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family matters

gays with kids aims to help gay dads navigate fatherhood

family matters
melinda cheevers

Gays With Kids aims to help gay dads navigate fatherhood

When Brian Rosenberg and Ferd van Gameren first found out they were becoming fathers, they had three days to prepare.

They were living in Manhattan at the time and headed to a big box store to get everything they thought they’d need for when their son, Levi, arrived home. Brian noticed a trend on most of the items they bought or saw on shelves in stores. “Kid tested, mommy approved” or “For kids, by moms” were blazoned across the items. When they headed to the boutique shops, the trend continued and, in some cases, went one step further bringing the mom and baby connection right into the name of the store. What about dads, Brian asked.

“I said to Ferd, only half in jest, that I felt like we were being excluded,” he recalls.

When he went online for information, the mommy-centric trend continued and there was little in the way of resources for gay dads. Someone should start a website, he said to Ferd. About five years and three kids later, he did.

Gayswithkids.com had its soft launch last March, hitting the web with a number of gay dad bloggers providing content to the site along with freelance writers providing articles. Before having its official launch at the start of June, Brian recalls his goal was to have 10 articles and three or four blog posts. When it did go live, they had 35 articles and 25 gay dad blog posts.

They haven’t slowed down since. They’ve launched a YouTube channel, providing regular video content to the site focusing on gay parents, offering glimpses into their lives. There are family spotlights, resource articles on creating and raising families as well as an army of experts offering up advice.

Brian said as his and Ferd’s family expanded, growing from just the two of them to now having three kids (Levi, Ella and Sadie), so did his needs. He went online again to see what sort of gay dad community had sprouted up but again wasn’t satisfied with the results. While there were lots of blogs and websites dedicated to gay men starting families, there wasn’t much about what came next – raising them.

Gays With Kids fills that void, he says, and that’s perhaps why gay dads have responded so well to it. Within a month of its official launch last June, Brian had quit his job to focus on the site full time.

What’s surprised him most is how many people it has reached, including some readers he didn’t quite expect. Within a short time frame of one another, Brian received two messages from mothers of teenage boys. Their sons had recently come out to them and in the moms’ online search for support, they came across Gays With Kids.

“They said it gave them hope, showing them the type of life their sons could have,” said Brian, admitting that he was touched his website could help young gay men’s family through their coming out process and find acceptance.

The website’s mission statement is to help any and every gay dad, regardless of how they became a father or where they live, feel represented, welcome and connected. There are many ways to becoming a father, Brian noted, and he wants their site to represent them all. Now with a year under its belt and a growing audience, he’s open to expand the site in the future to include e-commerce focused on kid tested, dad approved items as well as work on broadening their mission statement goal of “connecting” gay dads through a social app.

Over the year, they’ve covered several controversial topics with their articles including a biological path to fatherhood for HIV positive men, monogamy and the gay dad as well as pregnancy for transitioning men.

Brian says they’ll continue to push for more content and ensure everyone’s represented.

To see the site, visit www.gayswithkids.com.




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Authormelinda cheevers

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