of crop tops, tipped his sunglasses and said in an everyday, matter-of-fact voice, “carry that equipment boys.” He said it. We were all thinking it. Some things at Pride never change.

And we’re the better because of it.

Young trans women stood in the blazing heat, waiting for the parade to launch. Their meticulous makeup melting in the sun. Their smiles strong. Maybe it was their first Pride parade, their moment to declare and introduce an authentic self to strangers and friends alike. When you’re younger, Pride is much more about “you.” As you get older, and are married with children, it becomes more about the progress of a larger community and what you can do to help those, who like you once were, are engrossed in the glam of gorgeous men and women.

As we walked the parade route, we were greeted with inspiring applause. Inspiring because as an employee of Planned Parenthood, it’s reassuring to know that people appreciate the care we offer. As a parent walking with a child, it was wonderful to let her experience so many different people, from women on motorcycles to men riding unicorns, and to relish in that acceptance. And inspiring in our current political climate, that our community and its allies can come together and still throw one hell of a party.

My daughter waved most of the parade, lifting the back of her hand, making circular motions in the air, Buckingham Palace style. Where’d she learned that? It’s a gay mystery.

To close out the morning, we sat in the shade and ate water ice. To her, nothing extraordinary. No pointing at people, no awkward avoidance, and a simple yearning to collect as many balloons as possible. Just another ordinary 3-year-old day. And while I wish she would stay this way forever, I know she’ll grow up. And it’s comforting to know my LGBT community remains strong, vibrant, and ready to stand with her, no matter what.


More from Andrew Kohn:

MommyDaddy: Like a Drag Queen at a Bridal Shower

Using the Words "Gay" and "Breastfeeding" and "Catholic" in the Same Sentence

Remembering our First Moments

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Gay Dad Life

How Canada's 'Gay Dollar' Helped This Gay Man Reflect on His Biggest Regret—Not Having Kids

Canada unveiled a 'gay dollar' coin earlier this year, helping Gregory Walters reflect on the progress the LGBTQ community has made—and his decision to forgo having children children

Earlier this year, Canada unveiled a rainbow-stripped coin dollar to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country's decision to decriminalize homosexuality. With the coins now firmly in circulation, Gregory Walters, who lives in Vancouver, wrote a moving essay for the Globe and Mail, expressing joy for how far Canada has come on the issue of gay rights, but how the coin is also a symbolic representation of the "greatest regret" of his life—his decision not to adopt children.

Gregory writes that he had hoped to adopt a child ever since his early career working with persons with developmental disabilities. "Several children I worked with were wards of the State of Texas," he wrote. "Their parents having relinquished all rights either owing to egregious acts of abuse or a lack of desire to raise someone with so many needs. There were days when I felt, 'If I could just take you home and raise you.' I knew there was a need for adopting persons with special needs but my own internalized homophobia got in the way yet again. Despite what is probably my own gift in working with children, I never felt worthy enough to be a parent. I always felt that if I were a gay dad it would create more of a liability for the child."

Gregory decision to forgo having children, he says, is his "greatest regret." While he takes responsibility for some of this decision, he also adds: "society's view of homosexuals and its opinions regarding gay adoptions also played a major part."

To critics of Canada's coin, some of who have said its a cheap political pander to the LGBTQ community, Gregory concludes with this thought:

"I don't care if the indulged majority who never had to question marriage or raising children or being secure in a job may feel the coin is frivolous. The coin isn't for them in the first place. It's an acknowledgment for those of us who repressed our true selves and felt oppressed. It is for gays who never lived to see rights and protections enshrined in law. It is for younger LGBTQ people to learn more about how far we've come and to gain a deeper sense of gay pride. For these reasons, the coin has value so much greater than any monetary designation. The coin represents both empowerment and normalization."

Read Gregory's full essay here.

Gay Dad Life

8 Pics of Ricky Martin Being an Adorable Dad Because Why Not?

Here's some pics of Ricky Martin being an adorable dad because we've ALL had a long week and deserve this don't we??

Earlier this year, in January 2019, superstar Ricky Martin and his husband Jwan Yosef shared a post via Instagram announcing that they'd welcomed a baby girl named Lucia into their family. With twin 9-year-old sons in the house as well, Ricky and Jwan now have a very full casa. Fortunately, the dads are giving us a little glimpse into their chaotic but fun-filled home lives via Instagram. We rounded up 8 of our fav recent parenting pics by the popstar because we've all had long weeks and we deserve this don't we??

Enjoy!

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Gay Dad Life

17 T.V. Shows Featuring Gay Dad Characters

Gay dads are all the rage on the small screen these days... here are 17 shows that prominently feature gay dad characters!

The 2019-2020 TV season will soon be upon us! In recent years, gay dad characters have been all the rage... will we see more representation this fall? We sure hope so! But in the meantime, we'll be content reviewing this list of 17 shows that have (somewhat) prominently featured gay dad characters!

Also we KNOW we're missing some, so drop us a line in the comments to tell us what we should add!

1. Grace & Frankie

In this Netflix original series, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston play gay dads who come out to their wives and children well past their primes. Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda play the ex-wives, rounding out the star-studded cast. Now in its fourth season, the show has been well received and sheds an interesting light on the complications involved with fathers who come out later in life.

Entertainment

How Fatherhood Has Impacted Tom Daley's Diving Career for the Better

British diver Tom Daley, and new-ish gay dad, is looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in South Korea.

British diver Tom Daley is currently in the running to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in South Korea, his fourth if he competes, at the young age of just 26.

But he also has another concern that most young gay men his age couldn't fathom—fatherhood. He and his husband, filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, recently welcomed Robbie Ray via surrogacy in June 2018.

In an interview with the Independent, Daley explained how fatherhood has changed his routine and training, which he says is often for the better.

"It has changed my life completely in all of the best ways possible," Daley said. "It has changed my perspective, the way I think about things. [My son] is the most important thing in my life, everything I do is for him, everything I think about he is at the forefront of everything."

With respect to his diving career, Daley continued, "if you have a bad day at training, or a good day, you are grounded immediately when you get home through the door because you are having cuddles or you are having to change a dirty nappy. It is the first time that I have been able to leave diving at the diving board and not think about what I need to the next day in the pool."

Whatever the challenges he faces while training, he said, "I can leave it there because you don't have time to think about diving when you are looking after a kid under one."

The strategy seems to be working in Daley's favor. He recently enjoyed his most successful FINA Diving World Series ever this past Spring in Canada, winning 12 medals across five events. And barring any major catastrophe, he is overwhelmingly expected to qualify for South Korea 2020.

And we can't wait to cheer the young dad on!

Change the World

One Gay Dad's Fight Against Hate in Superior, Nebraska

Brian Splater is refusing to let homophobic and transphobic elected officials in his town go unchecked

Millie B. Photography

Guest post written by Brian Splater

No one ever should feel they will have a very lonely and secluded life as a child. But that is something me and many other gay kids believe as they are growing up.

The truth of the matter is there are people who will try everything in their power to have our rights go back in time instead of forward. It is very disheartening when these people are elected officials, or they are people who use their place of employment to spread their disgust and hate.

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Politics

America's First Gay Dad Governor Heads Into the Lion's Den

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently became the first elected Democrat to speak at the annual Western Conservative Summit in Denver

Last Friday, American's first gay dad Governor, Jared Polis, became the first elected Democrat to speak at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, where he urged the Republican crowd to help him build a "Colorado for all."

"While we should never gloss over the things that divide us, there is a lot more that unites us," Polis said. "When we close ourselves off from discussion or debate, and we reject the possibility of hearing and understanding other perspectives, it threatens the fabric of our democracy."

If he was hoping for a Kumbaya moment, he didn't exactly get it. As he was called to the stage, he was greeted with a smattering of applause—while others booed and shouted for a "recall" of the Governor.

"It was almost unbearable for me to sit there to listen to his talk," Abby Johnson, one of the event's attendees, told the Denver Post. "And I'm going to tell you why. He kept talking about equality for all persons, yet we live in a society where 60 million innocent human beings have been slaughtered in the name of choice. Where is their justice? Where is their equal rights?"

Polis was also criticized from his left flank for attending the same event that refuses to let the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP members, participate—and that featured Donald Trump Jr. as a speaker the same day. "To me it feels like vanity," Katie Farnan, a staffer with progressive group Indivisible, told the Denver Post. "He can go and be a hip Democratic governor who isn't afraid to go into GOP sanctuary. Or maybe it's recall insurance. But unless he was there to hold them accountable for their support for fascist and racist policies, what's the point?"

In response to the criticism from both sides of the political aisle, Polis told the Colorado Sun: "I think it's very important that Coloradans of different ideologies, different races, different geographies, different orientations and gender identities all really celebrate that we're all part of what makes Colorado great."

The event is hosted each year by Colorado Christian University to bring together conservatives from around the state, and the larger West.

What do you think, dads? Was Polis's decision to speak at the event a savvy political move or mere pandering?

Entertainment

Hate Group Boycotts 'Toy Story' for Featuring Lesbian Moms—Hilarity Ensues on Twitter

"One Million Moms" announced a boycott of the latest Toy Story movie for *very briefly* featuring lesbian moms. Twitter's response was swift and hilarious.

One Million Moms, which is affiliated with the anti-LGBTQ American Family Association, recently called for a boycott of Toy Story 4 for (very, very briefly) featuring (interracial!) lesbian moms in the animated film. The angry, hateful moms affiliated with this group must have watched the film VERY closely because you could easily blink and miss the moment that apparently "blindsided" viewers.

The Internet reacted with a collective facepalm to the ridiculous boycott. Here are some of our favorite hilarious Twitter reactions to the hateful group:

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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