Gay fathers have help in navigating parenthood with ‘The Ultimate Guide for Gay Dads’

Eric Rosswood, left, is author of the book “The Ultimate Guide for Gay Dads: Everything You Need to Know About LGBTQ Parenting But Are (Mostly) Afraid To Ask.” Rosswood is seated with his husband, Mat, and their son, Connor. Photo: Eric Rosswood.

Going bra shopping the first time or talking about menstruation are a couple of topics gay dads might feel awkward discussing with their daughter.

But they don’t have to be problematic.

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‘ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR GAY DADS’

Author Eric Rosswood explains how to have those conversations without potential embarrassment in “The Ultimate Guide for Gay Dads: Everything You Need to Know About LGBTQ Parenting But Are (Mostly) Afraid To Ask.”  The book guides readers through the joys and complications of being a gay father.

“It’s targeted to gay dads because there are some things that are different that need to stand out,”  Rosswood says.

Rosswood, 38, a San Diego native, lives in White Plains, New York, with his husband of six years, Mat Rosswood, and their 4-year-old adopted son, Connor.

INFLUENCED TO WRITE

Before adopting Connor in 2013, Rosswood and his husband wanted to hear the first-hand accounts of gay parents, but couldn’t find much information.

As a result, Rosswood wrote his first parenting book, 2016’s “Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood: Firsthand Advice, Tips, and Stories from Lesbian and Gay Couples.”

MORE PARENTING ADVICE

“The Ultimate Guide for Gay Dads” picks up after “The Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood” and includes advice on finding LGBTQ friendly schools and pediatricians, and dealing with a pubescent daughter.

In an interview with Q Voice News, Rosswood explains how air travel can be bumpy for gay dads and how he defines family.

Here are some excerpts.

Looking for a dance partner

“Mat was looking for a salsa dance partner, and I had just moved to the Bay Area in 2007. I was looking for extracurricular activities I could do with other people in the LGBT community,” Rosswood says. “I couldn’t dance, and I didn’t know anyone. If I was going to embarrass myself, this was the time to do it because I didn’t have anyone to make fun of me. We didn’t try to pursue anything. Things just evolved.”

Using open adoption

“Open adoption is when both the birth parents and adoptive parents meet before the adoption happens. We created a profile as a couple and explained who we are, what we like to do, and our interests,” Rosswood says. “The birth parents go through the profiles and pick who they want to raise their child. We matched at 13 weeks with our birth mother and formed a relationship with her for the rest of her pregnancy. We were there for her sonogram, we heard Connor’s heartbeat, and painted her belly with fingerpaint.”

Society and gay fathers

“It’s a stereotype that a mother is the one who parents,” Rosswood says. “Society still doesn’t know how to react when they see a single male with an infant. You get a lot of people try to force help on you because they assume you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Flying can be difficult for gay dads

“Traveling is different for gay men,” Rosswood says. “It’s very common for people to see an infant with their mother. There’s no questions raised. But, when they see an infant going through security with no mother, questions start happening,” Rosswood says. “Depending on TSA or who airport security is, if they’re having a bad day, homophobic, or never encountered this before, you may have some complications, especially if the child is a different race.”

The definition of family

“Family can mean a bunch of different things,” Rosswood says. “It could mean the family that we’re given, and the family that we choose. For me, family is basically who you can get behind and support and be there for, no matter what.”

Choosing family

“That definition is something I came to realize coming out,” Rosswood says. “A lot of people in our community have that realization or paradigm shift to what family is for them in that phase. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that people in our community evaluate family because we have to choose.”

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About the author

Stephanie Thai

Hailing from San Francisco, Stephanie Thai is a Southern Californian transplant. She spends her time writing, reading, and eating wherever she can, though not in that order. On her downtime, Thai takes 12-hour cat naps, hikes urban trails, and frequents travel websites to entertain her expensive hobby of traveling the globe.