Gay Dad Life

When a Kid With Two Dads Is Made to Feel Different

Even in liberal Los Angeles, kids with two dads can be bullied on the playground. Here's how one dad handled it when it happened to his son.

I was waiting for it. And now it has finally happened. No, I didn't get a part in the sequel to Call Me By Your Name. No, I didn't get an invitation to Prince Harry's nuptials. And sadly no, I still don't fit into last year's skinny jeans. On the contrary, it wasn't something I hoped would happen, but more like something I dreaded.


It all went down last week. Max came home from school and said, "My friend (we'll call him MB, short for misinformed boy) MB said being gay is illegal." Max explained to his friend that his dads were gay and that it's totally normal and most definitely legal (yes, Max actually uses the phrase "most definitely," it's the cutest thing ever). His friend wasn't buying it and continued to speak with an all-knowing attitude. This really upset Max, and in turn, upset us. It's the first time he felt different. It's been something he's brought up a few times since. He even went as far as to ask me to "fix" this… as if I we're Ray Donovan. I mean, the nerve — I have way better skin.

For starters, let me just say how lucky we feel to have gone seven years without so much as an evil glance thrown our way. Living in Los Angeles definitely lends itself to a more diverse and accepting crowd. Max has been exposed to children and families from different backgrounds. Diversity is all he's ever known. He's a very well-adjusted little boy. So you can see how his being questioned came as quite a shock to him.

Anyway, we knew what we had to do. And after we got back from Dunkin Donuts, we were ready to have the talk. No, not the one about Adam and Steve. And no, not the religion one about the God we pray to (Whitney, obvs). No, we were going to have the bully talk. The one about how there will always be kids out there who will say disparaging things about you and try to hurt your feelings. And how there will always be people who judge and/or question you and your family. We explained everything in age-appropriate language. And in the end, we made sure Max knows that he can always talk to us about things like this. And we've found that staying super relaxed and calm is best — the less we make of it, the less he will think it's something to be upset about.

To be fair, I do not believe his friend MB was trying to be mean or hurt Max's feelings. I feel that he was simply misinformed and/or was echoing the feelings and/or teachings of his parents. After all, no one is born with prejudice. It's a learned behavior, kind of like getting your news from Fox.

The next thing we did was talk with Max's teacher. It's important for parents to work with teachers to promote greater acceptance of minority families. Teachers can and should play a critical role to helping stop this type of micro-aggression. And our instincts proved right, as his kind and compassionate teacher was equally disturbed by the boys' playground conversation. And what I really appreciated was her willingness to ask a few colleagues with more experience how best to handle this. She admitted it was the first time something like this had come up, and she wanted to make sure she handled it appropriately.

The next logical step was reaching out to MB's parents directly with an email. It turns out, wait for it… he also has two gay dads! Not really. But wouldn't that have been the ultimate twist?

What I want more than anything is for Max to stay proud of his family and not be brainwashed into thinking that different is bad. I don't want having two dads to be something he feels he needs to hide from his peers to avoid harsh judgment or ridicule. Maybe I'm living in a fantasy world, or maybe, just maybe, I have a little more faith in the human spirit. Nope. Scratch that. For a moment I forgot who America voted into office. We're fucked!

Just kidding.

Like all children, most children with LGBT parents will have both good and bad times at school. These types of issues will arise more frequently as the number of same-sex parents in schools across the United States continue rising. Fact is: we're not going away. So schools must keep working to serve the needs of all children and parents. We have to find a way to work together to ensure that school environments are safe, welcoming and free of judgment of all children and their families.

Let's end things on a positive note: at least we have a highly qualified, super intelligent and open-minded secretary of education fighting the good fight.

Oy.

Okay. Now back to my Call Me By Your Name II audition tape…

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Foster/Foster-Adopt

This Gay Couple Was Inspired to Become Foster Dads Thanks to the Show "The Fosters"

Matthew and Brian say they used to feel like "unicorns" as gay foster dads. They're happy to see more LGBTQ couples take the plunge into the foster system.

Matthew Hamparian and his husband Brian Lawrence have been together for over 18 years and live in Columbus, Ohio. "We had talked about children for a long time," shared Matthew. They were inspired by the show "The Fosters," and watched it regularly as one of the staffers of the show was a friend of Brian's. In one of the episodes, Matthew remembers a conversation between a foster child and the biological child of his foster parents. The foster child asks if he was okay with the fact that he had to share his home with foster siblings. He responds that he is okay with it, because he and his family have enough of everything.

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Last week, we wrote a post about reports that "What What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen had been "spotted" on gay dating app Grindr several weeks after welcoming a newborn into his home. This has some of his followers on social media all worked up"

"Get off Grindr and start being a dad," said one follower who appeared to think single parents must take a vow of celibacy the minute they start changing diapers. "You're sad, that kid has no chance," said another.

Well, suffice it to say that this judgment from people who are presumably not single gay dads of Andy Cohen certainly struck a nerve with our gay dad audience! We received well over 100 comments on this post on Facebook, the vast majority of them coming to Cohen's defense. We caught up with two fellow single gay dads to find out why the story struck a nerve.

"We don't have to live like monks!"

One of the most liked comments on our piece came from Owen Lonzar, who wrote the following:

"I have always been a good single father to my biological son who came to live with me when he was 7 years old. He is now 25 years old and we are very close. I used Grindr and dated while he lived with me. I never had anyone sleep over and he certainly never saw some man he didn't know hanging around my home. Single parents have to date responsibly and with sensitivity to their child but that doesn't mean they have to live like monks!"

We asked Cohen to elaborate a bit more on why the backlash against Cohen bothered him. He had the sense, he said, that much of the criticism against LGBTQ parents comes from gay men without children. "Gay men without kids have a lot to say," he said. "And all of it is ignorant, because they have no idea what it means to actually be a father." He said he was particularly disappointed in gay critics, given our shared history of discrimination. "You would think with all the prejudice we have faced that gay men would be less judgmental themselves," he said.

"Are we supposed to be celibate?"

Another commenter, Josue Sebastian Dones-Figueroa, who is a divorced father of five, questioned what Cohen's critics would prefer him do. "So what, parents are supposed to become celibate because they have kids?" he asked.

We followed up with Josue to ask him to elaborate a bit more: "The idea that just because he is a dad that he would need to stop being a man," he said, questioning why Cohen should have to put his life hold and stop dating, or having sex, just because he's now a father. "If the child is cared for loved and not neglected what is the problem? Life goes on right?"


Gay Dad Life

Internet Conflicted About Advice Given to Closeted Gay Dad in the Guardian

Ok fellow gay dads: if you were the advice columnist at the Guardian, what would you have said?

Recently, in a post titled "I met my girlfriend's parents – and realized I once slept with her father," a man wrote into the advice column at the Guardian with the following predicament:

"Five years ago, I went through a bi phase and used to sleep around with pretty much everyone that came along, including other men. This changed when I fell in love with my new partner, who is everything to me. I recently met her parents and halfway through lunch realised that I had slept with her father. I was going to propose, but when my partner and her mother were away, he told me to end it with his daughter. I'm obviously in love – shall I just ignore him, or tell my partner?"

Pamela Stephenson, the Guardian's columnist, responded as follows:

"I am not sure you could ever have a comfortable future with your new partner. To tell the truth would be to court disaster: a probable break-up, plus the risk of a permanent rift between father and daughter and father and wife. Hiding the truth would lead to toxic secret-keeping that could be equally destructive in the long run. If this whole family was as open-minded and sexually open as you, it might be possible for you to become part of it. However, the father – your former lover – has made it clear that you will not be welcome. Walk away now, and avoid the massive pain that would otherwise be inflicted on your partner, her family and yourself."

Not all commenters agreed with Stephenson's advice.

"Assuming your girlfriend knows that you were bi until falling in love with her and that you slept with everybody in your path [which she deserved to know up front anyway] then you can give HER the option what to do with this bond, rather than leaving the choice to her dad," said one commenter.

Another said, "Walking away without explaining why would be callous and also allow the father to escape the possible consequences of his actions."

It's worth noting that none of these commenters, nor the columnist, are or will ever be gay dads, whose perspective on this bizarre situation may be uniquely valuable. Many gay dads have become fathers while still in the closet. And even those who became dads after coming out can still sympathize with the detrimental impacts of the closet on our lives and those of our families.

So what say you, gay dads, about this man's predicament?

Terrell and Jarius need your help. Earlier this week they were made aware of an act of discrimination against a male transgender student at Johnson High School in Gainesville, Georgia

"Dex Frier was elected by the student body to run for prom king but is now facing backlash from the school's administration," shared the dads via their Instagram. "The school's Superintendent is forcing Dex to either run as prom queen or not run at all. This is very unjust and does NOT reflect the opinion of the parents nor the students."

Watch their video below:

Dex, 17, who came out identifying as male in his sophomore year, spoke with Gainsville Times about being nominated by the student body. "Frier said he kept his emotions in check while at school, but 'the moment I got home, I immediately started crying. I've never been shown so much support before,' Frier added."

He was later informed by school officials that his name had been withdrawn and he could only run in the prom queen ballot.

Sadly, there have been rival petitions started in support of Dex's nomination being withdrawn, and he's received backlash from those who believe he shouldn't be able to run.

Although Terrell and Jarius do not know Dex personally, they were made aware of what was happening through Jarius co-worker who is a parent at the school. "He's such a brave kid and is standing firm in his beliefs, and we should support him," said Jarius.

These dads are asking all of us to take a minute and sign this petition and share with friends and family, or anyone you think could help.

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Learn How These Dads Used Social Media to Find Their Surrogate

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In the first video below, get caught up to speed with the dads-to-be. Plus: there's bonus footage! Ever wondered about the financial side of their journey? In the second video, Bret and Stephen talk candidly about how they're managing to afford their dream of fatherhood.

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This Women's History Month, Gay Men Honor the Gals Who Help Make Them Dads

Each and every man becomes a dad with the help of a woman. We asked gay dads to honor one who helped them along in their path to parenthood to help us celebrate women's history month.

Each and every one of us became (or will become) a dad with the help of a woman--more often than not, with the help of multiple women. So this Women's History Month, we choose to celebrate these women by asking you to tell us a bit about them. Enjoy these inspiring stories below. Want to honor a woman in your life who has helped you become a dad? Tell us about her at dads@gayswithkids.com

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Adam and Josh got engaged on Good Morning America on Valentines Day, and welcomed their Christmas miracle baby into their lives on December 26th

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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