By Frank Lowe
Originally published on Advocate.com March 13 2014 7:18 AM ET
I will be the first to admit, when our child was old enough to open his eyes, I was quick to find TV shows that would entertain him. After all, I grew up on TV and have turned out pretty fucking fabulous. What harm could it really do? There’s always a new study that says something is bad for you, and if you listened to all them, you would be a Buddhist monk. Even monks have their bad habits though, I’m sure. (Right?)
From an early age, our son was very attracted to a particular TV show that resonated with me as well — Yo Gabba Gabba! It was the perfect mix of silly stoner fun and important moral lessons. Not to mention, I used to party with the host, Lance Rock, back in St. Louis in the late ’90s, so it was pretty cool to see him rave out on a children’s show. During the commercials, there would always be this annoying interlude from the actual channel that proclaimed, “We’re not perfect, we’re parents.” It actually used to make me livid. I would scream “Speak for yourself!” at the screen like the crazy person I am. Over time, this mantra actually resonated very true to me, and now I feel like I almost need it tattooed on my forehead to remind everyone.
It doesn’t take much to see that parents are judged for their decisions. Just go back to some of my previous articles and look at the comments below — I’ve heard remarks including “You shouldn’t be a parent” and “Who would give you a child?” And those people were being serious! It’s as though when you’re a parent, you are opening yourself up to the world of judgment by pretty much anyone who will speak their mind, parent or not. I’m here to say that that is complete bullshit. How people parent their child is their business and their business only. There are exceptions, yes, such as when the child is actually in jeopardy, but those exceptions are rare. What is surprising to me is the amount of judgment from within the gay community.
I am here to tell you, yes, I’m a gay dad, yes, my child is my number one priority, and yes, I make a shitload of mistakes. Deal with it. I’m here, I’m queer, and I’m raising a damn good kid. I love my kid more than life itself. I don’t care if the gay parents up the street have sacrificed their entire lives to make sure their kid has everything it wants and they have zero social lives. That’s their decision. I choose to raise my child in a fun yet strict environment that focuses on important things like education, athletics, and most of all, humor. There seems to be this notion that once you’re gay and have a kid, you have to be a saint, and the rest of the gay community thinks they’re supposed to hold you to it. I am still the same person I was before — the only difference is my priorities have drastically shifted. I still like to party (in moderation), I still like sex (a lot), and I still place an emphasis on looking good. You wouldn’t catch me dead in dad jeans, and I’m damn proud of it.
FRANK LOWE is The Advocate’s parenting writer. Follow Frank on Twitter @GayAtHomeDad and on Instagram at gayathomedad.