(gay) PROUD to be a (gay) DAD

June is a great month to be a Dad. We celebrate Father’s Day the third Sunday of every June. June is also a great month to be gay. We celebrate Gay Pride all the June long. If you are a gay dad like me, then the gay daddy* party don’t stop for thirty days and thirty nights.

But what exactly is at the heart of these two calendar-mates? According to Wikipedia, Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers while recognizing fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. According to Wikipedia, Gay Pride is a celebration honoring lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people while recognizing their dignity, equality, and contributions to society.

The universal symbol of Gay Pride is the rainbow flag. The universal symbol of Father’s Day is the ugly tie.

The President recognized Gay Pride this year issuing a moving Presidential Proclamation saying, “We celebrate the proud legacy LGBT individuals have woven into the fabric of our Nation, we honor those who have fought to perfect our Union, and we continue our work to build a society where every child grows up knowing that their country supports them, is proud of them, and has a place for them exactly as they are.”

The President was curiously silent on the subject of Father’s Day this year – my guess is Sasha and Malia gave him one too many ugly ties – but in 2013 he did say, “Fatherhood is the best job I’ve got.” (I don’t doubt the sentiment, but to be fair, fatherhood won’t you get a ride on Air Force One.)

This year marked my second year as a father and my 21st year as a gay, which means I have now celebrated Father’s Day two more times than I have celebrated Gay Pride. I have nothing against Gay Pride. It’s just not for me. I’ve never waved a rainbow flag. I love pageantry and have a healthy appreciation for sequins but I have never walked in a Pride Parade. I enjoy being gay, but in terms of my identity it’s number five or six on the list somewhere after “donut lover” but before “lapsed yogi”.

And now more than ever it feels so antiquated. We are here, we are queer, everyone is used to it. There is an irony in wanting to be noticed by the mainstream when you have become the mainstream.

Still, I understand the significance of and have great respect for the institution of Pride; without it, and all those brave men and women who proudly waved flags and marched before me, I may very well not be where I am today. Every last one of us as Americans owes them a debt.

And while I acknowledge that debt and recognize the importance of teaching my children to be proud of their fathers and to celebrate and be inclusive of all people, I like the idea of a world where there is no Gay Pride because that would mean being gay is no longer special, at least not in a different way. Gay would be like being male or female or black or white; it’s what you are, not who you are.

But then I suppose I do celebrate Pride. I celebrate Pride every day. I live my life in the open, as I have for the past two decades, now with my husband and my two sons. The four of us live our lives just like all the other families on the block. We are proud. Every day. We celebrate that pride by being extraordinarily ordinary. And on Father’s Day, we get ugly ties.


* I mean a homosexual father, not a middle-aged gay man who has a more dominant personality and doesn’t mind providing monetary funds and/or protection and guidance to his younger boyfriend.

43+39+8+5=4

We got the kid.  We got the kid.  I have to keep saying it because I still don’t fully believe it.  I’m in shock.  It doesn’t seem real.  It happened so fast I keep expecting someone from the agency to call and say, “Just kidding!” or “We changed our minds.” or “What kid?!  Who is this?!  How did you get this number?”

When you decide to go through the adoption process one thing you quickly learn is patience. Adoption is not something that happens overnight.  From start to finish it can take months or years. There are parenting classes, FBI background checks, personal references, home visits, mountains of paperwork — and all this before you even enter into the matching process which in itself is its own little world of frustrating dead ends, unanswered inquiries and lost emails.

But when it finally does happen, it happens fast.  One minute you’re in the car driving to West Virginia wondering if the shirt you picked out will sway the committee in your favor and three hours later you’re in IKEA trying to decide which bed to buy for the 5 year-old you’ve never met who’s moving in to your house next week.  The reality slowly begins to hit you twenty-four hours later when you find yourself in Target making a scene because they don’t have any monogrammed letter “E” Christmas stockings.

The meeting.  We didn’t know what to expect.  When we adopted our son Chris everything had been decided without us being present — a group of people we didn’t know held a meeting and then five weeks later we were on a plane to Oregon to meet our son.  But this time it would be different.  We were to be interviewed face-to-face by a committee, possibly in the presence of a second family that was also being considered.  I was a nervous wreck.  The most that I could do to prepare was choose the right outfit and practice my smile in the mirror.

The committee was made up of five women.  They were incredibly friendly, making us feel welcome and relaxed from the moment we walked in the door.  I don’t remember what they asked us — there might have been no questions.  I think we just talked.  We told them about our lives and they told us about the boy who, two hours later, would be our son.  At the end of the meeting one of the women asked if we would mind waiting in the lobby while they talked.  Clearly this was a good sign.  But still, nothing in life is certain but death and taxes.

It’s hard to describe the moment when they tell you.  You hear the words but they don’t seem real. This thing you’ve been waiting for your whole life — this thing that has already happened once can’t be happening again because no one ever wins the lottery twice in one lifetime.  Except for us.

Two years ago it was just Todd and I — complete, but not quite.  And then the universe gave us Chris. He changed our lives; he made us complete.  In just a few days we will meet our son Elijah.  A little boy to complete our already complete family.