Kevin has covered art, politics and, yes, a lot of Kardashians, for Us Weekly, Playbill, and POZ. But his favorite subject is family. Kevin and his husband Brian, an adoption attorney, are the parents of two boys: Keith, born in April 2011; and Jason, born in April 2014. Kevin's parenting style is equal parts Ina Garten and Indiana Jones—he is still figuring it out.
I live in an area of Brooklyn where every Persephone, Fletcher and Cyrus has a parent ready with a humblebrag. And for the 5-and-under set, I’ve noticed the main boasting point is the variety of the child’s appetite. I call it “competitive eating.” The most popular boast involves sushi. A parent just casually mentions, “He goes through a whole dragon roll.” Or tosses off, “She has to have her unagi or she has a fit!”
On Saturday June 11 I was in my kitchen as the boys finished up their dinner. Our apartment faces mostly south with a nod to the west. In these summer months, when the sun sets after 8, an amber light suffuses our home. In that twilight my husband Brian shone like a god at my table. My boys, aged two and five, were little cherubs. And even the crust-shorn grilled cheese sandwiches they demanded and the dirty clothes they wouldn't change out of after the park. . . it all looked like magic.
I have certain Oh my gosh, I’m a total dad moments. And going to parent-teacher conferences is one of them. My oldest, Keith, is only in pre-K, but I bring it. I dress up, I ask questions, I get into it. The teacher and I sit across from each other in the very same little chairs where Keith and his fellow 4-year-olds sit to paint and draw. It’s like an absurd job interview.
I’m going to tell you a secret: Babies don’t need a lot of stuff. Now, if you are a compulsive shopper and you’re excited to be buying for two, bless you and move on. But I remember standing in the giant Babies “R” Us here in New York City, holding one of those registry guns and wondering if I could use it to shoot myself. The breaking point was crib sheets. I was the first of my friends to have a kid, and none of my nieces or nephews lived nearby. So I didn’t know what size crib sheet to order. And nobody was there to tell me, “Dude, the crib mattresses are standard size. Just pick ones you like and the sheets will fit.”
So, here I am to tell you, “Dudes, pick the ones you like. And choose ones that will make you smile when you’re changing them at 3 a.m.” If you’re ready for the secret cheat sheet of essentials that only gay dads get to know — whether you’re pursuing surrogacy or adoption — behold: The List.
If you are ever out on the streets of Brooklyn, you might hear my family coming. We are the ones with the two boys — one, 4 years old; the other, 21 months — scream-singing “Let It Go” for all to hear. Well, the younger one just repeats the only words he knows to the song” “Let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go.”
For years I covered celebrity news for Us Weekly. Many people thought it was a glamorous job, but honestly it was like being on Yearbook committee in high school. You write about dances and proms, but you’re never really in with the popular kids. But now, thanks to my children, I have a new sympathy for celebrities. Everywhere stars go, people stare and sometimes whip out phones to capture the sighting.
A few months back, I was at an awards dinner honoring Lee Daniels, the creative mind behind Empire (and a gay dad). Two of his stars, Jussie Smollett and Taraji P. Henson, presented the honor and gushed about Daniels’ influence on their lives. But Smollett, who had recently come out, was the most poignant. “I now know what it means to have an amazing, gay father,” he said, citing the director as his role model. "He's made me more of a truthful man.”