A couple of Saturdays ago, my friend Frank, who is trying to have a baby via surrogacy, told me that he was going to Q-Talk. It’s a monthly late-night gay-centered talk show at The Metropolitan Room, a small cabaret spot on West 22nd Street in Manhattan. This month’s topic was perfect for Frank: LGBT Parenting through surrogacy. Of course it was also of interest for me, but to be honest, my main motivation in wanting to go was simply getting out of the house Stewart worked that Saturday, and after being with Max all day I was ready for a change of pace. Before Frank could even extend me an offer, I invited myself to join him!
I was new to Q-Talk and didn’t know what to expect. It turns out I was in the minority about that. A good-sized crowd of 40 to 50 people showed up, and when they were asked if they had attended Q-Talk before, an overwhelming majority raised their hands. The crowd seemed to be made up of mostly gay men and a sprinkling of women. The other thing I immediately noticed is that there didn’t seem to be many parents in the audience. This should be quite interesting, I thought!
The show’s guests were John Weltman, a gay dad and president and founder of Circle Surrogacy (an agency that helps infertile and gay couples have kids via gestational surrogacy), and Tony Brown, a gay dad featured in the CNN documentary Gary And Tony Have A Baby, about the journey he and his husband Gary took towards having their baby via gestational surrogacy. Since Frank and I are both fairly educated on the topic of surrogacy, and have met John and Tony before, their ensuing discussion that night wasn’t very illuminating for us, at least as far as surrogacy is concerned. We did, however, both find it amusing when John mentioned how, while he enjoyed very much the documentary and how it portrayed Tony and Gary’s journey to parenthood, he did have one serious beef with it. The show mentions at least ten times throughout that Tony and Gary used an agency to help them with the surrogacy process, but never once mentions the name of the agency. Why did John care? Of course because the agency Tony and Gary used was none other than John’s own agency, Circle Surrogacy!
While we didn’t learn much new about surrogacy that night, the show was hardly a disappointment, in large part due to a surprise guest. John brought his 15 year old son with him to the show. I don’t know many gay parents to begin with, but none of the ones that I do know has teenagers already. Because we all know that those can be difficult years for any parents, I am very interested in hearing what teens of gay parents have to say about their experiences growing up in that household, and also in seeing how they interact with their parents. John’s son spoke to the Q-Talk audience that night, and I was very impressed with how articulate and open he was about his family life. Just as I had hoped and expected, he was a typical 15 year old – a kid who liked to give his dad a hard time, but in a fun-loving way. He seemed content and comfortable in his own skin, which can’t be easy for someone his age in a room full of strangers who are prying into his family life. Most importantly, I could tell that he was proud of his dad and that they enjoyed a strong, loving bond. Oh, and to top it off, the kid was funny too. When an audience member asked him what it was like having two dads, he replied that it was pretty awesome. Why? Because he can leave the toilet seat up without anyone in the household getting mad at him!
Thankfully Max is a long way away from being a teenager, and since the country is continually improving in how it treats its gay citizens, hopefully by the time Max hits those years the environment for gay-lead families will be more welcoming than it is today. But it was certainly nice to see from John’s son at Q-Talk that even now, what there is still a lot of work to be done in this area, there are teenagers out there being raised by gay parents who are just what any parents would wish their children to be: happy, loving and well-adjusted, with just enough back-talk and humor thrown in to keep things interesting!