A Coming Out Guide for Gaydads

By Richard Jasper (who is one and who's done it)

Last Content Update: May 2002

[9/24/07: Now that this page is in its new location, I will work on updating its many broken links. -- rpj]

When I finally realized, back in the late spring of 1993, that I really had to come out to my wife and young children, e-mail was my lifeline to the world. Since that time I have e-mailed and met and spoken to dozens of men who have been or who are in the same situation I was in then.

This guide is designed first and foremost to be a resource for any married gaydad who is contemplating coming out or who is in the process of doing so. It includes a rather detailed description (My Story) of what led me to marry and what prompted me to come out; a list of resources(paper, electronic, and in real life) that I have found useful in my journey; and a list of Frequently Asked Questions --asked of me, that is!

More generally, I hope that the resources contained herein will be useful for any gaydad, gay stepdad, or gaydad wannabe, regardless of whether they have been married, regardless of whether they are in or out of the closet. The latest addition to these pages, Coming Out to Kids , is reprinted from one of the few scholarly sources available on the subject of gaydads and their children.

On the other hand, this guide does NOT include information about lesbian parenting, which tends to have a vastly different set of issues (chief among them artificial insemination and adoption). For information on lesbian parenting, take a look at Debbie Ranard's Lesbian Moms page.

I hope you will find this guide useful. Please feel free to give me your feedback at any time by sending e-mail to richard@rpjasper.org.

Resources for Gaydads

Since creating this page in late 1995, I have run across a number of sources, both in print and online, that I have found very useful in the process of coming out as a gay man who happens to be married and a parent. The following list is by no means comprehensive, so if you have additions, please feel free to send me e-mail with your suggestions. I will be happy to add them to this page, along with the name of the person who has recommended it.

My list includes:

Books

Happily, almost all of these are in print. For each I've added an Amazon.com link and where possible an image of the book cover.

cover Gay Fathers by Robert L. Barret and Bryan E. Robinson. Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1990.
A new updated edition for 2000. One of the few book length, scholarly works on the topic. Barret and Robinson have aimed this work at mental health professionals more so than gay fathers themselves. Still, it's easy to read and covers the waterfront in terms of issues that gay fathers coming out of the closet will likely confront.

Gay Theology without Apology by Gary David Comstock
I include this title for married gay men for whom religious questions, specifically those pertaining to Christianity, may come into play. Although it doesn't address the question of gay men who marry and father children, it provides some useful insights regarding the Bible and Christian theology--which can be quite useful when dealing with the religious concerns of family members and friends.

Is It a Choice? by Eric Marcus.
This book is a great one to give to friends and family members who suffer from the usual misconceptions about what it means to be gay. Marcus' journalistic, anecdotal approach, tackling more than 300 commonly asked questions and providing succinct, no-nonsense answers, is as easy to read as it is enlightening. If you're like me, you'll find yourself saying "I didn't know that!" on more than one occasion.

The Male Couple's Guide by Eric Marcus.
Most of us who are or who have been married are "relationship" people. Chances are extremely good that having been in a relationship with a woman, once out of the closet and no longer married we are likely to someday find ourselves in a relationship with a man. Things are very much the same--and very different. Marcus does a great job of clearly and concisely discussing the issues facing same sex male couples. I found his chapter on monogamy and nonmonogamy particularly useful.

The Other Side of the Closet by Amity Pierce Buxton.
THE BOOK for opposite sex straight/gay couples. If you look at no other book on this page, promise me you'll look at this one! In the late 1970s Buxton's husband came out to her as a gay man after more than 20 years of marriage. She was appalled to find that there was NO support system in place for spouses of gays and lesbians where she was living--which was the San Francisco Bay Area! Buxton started her own support group--and in the process became a leading expert in how our coming out affects the ones we love most, our spouses and children.

Uncharted Lives : Understanding the Life Passages of Gay Men by Stanley Siegel and Ed Lowe, Jr. (New York: Dutton, 1994.)
A suggestion from Walter Gallant. Not one I've read (yet!) but I'm looking for it.

Uncommon Lives : Gay Men and Straight Women by Catherine Whitney. (New York: New American Library, 1990.)
A suggestion from Max, not one I've read. Looks at spouses who stay together after one member comes out as gay. This title is out of print so you may have a hard time finding it.

What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality by Father David Helminiak.
Another excellent book looking at issues of homosexuality and Christianity.

When Husbands Come Out of the Closet by Jean Schaar Gochros (New York: Haworth Press, 1989.)
Ditto, another suggestion from Max.

Search for other gay parenting books

Online Resources

Please keep in mind:

Websites get taken down. They get moved. They are NOT permanent. And the addresses that once pointed to one page often get taken over by a new webpage. There are a lot of unscrupulous people in the world and purveyors of porn, unfortunately, tend to be among them. They often take over the URLS of defunct websites as a way of boosting their traffic. That's perhaps especially true for URLs of defunt websites that had gay content -- I think they (the purveyors of porn) must assume that anyone who is looking for a website with gay content automatically must be looking for porn.

It isn't true, of course. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to police all the links on this page with any degree of regularity -- a couple of times a year is the best I can do. If a link on this page no longer points to the site named, please send me e-mail letting me know about it. And kindly refrain from blaming me for the fact that a once legitimate link now points to a site you don't want to see.

Bi Married Men of America (BMMA)
Maintained by Tony Smallwood of Milan, Mich., it's the companion to the e-mail group of the same name (subscription information included on the BMMA homepage). A bit more oriented toward gay and bisexual men who elect to remain married to their opposite sex partners.

The Boston Gay & Bisexual Married Men's Support Group
Provides background information on the group, which is largely (but not exclusively) oriented toward gay/bi men intent on preserving their opposite sex marriages. Also serves (I think!) as a good primer on how to start and maintain a support group of this nature!

Gay/Bi Married Men and Fathers
As husbands and fathers, we have a lot going on in our lives. Add to that an attraction to other guys, and the isolation that can cause, and your life becomes very complicated. We have special concerns as married men and dads, and this group is the place to air them and share them.

The Gaydad
Useful site (lots of overlap with this one!) maintained by a gaydad in Washington state.

The Gaydads Homepage
This site, www.gaydads.com, originally had a great deal of overlap with this one. It's now gone and the URL has been taken over by a sex site registered to a company in Finland.

NEW SIGN-UP INFORMATION

The Gaydads List

Not a book, of course, but a listserv for gay men who are or who want to be fathers. Founded by Dorsie Hathaway, a lesbian mom in Portland, Oregon, it is now wrangled Terry Furman, who took it over from me. With more than 200 subscribers, all of them gaydads, gay stepdads, or gaydad wannabes, it is one of the best online support systems out there.

Information on how to the join the listserv (it's free) can be found at the Gaydads Info Page. Please let me know if you have any trouble getting signed on.

Gaydads on the Internet

This resource, which I first put together back in late 1995, is another resource now maintained by Terry. It lists hundreds of gaydads, gay stepdads and gaydad wannabes, along with their e-mail addresses, webpages, and geographic locations, who are out and proud on the internet.

Gay Fathers Coalition, Baltimore, Md.
Webpage for the Baltimore group.

Gay Fathers Coalition, Washington, D.C.
Webpage for the D.C. group.

Gay Fathers of Greater Boston (GFGB)

Gay Fathers of Greater Boston (GFGB)
A support group for gay/bisexual fathers, gay/bisexual men in child nurturing roles and their partners. Offers support in dealing with issues of parenting, sexuality, coming out and other issues relevant to our membership. See web site for upcoming schedule and events.

Gay Fathers of Rhodes Island
Formerly Gay Fathers of Rochester, this site is maintained by Tom Fronczak, a social worker who used to live in Rochester, NY, and now lives in Rhode Island.

Gay Parenting
Reprint of an article by Thomas Fronczak and Vicki Jo Campanaro-Cummings, therapist/counselors who work with GLB parents and their straight current and former spouses in the Rochester, New York, area. Good overview of the topic, plus pointers to other resources.

The KidsOfGays List
For people of all ages who have lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered parents. LGBT parents can participate in the list only if they, too, have an LGBT parent.

To subscribe to the list, send email to majordomo@vector.casti.com and write in the body of the message (not the subject):

subscribe kidsofgays yourfirstname yourlastname

The brackets are important. For example: Janice Doe would send email to majordomo@vector.casti.com with the info:

subscribe kidsofgays Janice Doe

Spouse Support Mailing List
The following information is quoted from the original announcement for this list:
The Spouse Support Mailing List (SSML) is an Internet mailing list in both standard and digest formats for straight spouses and their bisexual, gay, or lesbian partners who are trying to keep their marriages intact and for keeping the relationship positive for those couples who are separating and divorcing. Membership is moderated and confidential. The digest is a collection of all of the mail in one day and goes out once each morning at midnight central time unless the volume causes a second digest to go out during the day. In the standard form of the list, the letters go out when they are approved.

To subscribe, send email to majordomo@texsys.com and in the body of the message, put

subscribe spouse-support

or

subscribe spouse-support-digest

Straight Spouse Network
This really excellent site has moved. It's previous URL has been taken over by a truly obnoxious sex site. As soon as I find the new URL, I'll post it. A joint project of GLPCI and PFLAG, the Straight Spouse Support Network consists of straight women and men, formerly or currently married to gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered partners, "who put spouses in touch with one another and provide resource information to help them understand and cope constructively with" the many issues that come up when husbands or wives come out. SSSNis chaired by Dr. Amity Pierce Buxton (e-mail: khgt90a@prodigy.com), internationally known author of The Other Side of the Closet.

Real Life Support Groups

Gay Fathers of Atlanta
A support group for gay men who have children. Most members either are or have been married to a straight spouse at some point; a few members are seeking to adopt children or have children by lesbian friends. Affiliated with Gay/Lesbian Parents Coalition International (GLPCI). Meets twice monthly, the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month. The first meeting takes place at the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library branch on Ponce de Leon Avenue; the second meeting occurs at the Atlanta Lambda Center on Monroe Drive in Midtown. For more information, call 404-342-6451.

Gay Fathers Coalition of Richmond

First organized in 1997, GFC Richmond meets the first Thursday of each month from 7-9 p.m. at the Fan Free Clinic, 1010 N. Thompson Street, Richmond, Va. For more information, contact Gil Caldwell via e-mail, GFCRichmond@hotmail.com, or telephone, 804-330-4090.

Gay Fathers of London, Ontario
A support group for gay men who have previously been (or are) married. Most have children, some do not. We meet on the first Tuesday of the month, either at the Options Lounge at HALO Homophile Association of London Ontario) or at a members home. E-mail Bryan Gloyd (bgloyd@odyssey.on.ca) for information or the location of the next meeting agenda. We plan social activities together, explore gay-related issues through guest speakers or spend our meeting time helping and learning from each other. Confidential and supportive, we don't want anyone in southwestern Ontario to come-out alone.

Gay Fathers of North Bay and Area

Homepage of gaydads group in Northwestern Ontario!

Gay/Lesbian Parents Coalition International (GLPCI)
As with the Spouse Support Network, the GLPCI page appears to have moved. The URL has been taken over by another the same web parasite that now has SSN's old URL. GLPCI's annual U.S. conference draws several hundred gay men and lesbians and their children.

COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere)
An offshoot of GLPCI--organized by sons and daughters of its members, in fact--this group seeks to serve the needs of young people whose parents are gay or lesbian.

Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
Pioneering organization with chapters in nearly every city in North America. The Atlanta chapter's number is 404-662-6475.
If you would like to have your group listed here, please send me e-mail. Likewise, if there are other resources that you think should be included, please let me know.

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