Gay Dad Life

WorldPride Family Guide

In June the global LGBTQ community comes to Toronto for WorldPride 2014, and there is absolutely no shortage of events for gay couples and their families. Theater and musical events, spiritual gatherings, fun zones for the kids, movie nights, Gays With Kids has you covered for the WorldPride Season.

Whether your family’s from downtown Toronto, the suburbs, a couple of hours away, or traveling from a far, WorldPride is a gathering of the global community you won’t want to miss with lots to do for everyone!

Have an LGBTQ family-friendly event during Toronto’s WorldPride you want listed? Send info to Ferd  to have your event added to the Gays With Kids WorldPride Family Guide.

TUESDAY, JUNE 17

The Queer & Trans Family Pride Party 2014: Beauty in the World!

The WorldPride edition of the popular annual event, show off your family’s moves at the DJ Dance Party, with special musical guest Troy Jackson. Queer and trans families welcome for sports, crafts and snacks in the park. This year’s theme is “Beauty in The World,” so feel free to come dressed in your best.

5:30-8pm. The 519 Church Street Community Centre, 519 Church St. Free.

FRIDAY, JUNE 20

Uptown Pride Community BBQ

Youth services provider Strong and Resilient (STARS) with Deslisle Youth Services, a special drop in space for queer, trans and questioning youth, is throwing a family friendly Pride BBQ at their drop in space, The Studio. Meat and veggie options available, games, prizes, performances art and more, everyone welcome.

Noon-4pm. Delisle Youth Services, 40 Orchard View Blvd. Free.

WorldPride 2014 Toronto Opening Ceremony

Join the Toronto LGBT community for the opening series, featuring music icon Melissa Etheridge, R&B; singer Deborah Cox, country music sensation Steve Grand and the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto Choir with soloist Gavin Hope. Hosted by the indelible Deb Pearce and friends. All ages welcome.

7pm. Nathan Phillips Square. Free.

Kabbalat Shabbat Service & Shabbat Dinner

Join Congregation Shir Libeynu to celebrate the coming of the Sabbath at this queer and trans positive, liberal Kabbalat Shabbat. Affirming LGBTQ individuals, couples and families from around the world. Free childcare provided. After the service join Kulanu Toronto, an LGBTQ-positive Jewish organization, for a vegetarian Kosher Shabbat Dinner. Kosher wine will be served. and dancing following the meal.

7:30pm, dinner at 8:45pm. Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, 750 Spadina Ave. $10 suggested donation to cover cost of meal. RSVP for either event.

SATURDAY, JUNE 21


Joyous Shabbat Service and Potluck with the Danford Jewish Circle

Celebrate Pride and Shabbat with the progressive, inclusive Jewish community in Toronto’s East End. Accessbile service with a participatory Torah reading.

10am. Eastminster United Church, 310 Danforth Ave. RSVP.

The Interfaith Fair

Queer and trans people and families of all faiths welcome to this massive celebration of faith and diversity. Performances by local artists and speeches from community leaders with the opportuities to learn about how faith based communities are working together for a more inclusive world. The fair will be followed by a Sunset Youth Service inside the MUC from 6-9pm, and an outdoor candle-light Havdallah Service at 9:15pm in honour of LGBTQ people around the world who continue to face discrimination.

3pm. Metropolitan United Church, 56 Queen St E. RSVP.

SUNDAY, JUNE 22

Queer Family Brunch

A fabulous brunch for families of all types. Enjoy a show by The Space Chums: A Galactastic New Band for the Kids of the Universe, take advantage of the dress up station and the book corner while enjoying selections from the amazing Gladstone buffet brunch.

10am-3pm. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St W. $16/adult, $10/child.

THURSDAY, JUNE 26

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Somewhere over the rainbow you’ll find the Lakeshore Village Family Pride celebration. Discover art and entertainment all along Dorothy’s Tour with free face painting, rainbow balloon hat making, comedy, music, film screenings, Oz themed meals and more with the Lakeshore’s over 15 LGBTQ-positive businesses. Presented by the Lakeshore Village Business Improvement Association.

4pm. 1st to 12th Street, Etobicoke. $10 for Dorothy’s Tour (children are free with paid adult). Purchase tickets online or at Loot Lady Toys, 3029 Lake Shore Blvd.

What Makes You Proud? – An Interactive Community Art Installation and LGBTQ-BBQ

The first ever LGBTQ-BBQ drop-in art installation. Be part of a massive art installation with David Kelley LGBTQ & HIV/AIDS Counselling Services. Family Service Toronto is celebrating 100 years of serving the community. Draw, write, and share what makes you proud to be part of this amazing global community.

4pm. Family Service Toronto, 355 Church St. Free.

Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter

For one magical story add some fairy and hold the godmother. Based on her memoir, Alison Wearing’s one-woman show tells her story growing up with a gay dad in the ‘80s. Wearing’s insightful story looks at what a family can be with hilarity, complexity and tenderness. Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter has played to rave reviews, including winning “Best of the Fest” at the Victoria Fringe Festival.

Runs Wednesday June 25 through Saturday June 28. Special performance dedicated for gay dads on Thursday, June 26, includes Q&A; and an after-show party. George Ignatieff Theatre, 15 Devonshire Place. $28 plus tax.

FRIDAY, JUNE 27

Family Pride: A Night at the Movies

All queer and allied families welcome.

7pm. Carlton Cinema, 20 Carlton St.

SATURDAY, JUNE 28

Family Pride

Come out and have some fun at Pride’s kid-friendly zone with lots to do for the whole family. Organized by the Family Pride Team and in its 13th year with Pride Toronto, Family Pride has all kinds of snacks, performances, games, face painting arts and crafts.

10am. Church Street Public School, 83 Alexander St. Free.

NoH8 Campaign Open Photo Shoot

Join the global movement to send a message, #NOH8worldwide! At this special open photoshoot, become part of the campaign that celebrities and communities from all walks of life have been part of. Photos are first come, first served, wear white and arrive ready to make a statement. Become immortalized with Celebrity Photographer and the NOH8 campaign co-founder Adam Bouska, with funds raised going to raise awareness for marriage equality and anti-discrimination worldwide.

Noon-3pm. Allan Gardens, 19 Horticultural Ave. $45 solo photos, $30/person in couple or group shots.

Big Pride Sing-Along: Get Loud! Get Proud!

Sing out loud and proud with Toronto’s favourite big, gay choir. Join 110-voice LGBTQ choir Singing Out’s sing-along with everyone’s favourites, from Broadway to Lady Gaga, from Madonna to mash-ups. Hosted by the amazing Deb Pearce, and featuring the female-fronted R&B; sensation The Reenies, this is a big, gay musical event not to be missed.

7pm and 9:15pm. R.A. Laidlaw Centre, 404 Jarvis St. $17. Purchase tickets online or at Out On Church, 551 Church St.

SUNDAY, JUNE 29

Family Pride

Come out and have some fun at Pride’s kid-friendly zone with lots to do for the whole family. Organized by the Family Pride Team and in it’s 13th year with Pride Toronto, Family Pride has all kinds of snacks, performances, games, face painting arts and crafts.

10am. Church Street Public School, 83 Alexander St. Free.

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

How Single Dads Are Celebrating Valentine's Day This Year

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers! We caught up with 8 single gay dads to see how they plan to celebrate Valentine's Day with this year.

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers; it's also a day to celebrate our loved ones. And that's exactly what these single dads are doing.

Within our community, GWK has a large group of admirable, active, and awesome (!) single dads and we want to honor them! On Valentine's Day, they and their kids celebrate their family unit in the sweetest possible ways. We asked the dads to share these moments with us, and, where possible, one of the most heartwarming things they've experienced with their kids on Valentine's Day to date.

Hear their stories below.

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You're the peanut butter to my jelly, the gin to my tonic, the strawberries to my cream, the Mr. to my Mr.!

Happy Valentine's Day folks! We're excited to celebrate this day of lurrrrvvve by featuring a few dads in our community who've been together for almost a decade or more! And they're ready to share their secrets to a successful relationship and parenting partnership.

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Gay men go through a lot of ups and downs on the path to parenthood. It can be one of the most emotionally draining times in our lives. But as each of these families who are celebrating births and adoptions this month agree: it's worth every hardship.

Congrats to the dads whose families grew this month!

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News

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

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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

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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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