Why Do Gay Dads Have to Fight to Be Accepted?
BJ Barone and Frankie Nelson are two high school teachers living in Toronto. They have one son, Milo, through altruistic surrogacy. When a photo of them holding their newborn child went viral and was eventually repurposed by European anti-LGBT groups, BJ and Frankie found themselves thrust into the international spotlight.
In the video below, the two dads speak about their everyday struggle to be respected and accepted at home and abroad.
"Frank and I, we're not your traditional family," shares BJ. "Family is very important to us because we fight to be recognized and to be accepted in every day life. I think a lot of people have misconceptions that two men can't have a baby or raise a child, and I think we're scrutinized a little bit more that we have to prove to them that we can do it."
"We really had to sit down and think about what family means to us, and what we came up with was really that family is just about love," says Frank. "We want everyone to know that we are definitely no different than any other family."
Over 2 years ago, we spoke with experienced filmmaker Carlton Smith about his documentary featuring gay dad families created through foster-adopt. It was a heartfelt project that shone a light on the number of children in foster care (roughly 400,000 as referenced at the time) who desperately needed a home. And the large population of same-sex couples, many newly married, who were interested in starting families of their own.
"Let's skip," my daughter said on our way to school the other week. She took my hand and started skipping along, pulling me forward to urge me to do the same.
Wouldn't it look, well, gay, for me to skip down the street? In public? I wasn't willingly going to make myself look like a sissy.
As part of our ongoing #GWKThenAndNow series, we talk to dads who have gone the distance and been together a great many years. Terry and Michael have been together 15 years, have two children, and live in Orlando, Florida. We find out how it began, and what they look for in a partner in life, love and fatherhood.
Johnathon and Corey, both 29, met in 2011 working for the same employer. And since their first date, they've been inseparable. Johnathon is a full-time student pursuing a degree in Human Services, and once he completes his degree, he will return to his Native American tribe to help fellow Native American families in need. Corey is a stay-at-home dad. Together they adopted 6-year-old twins, Greyson and Porter, from foster care on June 1, 2017. We caught up with the first-time dads to see how fatherhood was treating them.
The Long Island Adoptive Families support group was created by parents going through the adoption process or who had already adopted. It was a great way to help members navigate the path of adoption whether it be private domestic, international agency, domestic agency or foster care. We spoke with Chemene, one of the founders, and found out how this group is supporting local gay men interested in becoming fathers.