By Frank Lowe
Originally published on Advocate.com June 19 2014 8:45 AM ET
As everyone knows, June is LGBT Pride Month. The word pride has changed significantly for me over the years. When I was a 20-something, it meant at least a weekend-long boozefest and hanging out half naked in the streets. It meant ogling hot leather daddies and catching gaudy beads from drag queens on elaborate floats. It seemed to get crazier and crazier as time progressed, and the crowds kept getting larger and larger. I honestly took away from the whole thing that pride meant partying, which isn’t exactly the point, right?
Pride now means something totally different for me. I have pride that I am a gay man in his 30s and am legally married and am legally a parent to a beautiful little boy. That wasn’t necessarily something I felt was a possibility when I was a young gay, and though I have always been determined to be a parent, it felt out of reach. Thanks to everyone who fought for their rights before me, I can have this kind of life. I consider myself a fighter as well, as I have made myself a visible gay parent. Everyone feels pride differently, and no one should take anything away from that. That being said, here is my list of 10 reasons I have pride in being a gay parent:
1. I’m a bona fide “daddy.” And yes, sometimes this daddy likes to get spanked too.
2. My man bag is finally validated. Before having a kid, it seemed over-the-top to carry around a huge Prada tote. Now people see me pull out a first-aid kit at the playground and don’t even think twice.
3. Kids make the best accessories. Forget toy dogs; kids are the accessories de rigueur, especially if you are fortunate enough to end up with a cute one (like me).
4. Naps are amazing. My new favorite time of day is naptime. We can be completely wound up and doing lots of crazy activities, but when naptime hits, I shut that shit down.
5. Holidays and birthdays are epic, grandiose events. As I’m writing this, it’s my son’s fifth birthday and I’ve already got the themes planned out until he’s 14.
6. Brainwashing is fun. No joke, my kid knows the words to every Miley, Beyoncé, Britney, Kesha, and Lady Gaga song that exists. And the dance moves to at least half of their videos.
7. It pisses off the conservatives. What better way to give the middle finger to people who oppose this lifestyle than to have a real, functioning family that is no different than they are? (Except we’re not bigoted assholes.)
8. Hearing “Your kid is the best-dressed I’ve ever seen” never gets old. He’s my little fashion doll!
9. Disney World trips several times a year. Before we looked like all the other weirdos who go there without kids. Now we have the kid and get a VIP tour guide so we can skip the lines and piss everybody off.
10. In all seriousness (for once — this is a rare moment), nothing is better than knowing we are forming an amazing person. He will grow up open-minded and accepting and with a much different worldview than his peers. He has a unique set of challenges that we, as his gay dads, will help him overcome. He is the future.
Take some time this month to reflect what you have pride in, whether it’s a tongue-in-cheek list like mine or a cathartic exercise you didn’t know you needed. We all have endured different kinds of hardships, and this is the month that we honor them and be thankful for the progress that is happening all around us.
FRANK LOWE is The Advocate’s parenting writer. Follow Frank on Twitter @GayAtHomeDad and on Instagram at gayathomedad.