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Posts From Gay Dads That Remind Us What the Holidays Are Really About

Three gay dads took to social media to remind us the true reason for the season.

With all the marketing and consumerism we are bombarded with in our daily lives - even more so around the holidays - it can be quite commonplace to forget the true reason of the season. And everybody's reason can be different, but the true emphasis is on celebrating our loved ones, cherishing the special moments, and giving as opposed to receiving. Here are three dads whose social media posts reminded us, about the true spirit of the holidays.

Happy Holidays everyone!


"Merry Christmas my babies"

Michael Duncan lives in Winston-Salem, NC, where he moved eight years ago after separating from the U.S. Navy. "After serving overseas in the military, it was important for me to have a family of my own," shared Michael. "I had seen so much violence, missed so many holidays and experienced a lot of loss as a widow." Michael's late husband, whom he had met at age 5 in Kindergarten, was killed on their one year anniversary. "We had promised to start a family together," continued Michael. "He bought me a "Father's Day Card" for our anniversary which was his way of telling me he remembered our promise to one another."

Michael kept waiting to find another love but after years in the Navy, he decided he could no longer wait and started the journey to fatherhood on his own. "I started working with our local Department of Social Services to foster. I was approved as a foster parent and my sons were my first placement in my home. We fell in love with one another and really clicked from the very first moment we met. I started the process of adoption and 14 months later welcomed them into our forever home."

Reading Michael's Facebook post above, is a wonderful reminder of the important things in life, and for many of our families, it can be having an adoption finalized, a foster journey moving forward, or a family last name being formalized.

"Holidays for me is about family! Having children of my own to share my life and traditions with," says Michael. "Giving love to others as a family unit and ensuring we bless those around us who are in need. It is the simple acts of love that matter most in our home."

***

“With your support, we are donating over $90,000 to the beneficiaries including over 2,500 teddy bears to Children's Health!"

Jason Hanna, dad of twin boys through surrogacy and husband to Joe, lost his mother after a courageous fight with lung cancer. When they first found out about her diagnosis, Jason sprang into action. "In honor of the battle she was just beginning, I wanted to do something to give her the strength to push through all of the treatments, so I did a teddy bear drive and donated those teddy bears to children in the local hospital who were going through the same type of treatment."

Sadly the first event of its kind in 2011 was the only one Jason's mother was able to attend before she became very ill and passed away only a few months later, but her legacy continues to live on year after year. "We continue the Teddy Bear Party in memory of her and all of the other loved ones lost or impacted by cancer while we continue to advocate for the LGBTQ community and our families."

Since 2011, it's been incredible to see the Teddy Bear Drive grow every year and see the kiddos that benefit. "These teddy bears comfort each kiddo throughout their hospital journey and for years to follow."

"For our 'Magical Victorian Christmas' we had 60 kids come and receive first from Mr. & Mrs. Claus from our kids toy drive" 

Brian Splater and Austin Karnatz became dads when they adopted their great-niece and great-nephew in 2018. The family of four live in Superior, Nebraska, and call a very important local landmark home. "Since we live in an 1885 Victorian home and one of the, if not the, most iconic home in our town, we decided to have an Annual Magical Victorian Christmas Open House. Since our kids knew Santa would be there they wanted him to hand out gifts to the underprivileged kids in our community. That is how "E and J's Magical Toy Drive" began. We thought we'd get 30 USED toys but we ended up with 275 NEW toys on 18 days!"

They family ended up with so many toys left over, their 8-year-old daughter suggested they give them to sick kids, and so the family drove to the Children's Hospital in Omaha to deliver the 183 new toys. Their act of kindness caught the attention of WOWT6's local news anchor, Brian Mastre, who met them at the hospital. (Watch the clip here.)

But this family's kindness doesn't stop there. They have started a page called Ambassadors of Kindness. "We created the page to share everyone's acts of kindness they witness or do. Because of the toy drive, it inspired us to create the page."

We look forward to following along with this family and their future acts of goodwill and kindness - something so important, not just around the holidays.

***

Share your own story, or someone else's, of kindness or holiday cheer, and we'll share to our social pages.

Happy Holidays to all!

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Painful Christmas Taught This Dad the Meaning of Home

Erik Alexander spent Christmas 2005 in Los Angeles after being displaced from his New Orleans home after Hurricane Katrina — it was a painful experience, but one that taught him the meaning of home.

Everything that happens in our lives is meant to teach us something. These experiences — good, the bad, and the ugly —accumulate to help us grow into the people we are. I see how true this is with each passing day.

In 2005, my life was turned upside down. Katrina blew everyone's life to hell and then we had to pick up what was left and learn to live again. After becoming a 'refugee' in Memphis, I decided to move out west because I had always wanted to live in LA. I had stars in my eyes and dreams of making it big. FEMA money in my pocket, I loaded up my little blue Mazda Protege and started my journey across the country to become a famous pop singer. It was just after Thanksgiving when I moved, and I was lucky enough to have a couple of sweet friends to meet up with when I arrived. Christmas time was quickly approaching, but I wasn't ready for it.

Y'all, I loooove the Holidays. I always have. There are so many things about this time of year that are special to me... the decorations, the cheerful people, and most of all my family. I didn't realize how big of a role family played until I moved. I had to relearn how to enjoy Christmas.

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

These Dads and Kids Came to Sleigh (Their Santa Photos)

Our annual roundup of gay dads and their kids sleighing their family photo with Santa!

Christmas is never complete without trekking to your local mall for a quick pic with Santa! And these dads and their kids didn't disappoint. Check out this photo essay of gay dads and their kids serving some major lewks alongside Saint Nick!

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Entertainment

Christmas Movie Has Gay Dads In One Version — Straight Parents In Another

Two Christmas movies from 2004 are identical in every way — except one very queer one.

Tis the season for made-for-T.V. Christmas movies that you will likely never see — but some sleuths on Twitter found at least one good reason to pay attention to two of them: Too Cool For Christmas and A Very Cool Christmas, which both came out in 2004, are exactly the same in every way, except one version cast gay dads as the parents of a 16-year-old girl, while the other swaps out one of the husbands for a wife.

The gay version (Too Cool for Christmas) is available on Amazon Prime, while the straight one (A Very Cool Christmas) trades out one of the gay dads for a female actor and is on Hulu.

The plot of the movie is nothing spectacular. A teenaged girl wants to go on a ski trip with friends over the holidays rather than spend time with her family. (Will she learn a valuable lesson along the way? Watch to find out!)

Both films were directed by an out gay man, Sam Irvin, who spoke to Buzzfeed about the reasons behind filming two versions:

"Back in those days, there was a little bit less open-mindedness to having gay characters. [Filmmakers thought] they would have better chances of selling [the straight version] to those more lucrative markets, but also be able to do an alternate version."

Irving said at the time, during the late 1990s and early 2000s, he worked closely with Here TV, an American television network for LGBTQ audiences — but that it was difficult to get funding to finance entire movies on an LGBTQ platform. So they created two versions in order to make the project possible.

"The executives at these companies decided, if we could have some gay content in a movie that could run on Here TV that would satisfy our subscribers that are expecting gay content, but we could also repurpose it and do a quote-unquote straight version and try to sell that to Lifetime or those types of networks, that would be beneficial," Irving told Buzzfeed.

Twitter, of course, had a field day posting videos of the two versions running side-by-side with the Freaky Friday parent switch:

Others wondered what it would be like to have "choose your adventure" casting options for everything we watched:

Despite all the fun at the expense of these movies, we give major props to anyone willing to go to lengths such as these to increase positive representation of gay dads in the media — particularly back in 2004!

News

What's it Like to Be a Child of the 'Gayby Boom'?

Tosca Langbert, who grew up with two dads, writes a piece for the Harvard Business Review about what it's like being among the first children of the "Gayby Boom" to come of age.

We've previously written about the pressure on LGBTQ parents to appear perfect, given that so many in the United States still feel out families shouldn't exist in the first place. And we know this pressure trickles down to our kids. But In an article for the Harvard Business Review titled 'The Gayby Boom Is Here to Stay," author Tosca Langbert eloquently writes, from her perspective, about the experience of beingone of the first children to come of age during an era when LGBTQ parenthood is far more commonplace. She and her two siblings, she notes, "were raised in a family that was an impossibility only decades ago."

In the article, Langbert said she knew from a young age that her family was different from those of most of her peers, who had one a father and a mother. But otherwise, she writes, she didn't feel like her family differed much. "Like any other parents, Dad sat in the carpool lane after school and taught us how to ride our bikes," she writes, "while Papa took us to the movies on the weekends and separated the whites from the colors."

Despite this mundanity, her family remained something to marvel at for much of her youth. When the family moved into a new neighborhood in 2006, it made the local newspaper, with a headline titled, "Gay Father Tests Tolerance in the Park Cities."

She and her siblings have spent much of their lives, she explained further, having to respond to the question: what's it like having two gay dads? For Langbert, there is only one correct response, which is: Amazing! "Any other response, even if simply accounting for a family's nuanced experience, might as well be an outright admission of failure on behalf of the entire LGBTQ community," she wrote.

Children of the 'Gayby Generation,' are also put in the position of having to come out on behalf of their parents, and "often with mixed results," she wrote. She gave the following anecdote as an example:

"My father was asked to step down from his leadership position in my brother's Boy Scout troop on account of his sexuality. Even though my siblings and I were only fourth graders at the time, we understood that our family was under strict scrutiny, and that even the slightest misstep could beget severe consequences for how competent our fathers were perceived as being. In the face of this pressure, the first generation of 'gaybies' recognized the importance of presenting their families as perfect; doing otherwise would only present ammunition to those already dubious about the rights of LGBTQ parents to raise children."

The entire article, which includes the perspectives of multiple now-grown kids that are part of the "Gayby generation," is well worth a read, which you can access here.


Politics

Utah Bill Would Allow Gay Men to Enter Surrogacy Contracts

Rep. Patrice Arent of Utah is sponsoring a bill that will remove a provision that currently prohibits gay men from entering into commercial surrogacy contracts in the state.

Though Utah is not one of the three states that currently prohibit commercial surrogacy contracts, the state's current policy does specifically exclude gay men from doing so. That may soon changed, however, thanks to a bill in the state's legislature that was unanimously voted out of a House Committee that would remove that restriction.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, a Democrat, was created in response to a ruling by the Utah Supreme Court this past August that found the ban on gay men unconstitutional.

Gay men have been excluded from legally entering surrogacy contracts due to a provision in the current law that requires medical evidence "that the intended mother is unable to bear a child or is unable to do so without unreasonable risk to her physical or mental health or to the unborn child," Rep. Arent told the Salt Lake Tribune — a requirement that clearly excludes gay male couples.

The state's original surrogacy law dates back to 2005, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the state, which accounts for the gendered language. Though the state's Supreme Court already ruled the provision unconstitutional, Rep Arent further told the Tribute that, "People do not look to Supreme Court opinions to figure out the law, they look to the code and the code should be constitutional."

Politics

Colorado Republicans Try and Fail to Outlaw LGBTQ Marriage and Adoption Rights

A bill introduced by four Republican state legislators in Colorado that would outlaw same-sex marriage and adoption rights was voted down.

The "Colorado Natural Marriage and Adoption Act," which would have outlawed gay marriage and adoption in the state of Colorado, was voted down in the state legislature this week. The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Stephen Humphrey and three of his conservative colleagues: Dave Williams, Shane Sandridge and Mark Baisley.

If enacted, the bill would have enforced "state law that marriage is between one man and one woman" and restrict "adoption of children by spouses in a marriage ... that consist of one man and one woman."

The bill, which had little chance of success, particularly in Colorado which has trended more progressive over the past several election cycles, was mostly symbolic, according to Sanridrge. "We all know this bill isn't gonna pass in this current left-wing environment," he told Colorado Public Radio. "It's to remind everyone, this is the ultimate way to conceive a child."

In a sign of how far we've come on the issue of LGBTQ marriage and parenting rights, most Republican legislators in the state did not endorse the bill.

Though the bill had little chance of passage, LGBTQ advocacy groups in the state are taking the threats seriously nonetheless. Daniel Ramos, director of the LGBTQ group One Colorado, told LGBTQ Nation that the bills were an attempt to return Colorado to its "hate status" of the 1990s, adding the aggressiveness of the measures were "a bit surprising."

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Dads Talk About Surrogacy Process in New Video for Northwest Surrogacy Center

The Northwest Surrogacy Center interviewed some of their gay dad clients for a video to celebrate their 25th anniversary of creating families through surrogacy!

Image: NWSC Clients

Last year, Northwest Surrogacy Center celebrated 25 years of helping parents realize their dreams. And they celebrated in style by inviting the families they've worked with over the past two and a half decades to join them!

At the party, they took the opportunity to film queer dads and dads-to-be, asking them a couple of questions: how did it feel holding your baby for the first time, and tell us about your relationship with your surrogate.

Watch the video below and get ready for the water works!

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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