Daddy Square is a biweekly podcast for gay men who are or want to become parents. Coming to you from West Hollywood, Yan and Alex, a married couple with 6-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.
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.
What’s it like raising kids in a throuple? In this episode we dive into the dynamic of a polyamorous relationship with Ian, Alan, and Jeremy, the throuple who made the news after they managed to change the way California law defines family, listing all three of them as fathers on their daughter’s birth certificate.
In recent years we are seeing more and more throuples in the gay community, and on our podcast Dr. Ian Jenkins, author of the book Three Dads and a Baby, explained to us how it came about for him.
“In collage I took a bunch of anthropology classes,” Jenkins explains, “and I was thinking to myself, it’s pretty unusual that someone is EVERYTHING to somebody else, and there may be different aspects of your personality that somebody else nurtures or feels, needs and stuff, so, that was something that I brought to my dating with Alan and he had needed to do some thinking about it and make sure that was okay, we went ahead and started to date a couple of people, we kissed a number of frogs before we met Jeremy, with Jeremy it was totally different, we had a great connection right away.”
Ian had been with Alan for 19 years, and they’ve been with Jeremy, for ten. And they have two biological children — Piper, who is 5, and Parker, who is 3.
“If you asked me about being in a throuple, before [my experience] I’d say that’s too complicated and crazy,” Alan says on Daddy Squared, “why would anyone want that it’s hard enough to be with one person.”
“And after I’d say, oh, now that I’m approaching 45 I realize it’s so pragmatic in a lot of ways. I’m not trying to sell somebody on that and say you should definitely do this, it works for us, it worked out it evolved this way organically, and if we are talking to friends that are of our age, they have kids, they have been in a relationship for a long time, almost universally the reaction is oh I see the appeal.”
On our interview with the three we heard about what it’s like raising kids as a throuple, why it was important to them to make it legal, and we also hear about some of the stereotypes and the misconceptions they face, including ‘coming out’ to their parents about the throuple.
“Being in a throuple is coming out again, for sure,” Alan admits. “I’ve been with Ian for a long time and [my parents] knew Ian. My mom was more like, ‘okay, it’s different, I understand,’ she was supportive, and my dad was like, ‘I just struggle to see how is that conforms with fidelity in all these kind of traditional values.’ But he quickly came around. But we were also in a position, kind of later in life, where I’m not financially dependent on my parents, I’ve got my own life going on, I gotta live my life. I’ve been with Ian for a long time and I felt strongly that our life is better with Jeremy, this needs to work, I wanted to work and this is important to me. ”
“I make a point,” Jeremy adds, “if I meet new people, like if we have a new worker, pretty early on I’d say, like, ‘hey just so you know I have two partners, so if we’re talking about our home lives I don’t want you to sit there and say hey what’s going on.’ I [come out] constantly at all times.”
Our Guests: Ian, Alan and Jeremy
Dr. Ian Jenkins is the author of “Three Dads and a Baby: Adventures in Modern Parenting“, a debut memoir about his experiences trying to have a baby as part of a polyamorous gay “Throuple.” The three men wanted to have a child, but the road to having a baby took them through embryo adoption, IVF and surrogacy, dealing with lawyers and doctors, enormous medical bills, questions about polyamorous parenting,
Latest research shows that more than 25% of children experience bullying, based on them being or seeming different. Some bullied kids end up with serious emotional damage. In this episode we discuss bullying with Ross Ellis from Stomp Out Bullying, and also Yan shares what he learned, unfortunately from his own personal experience. This is part 2 of a double-episode special, celebrating 100 episodes of Daddy Squared: The Gay Dads Podcast.
According to stopbullying.gov, bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.
“Kids don’t want to come to and tell you, ‘dad, this is something that’s happening to me,’” says Ross Ellis, a parenting expert and founder of Stomp Out Bullying. “They try to fix it themselves or pray it will go away. But it doesn’t go away. You really have to take steps.”
This is part 2 in a special double-episode, celebrating 100 episodes of Daddy Squared: The Gay Dads Podcast, discussing bullying. In part 1, also dropped today, we discussed stereotypes and judgement of gay dads. In both episodes we saw how the two subjects are weaved into each other.
“If a kid is being verbally bullied, we tell them to use what we call ‘comebacks’ - don’t have a conversation,” Ellis advises. “You’ve just taken away the bully’s power. Never use the word ‘ignore’ because you just cannot ignore bullying, but you can say things and do things that will make the bully think, ‘what just happened?! And if you experience cyber bullying – never ever respond. I don’t care what they say, just click ‘delete’ and block.”
“That is the bully’s worst nightmare, when someone responds not the way they want them to. You’re taken away their power,” she adds.
Ellis also advises parents to resist the urge of going to the bully’s parents, and try to solve it in indirect way in order to avoid escalation with the parents.
“If you find out that a kid is a bully, you don’t want to go to the parents, because the parents will probably have the attitude of ‘not my kid,’” she says. “And the it creates a problem in the neighborhood with the kids and the whole thing. Hopefully your kids can get to this kid by being nice and being kind. If it gets really bad you may want to talk to the principal and see how they handle it, and by the way, there are anti-bullying legislate in every state.”
Based on the conversation with Ross Ellis, and on his own experience of being harshly bullied as a kid, Daddy Squared's Yan talked about the result of that growing up, and also comes up with top three suggestion of what could have helped him, and what can help a child who is harshly bullied in the same way.
Yan's Advise for Parents Whose Kids Are Being Bullied
1: Pay extra attention to your kid's social experienceSome kids may not admit they were bullied – but the parents can tell. If you suspect that your kid is being bullied, first validate it by seeing it around: pay extra attention when you are in public with your kid, see what type of kids he brings home, etc. If you find these validation, try to get the kid to talk to you about what are people do or say to...
5×12 Gay Dads Stereotypes
Gay dads often face stereotypes, including homophobic ones, but also somewhat uncomfortable stereotypes from moms, and even from childless gay men in our very own community. In this episode of Daddy Squared, we brought Neal Broverman, editor of The Advocate and OUT magazines, to try and break down the stereotypes, and see if there’s something we can do to avoid them. This is part 1 of a double-episode special, celebrating 100 episodes of Daddy Squared.
“Society is more used to women being with children, and when you have men with children there’s just judgement and some of it is not good,” Neal Broverman says on Daddy Squared. “So yeah, I do think there’s pressure on us to be stand out people and kind of represent the best all the time.”
This is part 1 in a special double-episode, celebrating 100 episodes of our podcast discusses stereotypes and judgement of gay dads. In part 2, also dropped today, we discuss bullying. In both episodes we saw how the two subject are weaved into each other.
“If you’ve had a negative situation as a gay male parent, I think almost all of us have had at least one, it kind of colors your experience and you’re on edge,” Broverman says. “You can kind of make situations that aren’t inherently negative negative. As I’ve grown older as a parent, I’ve done my best to filter out other people’s looks, expectations, reactions to my kids.”
Broverman himself made the news last year, after he and his family faced a harsh homophobic harassment in an Amtrak train in San Jose that ended only after police intervention.
“This lie [that drives hate towards gay men] has been going around for decades,” Broverman says, “and now it’s been magnified by people like Margory Taylor Green and all the people that want to refer to us as ‘groomers.’ It’s a cynical tactic.”
“I can be father of the year – and I’ll still be an abomination in the eyes [of the person on the train]. There’s nothing I can do. There’s so much judgement with gay people, and it’s just a war you’re not going to win and I care what my kids think of me, I don’t care what strangers think of me.”
In the podcast, we also discuss the contribution of social media to the judgment and stereotypes.
“I follow gay dads on Instagram and I follow opposite sex couple,” Neal tells us. “There’s definitely a representation being put out there of all our kids are dressed perfectly all the time and their hair is blown out, and, you know, we’re tanned and we have abs and we’re in Maui every other weekend.”
“I mean – everyone who’s a parent knows that’s not the case, we usually running around trying to get our kids to school and hold our jobs and feed the dog and afford to put over a roof and feed them so I take it with a grain of salt. Every parent I know is struggling, and it’s not that they don’t love the idea of being parent, it’s just hard. When I’m on Instagram I understand that this is marketing for people, they present themselves in a very specific way… I know that Instagram is not reality.”
Our Guest: Neal Broverman
Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today.
5×11 Career vs. Parenting
Working gay dads have so much around them that requires attention; we have to divide ourselves between our jobs, our kids, our gay childless friends, our straight parent friends and still remember who we are. In this episode of Daddy Squared we gathered four working dads, each with a different kind of job, to discuss life.
When both parents have jobs, raising kids can be even more challenging: how does parenting effect work? How are the couples' roles divided? And who stays at home when kids are sick? We gathered a committee(?) of four working dads. All are married and with different kinds of jobs, to discuss gay life and more from their perspective and experience.
Meet The Dads
Joshua is a registered nurse with more than eight years of practice in emergency room care, triage, and intensive care unit/critical care units. He received his Master’s of Science in Nursing from West Coast University in Los Angeles, California and is affiliated with Community Hospital Long Beach. Joshua lives in Santa Ana with his husband Omar and their two children Allie and Blair.
TJ is the Executive Director of DCRC - Disability Community Resource Center Staff in Venice, California. He served as the Mental Health Policy Director for almost 10 years representing non-profit provider agencies in the LA County mental health system. He serves on the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and as a Commissioner on the City of Santa Monica Disabilities Commission. TJ lives in Santa Monica with his husband Jay, an Art Director on TV shows, and their daughter Chloe.
Josh Levine is a queer writer with the heart of a golden retriever and an obsession with unapologetic, funny women. Josh most recently served as Executive Story Editor on Steve Levitan's new Hulu comedy Reboot. His other writing credits include Ms. Marvel for Marvel Studios, Peter Tolan's series for FX entitled Belated, and the Emmy-nominated Season 2 of Hulu's critically acclaimed comedy, PEN15. He lives in Los Angeles with his husband Ryan, an actor, and their daughters Helena and Olivia.
Lance is a mathematics teacher at Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. He's a self-directed, enthusiastic educator and basketball coach with over twenty years of experience and who won High School Teacher of the Year (2006, 2012) and Girls Basketball Coach of the Year (2008, 2013). Originally from Oklahoma, Lance now resides in Santa Monica with his husband Trevan, a surgeon, and their daughter, Ava.
Men Having Babies Corner
Men Having Babies is a nonprofit organization that helps gay men who are interested in becoming fathers through surrogacy navigate the sea of information and overcome the financial barrier. In this episode, Lisa from Men Having Babies talks about the relationship between the intended dads and their surrogate.
Co-Hosts: Yan Dekel, Alex MaghenGuests: Joshua Ayou, TJ Hill, Josh Levine and Lance RadfordOpening Theme: Hercules & Love Affair, “Leonora” buy hereArticles Related to this episode:
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5×10 Cake for Breakfast
Many parents feel shame about giving their kids cake or candy and the idea of giving processed sugar became taboo among parents. In this episode of Daddy Squared we went on a journey to find the balance of nutrition for kids and found the “no-shame no-shade” method that will reassure you that your kids eat healthy, but at the same time not depriving them of sugar. We spoke to a nutritionist and a pediatric gastroenterologist, and came up with our own nutrition mix-and-match healthy meal cheat sheet.
Admitting we give our kids “Cake for Breakfast” on the TV Show The Parent Test sparked a conversation around sugar and kids’ nutrition. While we’ve been struggling with this for a while (and even tried to solve it before on our podcast), we were reluctant to deprive our kids of sugar, but instead wanted to find a “magic formula” of a diet that is healthy – but also has cake in it. We think we found it!
“We all deal with the same problems, I come across that on a daily basis,” told us celebrity nutritionist Kevin Libby. “First and foremost, when you’re approaching adolescent nutrition, whether it be toddlers or pre-teens, the number one thing you don’t want to do is assign any punishment or rewards to foods. Otherwise you start creating a life-long negative behaviors around food. You want them to have a good relationship with food, it’s there to nourish them, it’s there to give them energy.”
To further deepen our research, we also found Dr. Matthew Riley, a pediatric gastroenterologist (and a gay dad!) who first of all stripped off the shame around sugar and then told us that there’s no one right food to eat or right way to formulate your diet – so we can start with what our kids eat now, and just add what’s missing and play with the balance of the type of food.
“You really have to go back to what are the building blocks of nutrition,” Dr. Riley explained on Daddy Squared podcast. “And sugar - it’s just sugar, it’s carbohydrate, nearly everything that we eat has sugar in it. So it’s sugar, fats, proteins, those are the three marco nutrions that humans need to survive – whether you want to call it sugar or carbohydrates it’s all the same thing.”
“I think when people say ‘I don’t give my kid sugar’ they are talking about processed sugar or foods with added sugar or food with primary macro nutrions, when you read the label is most or only sugar based. If you look at a muffin or bread, those are full of complex carbohydrates which are all technically sugars as well. So it’s a really bigger issue that gets really over simplified for a lot of people and that leads to an overlay of shaming [in parents].”
Dr. Riley advised us that while the amount of sugar may be a consideration, the better question is what you’re having it with.
“How do you mixing and combining foods together so they are presented in a balanced way,” he said. “Dietitians will talk to you about every meal or snack really, ideally, will be some kind of a carbohydrate-based (grain) item, a protein source and a fruit or vegetable option. And there’s place for candy too! Candy is delicious, that’s why we have it, right? Should that be done in eccess? Probably not, should that be the sole source of your carbohydrates? Probably not, but I don’t think that there’s one right way. You’re looking for the right balance and making sure that that’s part of your diat but not the sole source.”
FREE DOWNLOAD: Daddy Squared's Meal Plan - Inspired by our conversation with Dr. Matthew Riley
“When you are saving [candy] only to special occasions, jou are just amping up the natural rewards system that exists for us human anywa...
Helpful insights for gay parents to be be
Love the conversations on topics that gay parents / parents to be may shared (and interested in.) Well planned and produced. Thanks. Love the show.
I love this show it’s so educational! It’s is expanding my mind (so thank you Alex and Yan!) one thing I really like is that is that it’s not a political show (I hate politics and if there is a show along the lines of LGBTQ+ stuff it’s usually political and I love that politics is not included, but not excluded)
And I love the uplifting ness on this show (even when they did the around the world podcasts and there was a country that wasn’t LGBTQ+ friendly it didn’t make it feel like the whole world was a bad place) and Alex and Yan are so so fun to listen to! They are the most entertaining people EVER! (No offense to the creators of this podcast but you to are so cute when you argue) l LOVE it! I want a relationship just like the one you to have!!!
-Yours Truly Reuben
turning meta into infra
yan and alex are excellent at saying out-loud the quiet/silent part !
the “conflict” episode clearly needs to be expanded and revisited, tho it’s not directly about being dads , it’s the basic of relationships.
yan’s earnestness is adorable, and alex’s “direct” system of communication has its humorous angle.
it’s fun to listen to this couple talk about things we all deal with (kids or not).
thanks yan & alex :)