John Selig Outspoken Podcast Interview with Tom & Travis Knoll – A Gay Dad and His 17-Year Old Son

I just uploaded two new episodes of my John Selig Outspoken
podcast this weekend that feature a 2-part interview with Tom and
Travis Knoll, a gay dad and his 17-year old son. I produced this
interview with the Family Equality Council in both my mind. You
won’t want to miss this interview and you will want to pass the two
episodes (#47 & #48) around to other gay parents that you know,
as well as family members and friends.

This is a unique family (but then so is every family). Tom
teaches accounting at a local college. He adopted Travis when
Travis was 6 years old after Travis had been removed from his birth
parents and had lived with three different foster families. It
wasn’t long before Tom, who is a single dad, realized that Travis
was extremely talented and gifted. Many parents dream of having
children with great gifts, but being a parent to such a child has
unique challenges.

I have known both Tom and Travis for 3 to 4 years and have
become a mentor to Travis who has frequently joined friends and
myself in conversations at one of the local coffee shops here in
the Oak Lawn section of Dallas. Travis attends the Booker T.
Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts as he is
gifted musically both playing the piano and more recently becoming
a composer. Travis’s gifts extend far beyond music, however. He
is an avid student of history, philosophy, political science,
religion and current events. In his discussions at the coffee shop
Travis typically discuses issues in far greater depth citing
historical background far beyond that studied by most of us who are
in our 40s to 70s. In the 4th grade Travis started pestering Tom to
take him to the public library so that he could devour adult level
books on history, politics and such.

Travis has just started his senior year of high school and he
will be spending the second half of his school year as an AFS
exchange student in Argentina year. I have enjoyed watching Travis
mature. He has become more confident in his academic discussions,
better at listening to the opinions of others as his social skills
have grown dramatically. When speaking with somebody as
intellectually advanced and curious as young as Travis one is
jarred into reality when his social skills are more age
appropriate. In fact it does a bit of a time warp on when you first
encounter Travis’s age-appropriate behavior and ask yourself why
doesn’t he behave more like somebody my age. Then you remember
and have an “aha moment,” Travis is still a teenager in all
other respects other than his intellect.

During the first of the two episodes (Episode 47) you will hear
the story of Tom growing up, his adopting of Travis and what it
been like to raise him. Travis shares his memories of his early
childhood and being adopted by Tom, what school has been like and
his experiences of being raised by a gay dad. We even included a
short example of Travis playing the piano at the age of 14.

During Episode 48 the second part of the interview Tom and
Travis Knoll continue our conversation. Travis shares some of his
views on history, politics and religion. Remember, he is 17 as you
listen to him discuss authors and their books and what he has
learned from them. Tom has advice for others considering becoming

I will also be delivering a commentary during this episode
called “Verbal Gold” which deals with the power of LGBT parents
and their kids sharing their stories.

The religious right, who are opposed to LGBT folks adopting kids
and also cringe at those of us who raise our biological kids
won’t be happy with this interview. Both Travis and his dad are
religious and avid members of their Methodist church. In fact, one
of the professions that Travis is considering is theology. You will
begin to see some of the gifts that Travis posses during Episode
47.However, during the 2nd part of our interview on Episode 48 you
will really be blown away as Travis goes into much more detail
about his intellectual pursuits. At that point, if you are anything
like me, you will have to keep reminding yourself that Travis is
17. He’s incredible.

Episode 47 – Tom & Travis Knoll – Gay Dad and His Son (Part 1
of 2)

Episode 48 – Tom & Travis Knoll – Gay Dad and His Son (Part 2
of 2)