I am working on creating more awareness of our online community for gay dads. It's called GayFatherhood.com and its members are some of the most beautiful people on this planet. How did we get to be such a global group of gay fathers and where are we headed in the future? These are some questions on my mind this morning.
While thinking about this, I am contacting other webmasters via email about us. The web has come a long way in the last five years. The blog craze was not yet born and it was tough to find other gay parents, let alone resources and quality information about being a gay dad.
Here is a bit of the history from one of those emails:
I am writing to ask you a favor. I am working on an upgrade to my web community for gay fathers. I don't know if you have been to it or not, but it's called GayFatherhood.com. It originated almost five years ago as an MSN group when I was searching the net for gay dad sites. I was thinking, gee it would have been helpful if I had had some sort of support network when I had come out and gotten divorced, and embarked on a new and somewhat scarey path. I felt so very alone ten years ago, like there were no dads like me out there. But by this time I knew better and I wondered if there were any online communities for guys lik me. So I looked to see if there were actually any sites like that.
I found next to nothing. Most of my searches (remember this was half a decade ago) for gay dads elicited sites for "daddies looking for sons" and "younger for older" and other "daddies" porn and personals. It was disappointing to say the least. There were a few, very few, communities for gay dads. Most were either long inactive or were for a specific geographic region. I think Gay Dads of Greater Boston was around back then. If there were any other quality web pages for gay fathers, I couldn't find them.
So in the midst of a void of good sites for gay fathers, I decided to create my own. I wanted to create the exact kind of site that would have been helpful to me were I still in the closet, or just coming out and needing the support and encouragement of like-minded men (God, it seemed so many of the gay men I knew got a frightened or confused look in their eyes when I said I was a dad, or talked about how vital being a father was in my life).
And on that early January night in 2002, at my computer screen by my bed was born the msn group that evolved into GayFatherhood.com. What amazes me now is that I didn't think I really needed such a "support group" myself. I just thought I was doing a good thing for other dads like me. How arrogant and silly of me! I found out that I craved contact with other good men to whom parenting was most important in their lives, and yes, who happened to also be gay and therefore faced some of the same challenges and issues that I had.
Through this group, I rekindled an old local acquaintance who soon became a sort of mentor and father figure to me. Unfortunately Dennis passed away a couple of years ago, but because of the group I was able to re-connect with him and be there at his bedside the very day that cancer finally took his life.
I also met Keith, who became such a dear and close friend and discovered that he only lives two hours to the south of me. We have met several times since, and I have plagued him with pictures of my boys and he me with dance videos of his beautiful daughter. I consider him a brother, closer than any of my blood relatives.
The other brother I have met through this lives in Northern Ireland with his partner and son. And my oldest son, my partner and I just recently got back from visiting them in their home for the first time. Yet this is the fourth year that our families have spent vacations together! I never could have imagined this, a soul-mate and friend, half a world away becoming such a vital part of my family and daily life.
For so long, to many of us, Gay Fatherhood has been much more than a an online community. It's real people, real dads, via adoption or previous marriage, even by surrogacy. And it's a haven for us as well as a playground online.
Since last year when we moved to our own site (advert-free so far), I've had a busy year. Two minor, but annoying operations, a move to a new home, new job... so I'm getting back into promoting and updating the web group that has so enriched my own life because of the beautiful people who have become involved in it.
Forgive this long letter, but I want to ask if you'll help me promote the site somehow. Perhaps put a link to us on your blog, maybe a post about GayFatherhood.com, whatever you feel you'd like to do to help get the word out that there is a place like this online, where dads can meet. Maybe you'd even like to join. It's free, of course and we'd love to hear from you.
I will be adding your page to our upgraded and reconstructed link pages soon. Thanks for indulging me by considering this. Whatever you feel you want to do would be appreciated. Thanks again!
Founding Manager of GayFatherhood.com