Daddy Square is a weekly podcast for and by gay dads, joining the successful blog of the same name. Coming to you from West Hollywood, Yan and Alex, a married couple with 5-year-old twins talk about parenting, relationships, self growth and gay stuff. In each episode they bring a guest and tackle an issue that arises in parenting in general and in gay parenting in particular.
Daddy Squared Around The World SEASON FINALE: Russia, China, Iran
Throughout the season we've interviewed gay men from countries around the world, but all of these countries could easily be argued incredibly supportive of the LGBT community and of LGBT parenting. Not so much the three countries that we are focusing on in this episode
The Not-Such-Great-Places-to-be-a-Gay-Dad Episode
This season, Daddy Squared has (virtually) flown from country-to-country around the world talking to gay dads and experts about what it’s like to be gay and become a gay dad in places like Ireland, South Africa, Argentina, etc., etc. The countries we’ve covered have had all kinds of important variations in LGBTQ rights, parental rights, laws regarding Surrogacy and IVF, etc., etc. But one thing they all had in common was a basic belief in the right of a gay man to live openly – and have a family.
For our season finale, we decided it was time to deal with the rest of the world: the many, many countries where not only is being a gay dad impossible, but homosexuality itself is forbidden or persecuted. For obvious reasons, our guests on this episode could not come to us live from the countries of their origin. Instead, X, Y and Alex joined us representing Taiwan & China, Russia, and Iran, respectively. It’s a fascinating and meaningful talk.
And yes, we know: Way to end the season on a high note! But actually, having just listened to the episode ourselves, we’ve realized that the perseverance held by members of the LGBTQ community everywhere in the world is nothing short of miraculous – and ultimately, we shall overcome!
LGBT people in China face legal and social challenges that are not experienced by non-LGBT residents. According to the Constitution of China, same-sex couples are unable to marry or adopt, and households headed by such couples are ineligible for the same legal protections available to heterosexual couples. No anti-discrimination protections exist for LGBT people.
Iran's government structure is parliamentary. It has a "democratic" layer with a tripartite separation of powers, above which looms the "theocratic" layer with the Guardian Council and Supreme Leader. LGBT people in the Iran face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. While people can legally change their assigned sex, sexual activity between members of the same sex is illegal and can be punishable by up to death. Bottom line: it's scary to be gay in Iran.
Russia has long held strongly negative views regarding homosexuality. Although same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults in private was decriminalized in 1993, homosexuality is disapproved of by most Russians, and same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are ineligible for the legal protections.
Eddie Chen, an entrepreneur born and raised in Taiwan, moved to the United States in 1990 at the age of 16. He graduated from USC then founded a few businesses including a wearable heated clothing company called VENTURE HEAT. With ongoing business in China and some family members in Taiwan; he travels back to Asia frequently. This allows him to stay connected to his heritage and familiar with current social climate. He currently resides in Orange County, California with his loving husband of 5+ years. They welcomed their first son in 2019 through surrogacy in California and they have a second son due in 2021.
Dimitry Kostantinov moved to Los Angeles from Russia, and raises his 14-months son, born through surrogacy, with his husband, Casey.
Daddy Squared Around The World: Ireland
Daddy Squared: The Gay Dads Podcast looks at gay rights and fatherhood options in Ireland. We talked with Irish Minister for Equality Roderic O'Gorman, to get a taste of what it’s like being gay in Ireland, and researched options for Irish gay men who want to become dads.
Ireland's Minister of Equality, Roderic O'Gorman responds to Westlife star Mark Feehily call on Irish government to put surrogacy legislation in place.
"I think in terms of surrogacy, the problems that are faced by gay couples, we have very little legislation about surrogacy, and how the law treats children born through surrogacy," Minister O'Gorman said on Daddy Squared podcast, "and that's something that this government is acting on, we're committed to acting on this."
"Laws of surrogacy are dealt with by our department of health and they will be leading on this but my department of equality and also the departments of children and of justice," Minister O'Gorman explains, "We have all been working together, so the three ministers have met a number of times with our attorney general. As I'm sure you know, there are many different circumstances in which a child can be conceived as a result of surrogacy, and different people can be involved depending on the approach taken, so there's a whole range of legal relationships that has to be regulated. Obviously of course, the center to that are the rights of the child, and I'm actually meeting with the minister for justice and the minister for health next week to continue to work on this."
"Obviously our department of health, like every department of health across the world, has been absolutely focused on COVID over the last 15 months, but I think as we come out of COVID now and the situation here in Ireland has been improving significantly, we need to prioritize issues like this and it is a priority for this government. I know Mark said it's not an emergency, but it leaves hundreds, if not soon to be thousands, of children in a really grey area in terms of their legal rights with respect to their two parents and that can't go on."
Our Guest: Minister Roderic O'Gorman
Roderic O'Gorman is an Irish Green Party politician who has served as Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth since June 2020. He lives in Dublin with his partner, Ray Healy. He has said that he knew he wanted to be a politician even before he identified his sexuality.
Surrogacy for Gay Men in Ireland
"I think that surrogacy is what's growing at the moment [as an option for gay men to build their family in Ireland] and that's why it's so important to provide that regulatory and that legal framework protection for children and to make sure that the legal relationship between the child and their two dads is clear and strong," Minister O'Gorman said on Daddy Squared Podcast.
There is no Irish legislation to cover the legal issues arising from surrogacy. Due to this current vacuum, the legal status and rights of all involved are governed by legislation dealing with non-surrogate births and children. Read about Ireland's surrogacy legal status on CitizenInformation.ie
Fostering and Adoption for Gay Men In Ireland
"Internally in Ireland, there aren't as many mothers giving their children up for adoption anymore," said Minister O'Gorman, "so the number of children who are available to adopt every year i...
Daddy Squared Around The World: Brazil
Daddy Squared: The Gay Dads Podcast looks at gay rights and fatherhood options in Brazil. We talked with Brazilian Senator and gay dad Fabiano Contarato, to get a taste of what it’s like being a gay dad in Brazil, and researched options for Brazilian gay men who want to become dads.
Brazil has a constitution that guarantees equal rights under the law for all Brazilians regardless of background or sexual identity. "But in actuality," says Senator Fabiano Contarato, "it is a country that unfortunately is racist, sexist, classist and homophobic. Especially in terms of the nuclear families, I would say that in terms of the prejudices that we experience as gay men and other LGBTQIA+ it is our nuclear families that eventually has the most prejudice against our kind."
"I will say that within Brazilian society, if a gay man is able to gain better position of power, we do end up gaining more rights within society," The Senator adds.
It wasn't until 2019 that the Brazilian supreme court gave equal standing status to homophobic attacks at the same plain of race-based attacks. And it wasn't until 2020 that the federal tribunal in Brazil allowed for LGBTQA people to donate blood. "The rights of LGBTQA people in Brazil were not gained through the normal means of legislation," says Senator Contarato, "but through the supreme court where we would have to fight for the rights."
Fabiano Contarato is currently married and has two children through adoption. As the first ever LGBT senator elected, he contributes a lot to the visibility of LGBT people in Brazil in general, and same-sex parents in particular. "Despite all the prejudice I was able to work at the police force and as a law professor," he says. "I was able to be elected as Senator and have more votes than the current governor."
Our Guest: Fabiano Contarato
Fabiano Contarato is the first openly LGBT person to be elected for the Brazilian Senate. He was the most voted candidate for the Brazilian Senate in the state of Espírito Santo during the 2018 Brazilian general election, with over one million votes. He's a Brazilian law professor, a former police chief, he lives with his husband and two adopted children.
Ouça a entrevista completa e não editada com o senador Fabiano Contarato em português. No estúdio em Los Angeles estão pais gays e o casal Yan e Alex, com o tradutor para o português Mario Guevara-Martinez
Adoption for Gay Men in Brazil
Adoption is legal in Brazil following a supreme court decision in 2010. The procedure is relatively simple, and begins with submitting an application for qualifying for adoption at the Children's and Youth Court of the city where the gay single or couple resides.
They then present an initial petition containing: complete qualification, family data, certified copies of birth or marriage certificate or statement relating to the period of common-law marriage, copies of RG and CPF, proof of income and residence, certificate of physical and mental health, criminal record certificate and civil distribution clearance certificate.
The maximum period for completing the qualification for adoption is 120 days, which can be extended for an equal period.
Read more about adoption in Brazil (Portuguese)
Surrogacy for Gay Men in Brazil
Commercial surrogacy is not allowed in Brazil,
Daddy Squared Around The World: Israel
Daddy Squared: The Gay Dads Podcast looks at gay rights and fatherhood options in Israel. We talked with Israeli pop star and gay dad Ivri Lider to get a taste of what it’s like being a gay dad in Israel, and researched options for Israeli gay men who want to become dads.
Parenting is engraved in Israeli culture. In this episode of Daddy Squared we give a taste of gay fatherhood in Israel as well as explore options for gay men to become dads.
"In Israel these days it's really very common for gay men to have kids," singer Ivri Lider tells Daddy Squared, "it's pretty amazing what happens in Tel Aviv. In the last 10 years it became the obvious thing, like the normal obvious thing for gay couples to have kids. In Israel, having kids is something that is very much intrenched in society and it's, like, important. Having kids is like the most important thing you can do with your life."
Despite the normality of gays with kids in Israel, and the popularity of surrogacy among gay Israelis, surrogacy is still illegal in the country, and gay men are forced to have kids abroad. "It is something that we really are fighting for these days," Lider says, "because right now it's a discriminating law. If you're a straight couple you can do surrogacy in Israel and also if you're a woman you can do surrogacy in Israel, but if you are a man you can't. It's kinda obvious that it's more of an anti-gay law because there's not a lot of straight men who go through surrogacy alone. We definitely see it as something discriminating against gay men, but the Israeli Supreme Court ruled last year that it should be changed. So it's this moment in time when we're waiting to see what's gonna happen with that."
Lider, had his son, Alby, through surrogacy in the U.S. in 2019. "It's such an amazing thing," he says about parenthood, "suddenly to having a little kid and watching the world through his eyes, learning about the world with him and being able to teach him --it's just incredible."
"It took time for me to decide that I'm doing it and how I'm doing it. At the beginning I was in a long relationship and I was thinking I would be doing it in a relationship, and then we broke up--partially because of that, because he wasn't ready, and then I was a long for a while, thinking I would do joint parenting, and I met with a few girls and then after a while I was feeling that this is not really for me, I was feeling that I'll never feel ready to do it with a woman who's not my wife, and I felt in a kind of deep psychological way for me to not commit enough. So I thought, 'ok, you're going to commit,' and I was still single when I started the process."
"And the most amazing thing is that I met Yonatan, my boyfriend, right after I started. So I started the process as a single man but eventually when Alby was born we were already in a relationship. Yonatan will tell you that on the first date we were sitting at my house and talking and having wine, and I was like, 'yeah, I'm having a kid.'"
Surrogacy for Gay Men in Israel
Surrogacy is illegal for single men and gay couples in Israel, therefore, gay men travel abroad, mostly to the U.S. and Canada, for their journey.
Joint Parenthood (Co-Parenting) for Gay Men in Israel
"It's very common to do it with someone you know for many years," Ivri Lider says. "Like, a lot of my friends will tell you, 'oh we were friends in high school,' or we know this woman for 20 years and now we're going to have a kid together.' In a very Israeli fashion it's very family-like, a close relationship."
Our Guest: Ivri Lider
Daddy Squared Around The World: Australia
Daddy Squared: The Gay Dads Podcast looks at gay rights and fatherhood options in Australia. We talked with Equality Australia founder and gay dad Tom Snow to get a taste of what it’s like being a gay dad in Australia, and researched options for gay men who want to become dads.
Gay dad Tom Snow was a key person in Australia's Marriage Equality campaign. Though the Australian campaign was fueled by the success in Ireland and in the United States, in the interview on our podcast Tom explained the key difference between Australia and those countries.
"In Ireland the biggest message around marriage equality was about equality," Snow explained. "In the U.S. there were a few things that were use but freedom was a big one, equality and rights were also big in the states. But when we message-tested those in Australia, the biggest thing that Australians get is fairness. And what we realized is that people just saw it as not fair that same sex couples were not able to get married. They could see the unfairness of it, and they were like 'that's not decent' that there's a group of people that are not treated the same."
Winning marriage was important for the country, however, Snow told Daddy Squared it wasn't quite important for parenting, as gay men could have kids, even before marriage, in a few different ways. "Surrogacy, adoption and co-parenting are probably the big three," he says, "historically many gay men and lesbian women did it through co-parenting. The good news in Australia is that adoption is reasonably equal in the law, in that case it's reasonably equal for gays and lesbians. We do have some issues that some of the adoption agencies that are religious-based, discriminate against our community and continue to do so."
"Surrogacy is harder for gay men in Australia, there might be a family friend or a family member who might carry a baby for a gay male couple. That's difficult [to find a surrogate] so many gay men do go overseas."
A dad of a twin 10-year-olds and a 6-year-old through surrogacy, Snow shared his own story of parenthood. "Never is everything under control," he laughs, "but it's the most fun experience, every day is just a riot of fun. I say this to everyone looking at being a parent, it's a lot harder than I ever expected it to be, but it's also a lot better than I ever expected it to be. It is a complete change in your life."
Adoption for Gay Dads in Australia
Currently in Australia, laws around adoption and fostering by LGBT people differ by state/territory. The first step for prospective parents is to research which type of adoption or permanent care is possible in your state or territory.
There are three types of adoption in Australia: domestic adoption (local and from out of home care), inter-country adoption, or permanent care and foster care. Helpful information about adoption in general and by-state in Australia can be found on adoptchange.org.au
It's important to state that religious-based foster care agencies may appeal to legal provisions allowing them to refuse to assess LGBT applicants.
Full information sheet on adoption and foster care in Australia by Australian Psychology Society (APS) can be found here.
Surrogacy for Gay Dads in Australia
Surrogacy in Australia is based on state-by-state laws. Western Australia, for example, only allows single women and heterosexual couples to engage in surrogacy.
Daddy Squared Around the World: Argentina
Daddy Squared: The Gay Dads Podcast looks at gay rights and fatherhood options in Argentina. We talked with Argentinian LGBT activist Pablo Fracchia to get a taste of what it’s like being a gay dad in Argentina, and researched options for gay men who want to become dads.
Pablo Fracchia signed up to adopt a child in 2017, and after two long years of waiting he got a phone call from a family judge.
The judge matched him with Mia, a little girl who suffered with a severe gastrointestinal condition, needed serious medical attention and her biological family was unable to provide it, so she was sent to an institution for children with health issues. Fracchia adopted her after she was living in the hospital for a year, alone. His story was told all over the world.
״It's been a crazy year," Pablo admits on Daddy Squared Podcast. "The article came out last year in Argentina for our Diverse Families Day, the newspaper wanted to make an article about diverse families, they contacted me and for the last year it's been crazy.
"A lot of people contact me through social media and I'm trying to [answer all the questions about my story]. There's a lot of misconception about adoption in Argentina, about this process that used to be a very complex, but was simplified over the years so a lot of people ask me questions, I became some source of information and since I'm also a social worker and work on LGBT issues, to me it's a way of activism by itself to help people to achieve their parenting dreams."
The most inspiring detail in Pablo's story was his decision to adopt a child as a single man, a decision that according to him wasn't easy to make.
"The first thing I did when I decided to adopt on my own was to gather my family and tell them you know I'm making this life decision and I'm not going to be able to do it if you're not supporting me," Pablo tells us. "I needed to know that they were going to be by my side and of course they were absolutely on board.
"I was thinking that it was time to break the idea that in order to have a kid you have to be in a relationship. I worked that with my therapist, and said ok let's do it."
Despite the acceptance of the law in Argentina in regards to LGBT people, visibility of LGBT parents makes life for LGBT families in Argentina a lot better. People like trans actress Florencia De La V, gay dancer and TV Judge Flavio Mendoza, and trans comedienne Lizy Tagliani had famously have gone through surrogacy in the United States and are outspoken about their families.
"In a way,