What Does Pride Mean to Gay Dads?
Gay dads reflect on how far we've come in the 50 years since Stonewall, and how far we have yet to go.
We caught up with 12 gay dads from across the country to ask them what pride celebrations mean to them as members of both the gay parenting and LGBTQ communities.
Aaron and Ben, Orlando, Florida
"It is so very important to me to feel represented. To see families I look like. To have my daughter interact with other LGBTQ families. To see allies stand strong with us. There is no hate. Only love."
Ben and Aaron celebrated Pride by attending the "Red Shirt Day " at Disney's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. "It's the perfect day and I'm thankful for those who have fought the fight to allow me to feel "normal" and heard."
Alex and David, Los Angeles, California
"Pride to me is about letting go of any internalized homophobia, remembering those who have paved the way for us to be out freely and safely — but most importantly, it's about spreading a message of "look how much better it gets" so the next generation knows that there is such a thing as a happy ending."
John and Corey, Michigan
"Pride to our family establishes the love and strong support with have with our community which allows us to shine our true colors as a family."
John and Corey are going on a 2-month adventure camping and exploring National Parks before they begin fostering again. They plan to take this opportunity to spend time bonding with their two sons, and chatting about Pride it what it means to their family.
Arin, Phoenix, Arizona
"Pride means to me honoring the people who sacrificed to build our equality foundation, supporting those who continue the work today, and raising diverse, open-minded humans to lead us in the future."
One way Arin celebrates Pride month is by learning about the leaders of the past like Marsha P. Johnson and Harvey Milk. "We read their stories and talk of their impact on our freedoms today."
Matt and Robert, Denver, Colorado
"50 years ago Pride started out as a riot. 10 years ago we never thought we would become parents - let alone being proudly out. But today we have the greatest gift we could have ever asked for with our daughter Claire. It truly shows how far we've come in acceptance and love. Marching with that in mind, our hope is to continue the message for those that were brave enough to share their voice so that they will continue to be heard - love wins."
Matt and Robert walked as dads for the first time, accompanied by their daughter, in the Denver Pride Parade.
Adam and Josh, Portland, Oregon
"To us, Pride means having our little gay family out, visible, and unabashedly proud. There aren't as many gay couples with adoptive gay teens out there, so we are happy to be an example of love, commitment, and being there for each other during good times and when life is at its most challenging. This year we celebrated pride by going to local events in Portland, and marching in the annual parade with The Living Room, an LGBTQ+ youth organization. The Portland Pride parade is extra special since it also falls on Father's Day, and our kiddo has 2!"
Dads Adam and Josh celebrated by walking with their son in the Portland Pride Parade.
Moses and Bob, Long Beach, California
"Pride = I'm a proud gay man for 36 years, a proud husband for 16 years, and a proud gay dad for 10 years. I came out at the age of 16. I was blessed to have had great gay role models that taught me to become the person that I'm today. I'm so proud to belong to a community that has struggled and fought for our rights to love who we wanna love."
Moses and his family celebrated Pride by marching in the Long Beach Pride Parade.
Sean and Spencer, Maplewood, New Jersey
"Being proud means to me being proud of my queer identity and of those who paved the way for us. I'm proud of being an openly gay, married, father to twin boys. I am proud to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community, which is a strong, diverse, loving community."
For the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, Sean and Spencer have been celebrating all month with their sons and attending different pride events in New Jersey and New York. "It is important for us to show our boys, that even at a young age, that having gay dads is something to celebrate and be proud of!"
James and Andrew, Washington Township, New Jersey
Photos by Tara Mander
"Pride is the chance to CELEBRATE… our family diversity. I often wish my younger self had the chance to meet me now, 20 years ago I never could have imagined I would be lucky enough to live the life I live. I have a husband that I adore, 3 beautiful children and I am a PROUD gay man who has much support from family and friends for just being who I am.
There are many who have come before us who fought for where we are today, PRIDE month is a chance to remember them and be thankful for what we do have and because of them I can be me, we can be us, we can be a family. There is still a long way to go, but PRIDE month is also a chance to set the foundation for our future… My hopes in showing our Family PRIDE is that the youth of today can see that LOVE truly does make a family and everyone, EVERYONE deserves that!!!"
This year James and Andrew celebrated Pride by attending their second annual Pride Parade in Philadelphia. "There was so much LOVE it was infectious!" said James about the day. "Our kids never looked happier, and it's so great to see more and more families that are like ours, come out and CELEBRATE!!!!"
Kunal and Jason, San Diego, California
"For us, Pride means to be proud in our skin and our true self and show our daughter that she can be anything, anyone she wants as long as she is nice to others. We also think Pride is still as relevant as 50 years ago. Of course huge strides have been made because of pioneers, but we still need Pride because people need to understand transphobia and homophobia is still rampant. And Pride is the answer to show everyone we still need to stand up against hatred."
Kunal and Jason are excited to walk in San Diego's Pride Parade next month as a family.
Kevin, Salt Lake City, Utah
"This month, my boyfriend Darin and I took the kids to see Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. It's a mile and a half hike from the road to the Arch. Together we helped the kids up the hill, climb over rocks and even carried the little ones on our backs when they were tired. At times Darin and I held hands and at the end of the hike we kissed under the 52 foot high arch in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Truly a picture perfect experience for us.
But we both recognize this experience may not have been possible without the many LGBT people and allies that fought for acceptance over the decades."
"So for me, Pride is gratitude for others who have worked hard to change a culture so we can be ourselves and have experiences like this without fear of how other people will react.
Kevin and Craig, Dallas, Texas
"Pride means love. Love of self, love for who God created you to be, love of your family and love of your family of choice. In our younger years, we never dreamed parenting was an option because we were gay. Now as fathers to a wonderful son, we are able to be examples of living out God's truth to the next generation."
Kevin and Craig celebrated Pride by taking their son to the family Pride event this year, as well as "celebrating our love for each other!"