Just in time Father’s Day comes two new websites geared toward gay dads and the joys and struggles of fatherhood, Gays With Kids and The Handsome Father.
GaysWithKids.com helps gay dads navigate fatherhood − from creating their families to raising them − launched on June 4, and is 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 new generation of gay men who are interested in raising children.
“When we adopted our first child five years ago, one of the first things we did to help us prepare was search the Internet to try and connect with other gay dads so we could learn from their experiences,” explains Rosenberg. “We were surprised to find there were no sites or resources available.”
Article continues below“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. Everywhere they turned they saw phrases like “mommy tested-mommy approved” or “for moms by moms” and they even shopped in stores called “From Bump to Baby” and “Moms to be and More.”
They knew they could make a change, but put their idea on hold to concentrate on their toddlers. Four years later, they have launched Gays With Kids to help other gay dads succeed as fathers.
And it seems that good ideas come in pairs…
In Austin, Texas, two gay dads who themselves struggled with starting a family have launched a website and nonprofit designed to offer advice, assistance and support to other men in their situation.
Brian Stephens and Andy Miller launched The Handsome Father in April.
Stephens and Miller say they often felt alone or like pioneers as they raised their 7-year-old son, Clark, surrounded by straight parents. Everything, including the adoption process, was an unknown. And even though the men had mentors to turn to, they still felt there were too many hurdles.
“You feel like you’re the only person in the world who’s done this,” Stephens told the Austin American-Statesman.
The website is meant to help others experiencing similar problems and includes stories about gay fatherhood, a blog, a mentorship program and suggestions for other sites, Twitter handles or support networks.
The nonprofit sustains itself through different levels of membership.
Since April, the The Handsome Father has had 2,000 unique visitors and the Facebook page has about 1,200 followers. Every day, Stephens said, they hear from men about to embark on fatherhood.
Article continues below“Just the fact that it’s out there, what a difference that makes,” Stephens said.
While gay women were making progress, gay men were dealing with the AIDS crisis, he said. Now about 20 years behind, the men are struggling to navigate the foster care and adoption systems, or they are learning the legalities of surrogate parenting or becoming the adoptive parent of a partner’s biological children, he said.
As these various experiences occur, the role of being a father is evolving, Stephens said.
“Just as women are crashing the glass ceiling, what it is to be a father has to change, too,” he added.