Is it different being a dad if you’re gay? Tom Cox describes his journey to becoming a father, and argues that sexuality does not define who you are as a dad.
I am guilty sometimes of classing myself as a gay dad. I guess we all have a label we use at times. I am a gay man. And I am a dad. Does that make me a different kind of dad? I don’t think so.
In December 2005 it became legal that homosexual couples could adopt in the UK. This was a huge milestone. Thousands of children in care in the UK need loving families – and there is no ‘normal’ when it comes to the different shapes and sizes of modern families.
Back then, I was a fresh faced 21-year-old, I had just moved into my first flat with my then boyfriend (who is now my husband) and we were loving life. Children were not on the agenda. Had we thought about it? I don’t know… we really enjoyed having a nephew at the time for sure, but our own kids? I don’t think I can even remember the law being passed allowing same-sex couples to adopt… I was far too caught up in having my own flat, hosting parties and shopping/eating out/city breaks to even register the law change I am sure.
Fast forward eight years… I was nearing 30 and something just ‘clicked’ and I knew I wanted to have a family. Previously, we just weren’t in that place, but it all changed. We started the adoption journey in June 2014 and found our son in the December that year. He came home to us in April 2015.
Now, don’t think me just reeling off dates in a blasé sentence means it was easy. The process may have been fairly painless; we were so lucky to have an amazing family, friends and adoption agency/social worker. We breezed through. But the emotions, the waiting, the searching… it all drains you to your core. But we did get through it, and I put it down to us knowing we were ready. We were a solid unit. We never felt discriminated against. We were just two guys, living a wholesome life, wanting to add to our family. So we made it happen. And it was the most wonderful, crazy, emotional and rewarding journey of our lives.
We are now two years into life with our son. He was fourteen months old when he can home. He had a great first year of life in foster care, he was unbelievably lucky. As were we… the three of us found one another. It was magical.
There may not be a mum in the family dynamic, but my son is surrounded by strong women at every angle. Having two guys love and raise him makes no difference to him. He knows no different. He is surrounded by love. He changed the family. He has brought so much light to everyone’s lives, just like a child brought into any family through any way.
We have been asked so many questions in the last couple of years.
“Do you think he’ll grow up gay?”
All are usually hilarious.
Neither of us is the mum. We’re both Daddy/Dadda.
And will he grow up gay? God knows… I certainly didn’t ‘grow up gay’ myself.
There was no decision one day that I was attracted to the male form more than female… I have always been gay. So if he is gay, it was written in the stars long before we met him. And how good that he’ll have two dads to sound off to, share our experiences and support him if required. If he’s straight, good for him! We really couldn’t care less about his sexual orientation as long as he’s happy and safe.
Don’t we all wish that for our kids? Regardless of your family set up/shape/dynamic… all that matters is we love, nurture and support our babies. Whether you’re a single dad, a gay dad, a bi dad… just be a good one.