Change the World

Why I Feel the Need to Come Out, Again and Again

I obsessively scroll through Gio Benitez and Tommy DiDario’s Bali honeymoon photos. Photos of two muscular and effortlessly handsome young men wading in impossibly blue water, standing by elephants or cruising on brightly colored Balinese fishing boats.


Their Technicolor dream life flowers and reflows on Instagram, Facebook, the ABC website,  everywhere. I’m equally envious of and enamored with their meticulously documented love story.

“Why haven’t you taken me to Bali?” I ask my husband bitterly. For that moment I’m that guy, jealous of this beautiful young couple, so out and so public it hurts.

Gio (left) and Tommy in Bali

I was 10 when had my first real crush on a boy, a member of my swim team. It was the year Rock Hudson revealed he had HIV and his kissing scene with Linda Evans on Dynasty caused panic and hysteria in the media. Photos of his gaunt body were all over the news. I remember my mother saying, “Gay people are full of sin, and that’s why they are dying.”

To me, my small prepubescent frame seemed to shrink in shame. I knew that from that moment on, I had to hide my crushes, my desires and myself.

I was in middle school when Liberace passed away; for weeks the hallways echoed with anti-gay jokes. I played along with everyone else. I laughed and hid; it was easier to be part of the crowd and to remain invisible.

Freddy Mercury died when I was 16.  I started dating girls in the hope of curing myself. More and more of me disappeared. But, in private, while getting ready for one of those “dates,” I would listen to Queen’s “Flash Gordon” soundtrack, all the while swooning over Sam J. Jones in his tight tank top on the album’s back cover.

Sam J. Jones as Flash Gordon

I didn’t officially come out until I was 28 – comparatively late to what is happening on social media today. Today I’m married and the father of twins; being invisible is not an option.

When we moved to Mexico a year ago, I wasn’t sure how out we could be or if I’d have to invent a wife and mother to make our lives easier. Of course, I didn’t. I’ve discovered that – especially with kids – it’s vital to come out, all the time, whatever your particular culture, country or circumstances are.

Luna and Leo with their shopping carts

I come out every day in Mexico. I do it while checking out at Costco or while pumping gas. I do it at the barbershop and at my kids’ school.

I came out again today at the supermarket while Luna and Leo pushed their mini shopping carts through the produce section, when a woman asked Luna, “Did your mommy braid your hair?”

“No,” I said, “she doesn’t have a mommy; she has two dads. And I braided her hair.”

The woman looked confused and slightly bothered; she turned her back to me and went back to squeezing melons.

I come out for my children who are far too young to understand what I’m doing. I know that Luna and Leo will be confronted with hatred for having two dads, but I hope when it happens they can come out fearlessly and beautifully in their own way.

But for now, I am ready to come out as many times as I need to and teach my children that their family is real and wonderful, and that it’s important to say who we are – no matter where we are.

Tommy DiDario on his honeymoon in Bali

So to Tommy and Gio: Keep posting photos of yourselves holding hands, standing next to the Washington Monument or on any beach you happen to be on.

And to all those queer families out there, who keep filling social media with photos, don’t stop. The world still needs to look us straight in the eye and recognize that we are people and families just like any other, when we squeeze produce in the supermarket, accompanied by our children with lovely braided hair, quietly living our lives as publicly and visibly as any one else.

Show Comments ()
Change the World

"Dadvocates" Gather in D.C. to Demand Paid Family Leave for ALL Parents

"Dadvocate" and new gay dad Rudy Segovia joined others in D.C. recently to educate lawmakers on the need for paid family leave for ALL parents

On Tuesday October 22, Dove Men+Care and PL+US (Paid Leave for the United States) led the Dads' Day of Action on Capitol Hill. A group of over 40 dads and "dadvocates" from across the states lobbied key member of Congress on the issue of paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads. They shared stories of their struggles to take time off when welcoming new family members and the challenges dads face with no paid paternity leave.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

A Gay Fertility Doctor Opens Up About His Own Path to Parenthood

Parenthood is the "one and only job" held by the majority of the population, wrote gay fertility doctor Mark Leondires in a recent op-ed for The Advocate

Dr. Mark Leondires, founder of the fertility clinic RMA of Connecticut, has helped thousands of LGBTQ people become parents over the years. But in a recent op-ed for The Advocate, he discussed his own path to parenthood as a gay man, and some of the lessons he's learned along the way.

"Similar to most gay men I struggled with the coming out process," Dr. Leondires wrote. "I strongly desired to be a parent. And as a fertility doctor I knew this was possible. What was enlightening was after we had our first child is that in the eyes of my community, I went from being a gay man or gay professional to being a parent just like most of my straight friends."

Dr. Leondires goes on to say his reasons for opening up about his parenting journey is to offer some perspective LGBTQ people who are considering parenthood. "Once you have a family you will have this common bond with the vast majority of our population and something they can relate to — having children," he wrote. "You are no longer someone living this "special" lifestyle, you are a parent on a shared journey."

Being a parent is the "one and only job" held by the majority of the population, he continued. "It is also the only job you can't be fired from."

Understanding this commonality helped Dr. Leondires in his coming out process, he said. "I had to be proud of my family because I want them to be proud of our family," he wrote. "It wasn't about me anymore. The reality is that 5-7% of patients identify as LGBTQ+, and there may be a greater likelihood that your child might be LGBTQ+ because you are. Therefore, you need to be proud of who you are and who your family is, establish and maintain this foundation unconditionally."

Read Dr. Leondires entire essay here.

Change the World

Is This the First Photo to Show a Positive Image of Gay Dads in the Media?

This photo from 1983 originally ran in a Life Magazine piece called "the Double Closet"

Last month was LGBTQ History Month! And to celebrate, the online magazine LGBTQ Nation ran tidbits of history all month long. For one post, they dug up the above image — which they claim is the first, published in a mainstream media outlet, to show gay parents depicted in a positive light.

The image was part of a Life Magazine article called "the Double Closet." The photograph was taken by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, J. Ross Baughman. Whether this was truly the first image of its kind or not, it's a heartwarming photo nonetheless that helps show gay dads have been forming loving families for decades. And we couldn't be more thrilled that in recent years, his images is standing in some pretty good company! Each and every day, we help add to the archives of images showing positive depictions of gay dads — 2,824 images, and counting — on our Instagram page.

Check out the rest of the History Month series on LGBTQ Nation!

Gay Dad Photo Essays

Falling for Fall: 33 Photos of Gay Dads and Kids at the Pumpkin Patch

Oh my gourd, it's fall! To celebrate, we rounded up 33 pics (and whole lot of pun-kins) in our annual fall photo essay!

Don your checked shirt, grab them apples, and shine those smiles while perched on pumpkins — it's the annual fall family photo op! A trip to the pumpkin patch and / or apple orchard is a staple family fall outing, and we're here for it. 🎃🍎🍂👨👨👧👦

Thanks to these dads who shared their pics with us! Share your own to dads@gayswithkids.com and we'll add them to this post!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

David and Ben Met on the Dance Floor — and Are Now Grooving Their Way Through Fatherhood

David and Ben, who became fathers with the help of Northwest Surrogacy Center, live in Melbourne with their daughter, Maia.

In 2003, while both studying at Reading University in the UK, Ben Suter and David Cocks met after locking eyes on the dance floor and then being introduced by a mutual friend. Ben, a meteorologist and Operations Manager, and David, an Assistant Principal, have been together ever since. They moved to Australia together in 2010, seeking a different life, and an overall better work-life balance. The chose Cairns in Queensland as their new home, between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, "taking life a bit easier," said David. The couple were also married in June 2016, back home in England.

While David always wanted kids, Ben took a little convincing. So they started their parenting journey with a dog, Titan, who quickly became like their first born. From there, Ben came around rather quickly.

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Single Gay Dad and the City

When Kyle decided to take his four kids, ages 6-11, to New York City on vacation, his friends thought he was crazy.

"You're crazy, Kyle."

"You can't be serious? A single dad taking four kids to the Big Apple? Think again."

"That's bold. There's no way I'd do that."

Those were a few of the responses I heard from my friends as I told them I was thinking of booking a trip to New York City with four kids, ages 11-6. My children's fall vacation from school was approaching and I wanted to get out of the house and explore. Was the Big Apple too much of an adventure?

Keep reading... Show less
News

National's Pitcher Cites Wife's Two Moms as Reason for Declining White House Invite

"I think that's an important part of allyship," Doolittle said of his wife's two moms.

Sean Doolittle, pitcher for the Washington Nationals, declined an invitation to the White House after his team won the World Series this year. In an interview with the Washington Post, he listed his numerous reasons for staying home — and a main consideration, he revealed, was his wife's two moms.

"I want to show support for them. I think that's an important part of allyship, and I don't want to turn my back on them," Doolittle said during the interview.

Trump's treatment of a minority groups, generally, factored into his decision as well. "I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can't get past that stuff."

Doolitttle clarified that his decision had little to do with policy disagreements with the White House. "There's a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we've done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the 'shithole countries.'"

He concluded by saying he respected his teammates decision to attend the White house ceremony. "I want people to know that I put thought into this, and at the end of the day, I just can't go."

Read more of the Washington Post interview here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse