A GAY DAD’S FATHER’S DAY
By Hans Hirschi
Becoming a father once had this dreamy quality to it. I was seven years old when I first knew the names of my future kids Sascha, Pascal and a third that got lost in the passage of time. There was also a wife in that picture somewhere. As a kid, the concept of marriage and sexuality was not a concern.
Later, when I realized that I was gay, fatherhood became an illusion, something I knew I would never achieve. In the nineteen eighties, finding a boyfriend was the height of gay aspirations. Living together was really a stretch goal. That all changed, when civil unions were first introduced. All of a sudden, the prospect of family moved from the realm of illusions to the land of possibilities.
My husband Alex and I had been thinking about becoming parents since before we met. It was a prerequisite for any future partner of mine as I had a real wish to start a family.
We first opted for foster care. We were evaluated, probed, prodded and finally approved as foster parents just before Christmas of 2011. Yet, due to the raging homophobia still permeating society, we were never awarded a child to foster.
Desperately, we resorted to surrogacy and in March last year, our son Sascha was born.
Since then, we have been asked countless times what it means to be gay parents. It is a difficult question. Being a “gay”parent per se does not mean much to me or my husband or even Sascha. It seems to have more of an impact on the people around us as they witness two men raising happy and healthy children.
I’ve come to believe that gays as parents may result in shifting attitudes toward the LGBT community as a whole. So much of homophobia is based on fear of the unknown. The more people see LGBT families, the less they will fear us or listen to hate speech from politicians and religious leaders. Gay parenting may one day reduce prejudice; make it easier for gays to come out and for gay teens to face bullies.
For me, Father’s Day isn’t about getting a tie from my son (heaven forbid, as I don’t wear them). The day is to celebrate Alex and me, and our united contribution in raising our son, Sascha. Just as my dad once joined my brother and I in celebrating mom, paying to take her out to lunch and helping us make dinner and breakfast in bed, so too will we do for our boy. Happy Father’s Day, gay dads.
GaysWithKids.com, A new Website that helps gay men navigate fatherhood, launches in time for Father’s Day
Gays With Kids, a first-of-its-kind website to help gay dads navigate fatherhood − from creating their families to raising them − will launch June 4th in time for Father’s Day and this year’s Pride celebrations.
Co-founded by Brian Rosenberg and Ferd van Gameren, husbands and proud fathers of three children, the online community aims to normalize the experience of gay parenting by sharing stories, news, advice, and in-depth reporting on topics of interest to gay dads, many of which are typically not covered in mainstream media. Gays with Kids also hopes to inspire a whole new generation of gay men who are interested in raising children.
While gay dads are becoming more conventional, there is still a lot of work to be done to end both “Dadscrimination,” and “Gay Dadscrimination,” especially in areas where gay families are viewed as less than equal because gay marriage or gay adoption are not legal.
“We felt isolated because we had no community of gay dads to turn to and with whom we could identify, and we also felt alienated by all the mom-centric focus,” adds van Gameren. They knew they could make a change, but put their idea on hold to concentrate on their toddlers. Four years later, they are ready to launch Gays With Kids to help other gay dads succeed as fathers.