Updated: May 25
When my husband and I set out to create this blog, we did so in the fashion we approach our life. We created a plan that included objectives, goals, and timelines, but we also recognized the need for fluidity in that plan. You may have noticed a slowing in our blog content recently, and there are lots of reasons for that ─ our recent move, reestablishing routines, making new friends, and a busy work schedule. One additional reason though was to take a moment to reflect on some of the negative feedback we received and consider how we move forward.
As I mentioned, we started this blog with a plan. Our objective was never to become social media influencers who are penning major corporate deals (though, let's be honest - Nabisco, if you're looking for a couple of gay dads, I know some kids who love cookies). We approached this as an opportunity to openly, honestly, and vulnerably share our lives with others who are/were in similar situations as us.
My husband and I both came out later in life after being married to women and having children. We both felt absolutely alone at that moment - like we were the only person going through that situation. In a time when homosexuality is becoming more normalized and accepted, we felt like absolute failures for not having the strength to come out sooner and like the epitome of selfishness for the hurt that was caused as a result of this. In trying to find some comfort, we each stumbled upon an online group specifically for men in our situation. As many of these men are still struggling with their sexuality, the privacy of this group is of the utmost importance, but it was a place where we realized we were not alone. There are hundreds, if not thousands of men around the world who, for various reasons, could not find the strength to accept their authentic selves and struggled with their identity.
After a few years of working on our paths to authenticity, we realized that we wanted to help those who found themselves in that place by sharing our stories. We wanted others to know that you can find yourself later in life, adapt and discover, and you and your family can find happiness ─ and out of that, The Next Door Daddies was born.
For the most part, we have had tremendous feedback on our blog. The community of gay fathers has embraced our unique perspective on LGBTQ family life. We have had several people who relate to our story reach out and express gratitude for sharing. However, that is not the only feedback we have received.
Because we want our blog to be a place that builds people up, we monitor our social media content closely and take down any comments that could be damaging to others. We have thick skin, so we can take it, but we are specifically trying to talk to those who may be in a more fragile place, and they do not need to see that. However, recently we began to realize that maybe doing so gives people a false sense of where we are in the journey to LGBTQ equality. If we don't share the negative, then are we truly being open and authentic?
For example, not long ago, we shared this picture of ourselves:
To us, that was a great moment that we wanted to share. This was from a trip to Nashville with friends and shows two men who love each other. And although the vast majority of the feedback was positive, we did also receive this:
Fortunately or unfortunately, we have become rather immune to this. It is messages like this that ultimately kept us in the closet for so long, so through our coming out process, we have learned to cope with the fact that there are people out there who disagree with our existence or, even further, hate us for living an out life. The line gets crossed, though, when our children become involved.
Our blog is ultimately a family blog, our kids are a part of it. Recently, an anti-LGBTQ family organization decided to take an article written about our family by Gays with Kids and share it as a way to insight criticism of our family structure. This vile group uses language such as "natural family" and "children's rights to their biological parents" to advocate against same-sex couples being able to have children. In their rebuttal to our article, they outright called us selfish and assumed that because we are together, that our children do not have a relationship with both their mother and fathers. The comments are disgusting, unfounded, and ridiculous.
So, yea. That made us pause.
Ultimately though, we have to choose joy. We have to choose positivity. And we have to choose the path that we believe will do the most good. We came into this journey to create a space where people could find refuge, find hope, find authenticity, and We Are Not Going To Back Down From That! The Next Door Daddies are standing up to say that we choose love. And with that, we will be unabashedly ourselves. To all the Karens and Chads, we get it. We really, really do because we were there too. But if you don't like our family, walk away. Our family is happy, healthy, and on the road to a beautiful life. We thank you for your concern, but we're good. Really, really good.