Man, am I ever proud – this edition marks the 10th anniversary of Who’s Your Daddy! Ten years! The first column debuted in the Pride Issue back in 2009. It was titled, “Coming Out as a Gay Dad.” (You can still find it on the QSaltLake website.) I’m proud that 120 columns later, you’re still reading.
Over the past decade, I’ve shared some pretty personal experiences – having “the talk” with our then-12-year-old straight son, my dad’s passing, and my 30-year love affair with my husband. I’ve tackled topics around institutional homophobia, duplicitous politicians, and decrees from the LDS Church. I’ve been open in my pride of my kids and the job we’re doing raising them, and transparent about my insecurities as a father.
Sometimes readers reach out to me via email or social media. I’ve even had people chat me up in bookstores. Sometimes they have a bone to pick with me about what I’ve written – usually it’s their belief that I haven’t been outspoken enough about an issue. Sometimes they want to tell me they appreciate learning about a segment of the LGBTQ community so different from themselves.
I like it when the magazine’s readers engage with me – even if we disagree. I want to make people think. But if I’m being totally honest, I like it more when I can make people laugh.
There’s a lot of laughter in our family, and in an odd way I’m proud of that. The boys have developed a wry, sarcastic sense of humor that cracks both Kelly and me up. We often joke that being raised in Utah by two non-Mormon gay dads practically guarantees the boys will be just dysfunctional enough to always be the funniest guys in the room.
I’m proud that over the past decade I’ve been able to share real-life experiences that illustrate how our kids are at the forefront of the always-evolving demand for full equal rights. They make friends and parents, classmates and teachers, and coaches and teammates rethink their views of family. It’s ironic that some of the reticence to our becoming fathers that we faced was exclusively based on how the kids of two dads would be treated. The boys seem to have answered: Treat our family with the respect we deserve and with which we treat your family, or get out of our lives.
This column has also been a tremendous source of learning for me. What started out almost exclusively as a first-person narrative of my own parenting experiences, has evolved to be a source of what I hope is seen as educational on a variety of important topics for LGBTQ parents. Over the years I’ve talked with experts about everything from dating for single parents to job discrimination.
You know what makes me crazy proud? Writing about the advancements of our community. Seriously, what other minority group has come so far in the fight for equality in such a short time? I love seeing younger gay or lesbian couples walking hand-in-hand. I get excited when some TV reality contestant mentions his husband or her wife. And much to Kelly’s chagrin, I still point out when a gay couple shows up in a commercial. For many younger people, this everyday inclusion and acceptance of LGBTQ people is something they’ve always known. I like to remind them that this new atmosphere is the result of years of struggle by previous generations.
As you celebrate Pride, I’d like to thank you for letting me share my voice and experiences as a gay dad with you for the past decade. I’m grateful and proud – very proud indeed.