5×15 Gay Dads Connect (Season Finale)
Looking to meet other gay dads in your home town and beyond? in this Season Finale of Daddy Squared podcast we hope to leave you with ideas and inspiration on how to connect with other gay dads. We explore advocacy and social media as ways to form communities with three inspiring guests who have managed to do just that.
In addition to juggling work and parenting, gay dads need other gay dad friends. Not only to show our kids families like ours, but also for ourselves and as a connection to our own gay identity, and frankly there are issues that we can’t discuss with straight people.
“Certainly there’s the aspect [of connecting with other gay dads] for the kids’ sake, but then there’s the aspect, the real need for comradery is also for us,” says Ron Poole-Dayan, Executive Director and co-founder of Men Having Babies. “Given that a lot of our gay friends disappeared after the kids were born, whereas the parents of our kids at school have different circumstances than us as well. It’s not that we’re completely different than anybody else – but you know, when you go to Mommy and Me, or Music Together with the kids and all these other things, you’re in a mom-centric world. And it’s not only that you need to show your kids, YOU need to let your hair down and be more comfortable and create friendships with people.”
Finding other gay dads can be around advocacy or a cause like Men Having Babies or Raise A Child, which add an extra layer of mutual interest in addition to geographical proximity. But social media is becoming the number one tool for gay dads to find others like them in the area.
“That happens all the time,” says Brian Copeland, founder and admin of the Gay Fathers Facebook group that currently holds over 10,000 members. “Someone says ‘oh, I’m in Olathe, Kansas, any gay fathers nearby here?’ and people start commenting and they get together. We’ll see a lot of fathers who say ‘hey, we’re going on a cruise at this time, is there anyone else going to be on the cruise,’ or ‘we’re going to Disney this week, is there anyone else going,’ and they start meeting up. We encourage those things.”
When we talk about being social, we also talk social responsibility and roles of gay dads within the LGBT+ community.
“I think that as older gay men with kids or older gay men period, it’s very important that we show up proudly at the gay pride parades with our kids,” Rich Valenza, CEO of Raise A Child, says. Show not only the world who we are and what we are and what our values are but also to allow younger people to see this and envision for themselves of what’s possible.”
Our Guests: Rich Valenza, Ron Poole-Dayan, Brian Copeland
Rich Valenza is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of RaiseAChild. A father of two children adopted through Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, Rich has more than 20 years of success in marketing and development for broadcast media and nonprofit organizations. He has used his expertise in working with leading national and international corporations to form strategic partnerships with community service agencies, national and regional LGBT organizations. In addition to his personal experience, he brings the knowledge gained from serving five years as a board member and three years as the president of The Pop Luck Club, which promotes the well-being of gay prospective parents, gay parents, and their children.
Ron Poole-Dayan is the executive director and founder of Men Having Babies. He has over 20 years of experience in marketing and business strategy development both in the USA and internationally. Ron earned his Masters degree in political economy and comparative politics from Columbia University, and his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He met his husband Greg in 1994, and are among the first same-sex couples in the nation to father children through gestational surrogacy. The twins, born in 2001, were conceived with the use of eggs donated by Greg’s sister, and carried by a gestational carrier. Ron has been the MHB program coordinator since 2005, and was appointed as the Executive Director of Men Having Babies upon its incorporation in July 2012.
Brian Copeland is the founder and administrator of Gay Fathers on Facebook, the largest global online community for gay dads. In 2018, he was chosen as one of Facebook’s top 100 community leaders. He has represented Facebook on stage at their Marketing Week Executives’ Meeting in New York City and at the CMX Summit in Los Angeles. In 2022, Gay Fathers was nominated in the Identity Category for Facebook’s Community Awards. Brian is a real estate investor and professional in Nashville, Tennessee where he and his husband live with their two children on a farm where they raise alpacas, fainting goats, cows, and chickens.
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