The Challenges of Gay Fatherhood
Dan Savage writes the internationally syndicated relationship and sex advice column "Savage Love." Savage has been outspoken in his support for gay rights and his hostility for social conservatives. In 2010 he and his husband Terry launched the "It Get Better Project" in response to a rash of suicides among LGBT teenagers. The project encourages gay LGBT adults to record videos for victims of bullying with the simple message that life gets better after high school. Savage is also the author of several books including "The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family."
Question: Have there been any unique challenges to gay fatherhood?
Dan Savage: There really haven’t been that many things I would describe as unique. There is no gay way to change a diaper, except in certain sex clubs I would expect. And I didn’t grow up obsessing about my parents' genitalia. I knew my mom was a woman and my dad was a man, but I didn’t think about their genitalia all the time. They were people, and they were my parents and he seems to regard us in that same way. There have been some moments that were pretty hilarious where he insisted he was going to be gay when he grows up like us because he didn’t like girls at nine and we had to let him know that at nine we only liked girls and that was a pretty good sign that he was actually going to be straight when he grew up that he didn’t like girls at nine. So certain things you know errors of... certain assumptions he has made based on what he has observed that turned out not to be true we had to disabuse him of.
The most heartbreaking thing kind of happened recently where he didn’t want to tell us about something that was going on because he didn’t think we would understand, because we were gay and he was straight and so he wanted to... he felt he couldn’t talk to us about straight stuff. And that was kind of heartbreaking because when we were kids we felt we couldn’t talk to our parents about gay stuff when we were 12, because we were hiding from our parents. We didn’t want them to know we were gay because we were afraid of what they might do. And it was sort of heartbreaking to realize that he had sort of landed in the same place and was afraid to talk to us about things about his private life, even at 12, because he didn’t think we would understand because we were gay and he was straight. And we talked about that and now he tells us stuff. Now he talks to us about it, but at first he felt like we wouldn’t be able to help him and that was kind of sad. That kind of broke both our hearts, but we got through it.
Recorded on October 18, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller
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