Bush-Frank. Brian and Steven, along with five year old son Darius,
consider themselves to be just your ordinary gay, foster-adoptive,
transracial American family. To visit their blog, click here. The
Bush-Frank Family attended Family Equality Council’s Family Week 2008.
“I don’t wanna go home, I don’t wanna! It’s boring there
and there’s nothing to do and there’s no beach! I wanna stay in
Ptown!” Unfortunately, that’s not my five year old son
complaining, that’s my forty eight year old partner. And I really
can’t complain because, frankly, I agree with him.
It’s the last night of Family Week and tomorrow we’ll get up
early and return home. It’s been a week filled with pleasures
both new and old. One of the most pleasant surprises of this
year’s Family Week was attending the workshop for Project
Harmony. Being a transracial family, we felt that one of us should
go to show support for this new Family Equality initiative,
although I didn’t go expecting to learn anything useful or
unique. Yet I spent my time at the workshop engaged with other
parents in an honest, direct, and informative conversation about
issues of color and our families. I also learned from other GLBTQ
parents whose perspective I hadn’t even considered, such as
parents in our community who are culturally Deaf. I now have high
hopes for Project Harmony, and look forward to seeing its progress
over the coming year.
And of course a recurring pleasure for us at Family Week has always
been attending the Dad’s Gathering. Now, don’t get me wrong:
lesbian moms are a very important part of our life as a gay family.
It was lesbian moms who first welcomed us as prospective parents,
lesbian moms who supported us through the long road to parenthood,
and lesbian moms who celebrated with us when we became parents at
last. Just this week, a group of loud and proud dykes befriended
our son on the beach and taught him to throw a football (something
that he’s certainly not going to learn from me!).
Yet for me, something magical happens when gay dads come together.
We’re much less numerous than other parents in our community, but
Family Week gives us the chance to spend time with each other, not
only at the formal gathering but throughout the week, in ways big
and small. We still have much to learn from lesbian moms about
building community, but we also hold in our hands a unique
opportunity. We have the chance to found a new culture of
fatherhood and a new way to be men. Just as gay men once created a
new culture and a new way to connect with each other based on
sexual freedom and expression, we have the chance to create another
new culture based on still different ways to connect with each
other: the shared bonds of fatherhood and the chance to raise our
sons as better men and our daughters as better women. We have the
chance to be fathers who are both strong and loving, who are fully
involved in the lives of our children, and who set a high standard
for our sons to follow and for our daughters to expect from
I don’t yet know the shape of this new culture. But the more time
I spend with other gay dads, the more I listen to their thoughts
and their ideas, the clearer it becomes to me. So I don’t have a
grand vision or manifesto of gay fatherhood to proclaim. Yet I feel
in my heart, gathering with other gay dads at Family Week, that I
am standing at the birth of something new and wonderful.
Fortunately, I won’t have to wait another year to meet again with
other gay dads – and other GLBTQ parents – and feel a healthy
dose of gay family pride. If you’re able, please come and join us
and other families from around New York State and beyond at the
and Joy Families Weekend Conference in Utica in April 2009.
COLAGE will be there, Family Equality’s own Jennifer Chrisler
will be a keynote speaker, and it promises to be an exciting and
affirming weekend. And the Bush-Frank family will see you at Family
Week next summer in Provincetown!