…ion toward women — is rooted in patterns typically learned from a father or father figure. However, for many, fatherhood remains the core determinant of masculinity: who can be a father, who should be a father, and what authentic fatherhood looks like. And in many Black families of any nationality, masculinity is such a rigidly defined concept that an…
Gay and Bisexual Fathers
What an interesting and well-written article. Thank you, Steven.
I came out as gay at forty after a brief period of thinking I was bisexual. "Bisexual" was the only thing that seemed to explain how I could be married to my wife but had fallen in love with a man. (The "catchall" you mentioned.)
We expect that fathers will teach their sons how to become men. My father died when I was only three, and for many years I asked myself, "How can I become a man if I don't have a father to teach me?"
I tried putting other men in that role, but I was unsuccessful. In my mind, my father was an icon, the perfect man that I could never be. None of the surrogate-fathers I chose could match his perfection.
My father's death became my go-to explanation for confusion about my own sexual orientation.
When I fathered my two daughters, I finally felt--albeit for a short time--"I am finally a man and I have two daughters to prove it."
But those doubts about being a man crept back in.
When I considered coming out and divorcing their mother, I felt for a time like I was abandoning fatherhood. I'd placed a premium on becoming the best father I could become, and I was failing. And I was walking away from the one thing that proved I was a man.
Ironically, when I came out, I felt more like a man than I'd ever felt before. I saw the great diversity of men and realized that the "authentic fatherhood" you wrote about was much, much more than who ejaculated.
Fatherhood is about loving. Nurturing. Mentoring. Counseling. Supporting. Accepting.
My daughters are now 49 and 46, and I know that I am their father, and they love me as anyone loves their father. They also love my husband.
Most of the gay men that I know who've father children are exceptional fathers whose love and commitment to their children is constant.
It is a tragic loss for everyone when the Others reject them.