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We Asked Gay Dads (And Their Kids) What They’re Thankful For This Father’s Day

"I'm thankful that 14-year-old me, who thought that coming out of the closet would mean a lonely life, was proven wrong!"

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Father's Day is a time to show appreciation for that very special man in your life — or, in some cases, both the special men in your life.

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We connected with Gay With Kids, an online resource for gay dads and dads-to-be, and COLAGE, an organization that highlights families with one or more LGBT parent, to ask all the dads out there to share why they're thankful for their unique family.

Here's what the dads (and a few of their kids) had to say:

1. "We are thankful for our beautiful daughter who came into our lives and showed us the meaning of unconditional love."

Nick, 43, and Chris, 30, Padien-Hill, with their daughter Ari from Chicago, Illinois.What is your favorite thing about being a dad? Nick: Knowing that I’m responsible for my daughter’s health and happiness and being there to help her along the way as she uncovers all that this world has to offer.Chris: Family has always been such an important thing to me, and my favorite thing about being a new dad is being able to soak up all the many milestones that occur in the first year and start forming our own little family traditions. I love that when my daughter sees my face in the morning she lets out the most contagious smile, and Nick will tell you I get entirely too much joy out of picking out her outfits!What do you want people to know about your family?Nick: We are a fun, caring, loving spontaneous family. We love just like any other family. We have ups and downs just like any other family but continue to love each other through it all.Chris: I would just want people to know that although we may not be your typical family, we are held together with love and laughter. We are very loyal and there to support each other through the good days, bad days, and everything in between.
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Nick, 43, and Chris, 30, Padien-Hill, with their daughter Ari from Chicago, Illinois.

What is your favorite thing about being a dad?

Nick: Knowing that I’m responsible for my daughter’s health and happiness and being there to help her along the way as she uncovers all that this world has to offer.

Chris: Family has always been such an important thing to me, and my favorite thing about being a new dad is being able to soak up all the many milestones that occur in the first year and start forming our own little family traditions. I love that when my daughter sees my face in the morning she lets out the most contagious smile, and Nick will tell you I get entirely too much joy out of picking out her outfits!

What do you want people to know about your family?

Nick: We are a fun, caring, loving spontaneous family. We love just like any other family. We have ups and downs just like any other family but continue to love each other through it all.

Chris: I would just want people to know that although we may not be your typical family, we are held together with love and laughter. We are very loyal and there to support each other through the good days, bad days, and everything in between.

2. "This will be our very first Father’s Day, and we’re just so thrilled and thankful for our two beautiful children, and to be able to share the day with our families."

Paul Isla, 40, and Jack Huang, 42, West Hollywood, CA.What is your favorite thing about being a dad? Paul: Waking up to our kids smiling faces makes all the struggles and heart aches that came before their arrival all worth it. We wouldn’t even trade the sleepless nights, the diaper explosions, and crying fits for anything in the world. They just turned 7 months old last week, and they’re old enough to now be able to really interact with us. Seeing their faces light up whenever we make a goofy face at them, or holding them tight as they fall asleep in our arms just melts our hearts, and fills us with so much joy. We just look forward to more moments like that, and to continue to nurture, guide, love and protect them until we’re old and gray.What do you want people to know about your family?Paul: The sheer fact that my husband and I can actually be fathers in this day and age is a blessing we do not take for granted. We’ve been trying to have children via surrogacy for the better part of almost 9 years now. And to be blessed with twins, and a boy and a girl no less is something we will forever be thankful for. The world is filled with different kinds of families. Ours is a part of that diverse tapestry. Our kids have parents who have been together in a loving and stable relationship for over 22 years (married legally for over 8 of those years). We strive to be able to support and provide for our kids the best way we can.
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Paul Isla, 40, and Jack Huang, 42, West Hollywood, CA.

What is your favorite thing about being a dad?

Paul: Waking up to our kids smiling faces makes all the struggles and heart aches that came before their arrival all worth it. We wouldn’t even trade the sleepless nights, the diaper explosions, and crying fits for anything in the world. They just turned 7 months old last week, and they’re old enough to now be able to really interact with us. Seeing their faces light up whenever we make a goofy face at them, or holding them tight as they fall asleep in our arms just melts our hearts, and fills us with so much joy. We just look forward to more moments like that, and to continue to nurture, guide, love and protect them until we’re old and gray.

What do you want people to know about your family?

Paul: The sheer fact that my husband and I can actually be fathers in this day and age is a blessing we do not take for granted. We’ve been trying to have children via surrogacy for the better part of almost 9 years now. And to be blessed with twins, and a boy and a girl no less is something we will forever be thankful for. The world is filled with different kinds of families. Ours is a part of that diverse tapestry. Our kids have parents who have been together in a loving and stable relationship for over 22 years (married legally for over 8 of those years). We strive to be able to support and provide for our kids the best way we can.

3. "I'm thankful that 14-year-old me, who thought that coming out of the closet would mean a lonely life, was proven wrong!"

Khalil Hymore Quasha, 39, and Scott Quasha, 37, with their two children.What is your favorite thing about being a dad? Khalil: Honestly, as cheesy as it sounds, one of my favorite aspects of being a dad is watching our children learn and grow. They're are always having these little developmental milestones and you can totally see the gears turning when they make associations or connections. Our daughter, whose 6 (soon to be 7 this summer) has grown into quite the conversationalist. Recently, she's become more and more aware of gay culture. She's always known what 'gay' was, but this year she's more curious about pride month — the parade, the history, the Golden Girls! What do you want people to know about your family?Khalil: On one hand, I want people to know nothing! It's easy to feel defensive in this world of ours. I mean, it goes without saying that we aren't different from other families. We struggle with the same parenting issues as any other household — time management, discipline, dinnertime, saving for college! But, I simultaneously want people to know everything because most people have little experience with families like ours. Sometimes just the fact that we are a family at all can feel political — It can be burdensome. In certain settings it can also feel unsafe. I would also want people to know that words matter to a family like ours. We are constantly educating people on proper terminology (like "birth mother" vs "mother") and we are always so appreciative when forms or documents use terms like "parent" instead of 'mom' or 'dad.'
Provided to BuzzFeed

Khalil Hymore Quasha, 39, and Scott Quasha, 37, with their two children.

What is your favorite thing about being a dad?

Khalil: Honestly, as cheesy as it sounds, one of my favorite aspects of being a dad is watching our children learn and grow. They're are always having these little developmental milestones and you can totally see the gears turning when they make associations or connections. Our daughter, whose 6 (soon to be 7 this summer) has grown into quite the conversationalist. Recently, she's become more and more aware of gay culture. She's always known what 'gay' was, but this year she's more curious about pride month — the parade, the history, the Golden Girls!

What do you want people to know about your family?

Khalil: On one hand, I want people to know nothing! It's easy to feel defensive in this world of ours. I mean, it goes without saying that we aren't different from other families. We struggle with the same parenting issues as any other household — time management, discipline, dinnertime, saving for college! But, I simultaneously want people to know everything because most people have little experience with families like ours.

Sometimes just the fact that we are a family at all can feel political — It can be burdensome. In certain settings it can also feel unsafe. I would also want people to know that words matter to a family like ours. We are constantly educating people on proper terminology (like "birth mother" vs "mother") and we are always so appreciative when forms or documents use terms like "parent" instead of 'mom' or 'dad.'

4. "I am thankful for all of the love and support I've gotten from my parents over the years."

Brittnee Gauthier with her two dads.Brittnee: I am thankful for all of the love and support I've gotten from my parents over the years. This year, in particular, I'm thankful for their input and support in my dating life. They do not 'ear muffs' themselves and avoid talking about my issues with guys like I imagine other fathers would. They get it, because they too have dated men and understand how difficult it can be.What do you want your dads to know?Britnee: I love them both so much. I know it must be a little difficult for my step dad, as he came into my life when I was in the 6th grade, but I really want him to know that he is one of my parents, and one of the few people who I know will always be there for me. I can go to him about topics that I don't feel like discussing with my mom or dad, and that means so much to me.What's your favorite thing about having two dads?Britnee: My favorite thing about having two dads is the fashion sense and level of culture I've been exposed to over the years. I can always count on them to share their commentary with me about music, food, politics, pop culture, and the latest Drag Race episodes.
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Brittnee Gauthier with her two dads.

Brittnee: I am thankful for all of the love and support I've gotten from my parents over the years. This year, in particular, I'm thankful for their input and support in my dating life. They do not 'ear muffs' themselves and avoid talking about my issues with guys like I imagine other fathers would. They get it, because they too have dated men and understand how difficult it can be.

What do you want your dads to know?

Britnee: I love them both so much. I know it must be a little difficult for my step dad, as he came into my life when I was in the 6th grade, but I really want him to know that he is one of my parents, and one of the few people who I know will always be there for me. I can go to him about topics that I don't feel like discussing with my mom or dad, and that means so much to me.

What's your favorite thing about having two dads?

Britnee: My favorite thing about having two dads is the fashion sense and level of culture I've been exposed to over the years. I can always count on them to share their commentary with me about music, food, politics, pop culture, and the latest Drag Race episodes.

Provided to BuzzFeed

5. "The process to become a father is so difficult that you cherish your title."

Andrew Gubany with his kids, Dianna and Owen, from La Habra, CA.What is your favorite thing about being a dad? Andrew: There are so many favorites, but the first thing that comes to mind is LOVE. I have constant love. In one single day, even when life is throwing me challenges, I have these two little kids that love me as much as I love them.What do you want people to know about your family?Andrew: That we are just like every other family. We are a hard-working, middle-class family with everyday struggles. We have our ups and downs. The kids fight as much as they laugh. The schedules are insanity and we work very hard for the future. We are learning to embrace all the great moments each day has to offer so we don't miss anything. Some days I'm not sure if I am saving for the kids' college funds or for therapy. I feel that's normal. We are equipped to thrive and as a father, I'm teaching them how to be faithful, to have courage, to understand and know the importance of our family and to grow into destiny so that not one of our gifts are wasted.
Provided to BuzzFeed

Andrew Gubany with his kids, Dianna and Owen, from La Habra, CA.

What is your favorite thing about being a dad?

Andrew: There are so many favorites, but the first thing that comes to mind is LOVE. I have constant love. In one single day, even when life is throwing me challenges, I have these two little kids that love me as much as I love them.

What do you want people to know about your family?

Andrew: That we are just like every other family. We are a hard-working, middle-class family with everyday struggles. We have our ups and downs. The kids fight as much as they laugh. The schedules are insanity and we work very hard for the future. We are learning to embrace all the great moments each day has to offer so we don't miss anything. Some days I'm not sure if I am saving for the kids' college funds or for therapy. I feel that's normal. We are equipped to thrive and as a father, I'm teaching them how to be faithful, to have courage, to understand and know the importance of our family and to grow into destiny so that not one of our gifts are wasted.

Provided to BuzzFeed
Provided to BuzzFeed

6. "Father’s Day is meaningful to us because we live in a place that allows us to be dads to a wonderful two-year-old without fear of discrimination or hate."

Ryan Saavedra, 37, and Ryan Sia, 40, with their son Enzo from Toronto, ONWhat is your favorite thing about being a dad? Ryan (Daddy): Reading Enzo a book and singing his favorite lullaby just before bedtime!Ryan (Papa): Trying out different recipes for French toast during breakfast on Saturdays! What do you want people to know about your family?Ryan and Ryan: We are originally from the Philippines and we come from families that have been able to balance tradition and open-mindedness. We draw a lot of inspiration from our individual backgrounds but at the end of the day we just want a safe and loving home for Enzo and the opportunity to raise him with the same values that we grew up with. It’s very easy to label our family as non-traditional but we really are not too different from everyone else.
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Ryan Saavedra, 37, and Ryan Sia, 40, with their son Enzo from Toronto, ON

What is your favorite thing about being a dad?

Ryan (Daddy): Reading Enzo a book and singing his favorite lullaby just before bedtime!

Ryan (Papa): Trying out different recipes for French toast during breakfast on Saturdays!

What do you want people to know about your family?

Ryan and Ryan: We are originally from the Philippines and we come from families that have been able to balance tradition and open-mindedness. We draw a lot of inspiration from our individual backgrounds but at the end of the day we just want a safe and loving home for Enzo and the opportunity to raise him with the same values that we grew up with. It’s very easy to label our family as non-traditional but we really are not too different from everyone else.

Provided to BuzzFeed
Provided to BuzzFeed

7. "We’re very thankful that we have to opportunity to be fathers at all. Growing up in conservative communities, neither of us thought being dads was ever a dream we’d see fulfilled."

Ryan, 38, and Marcin, 35, Zielinski, with their son Liam from Houston, Texas.What is your favorite thing about being a dad? Ryan: It’s picking Liam up from school and seeing his eyes light up as he spots me and comes running across the room to wrap his little arms around my legs in a tight hug. All of the stress from work and the tiredness from the day melt away in that moment. It’s magical.Marcin: My favorite thing about being a dad is seeing the world through the eyes of Liam. Every new park, each new activity we try out, every new city we visit is a new adventure and a new opportunity to explore and to learn. What do you want people to know about your family?Ryan and Marcin: Despite being a family with two dads, we’re a pretty typical Houston family and I think some people may find that surprising. We try to teach Liam kindness and compassion, we worry about the best schools, we research the healthiest recipes, and we fill up our calendars with play dates and special children’s activities around our city. Our lives revolve around raising our son to be the best version of himself he can be.
Provided to BuzzFeed

Ryan, 38, and Marcin, 35, Zielinski, with their son Liam from Houston, Texas.

What is your favorite thing about being a dad?

Ryan: It’s picking Liam up from school and seeing his eyes light up as he spots me and comes running across the room to wrap his little arms around my legs in a tight hug. All of the stress from work and the tiredness from the day melt away in that moment. It’s magical.

Marcin: My favorite thing about being a dad is seeing the world through the eyes of Liam. Every new park, each new activity we try out, every new city we visit is a new adventure and a new opportunity to explore and to learn.

What do you want people to know about your family?

Ryan and Marcin: Despite being a family with two dads, we’re a pretty typical Houston family and I think some people may find that surprising. We try to teach Liam kindness and compassion, we worry about the best schools, we research the healthiest recipes, and we fill up our calendars with play dates and special children’s activities around our city. Our lives revolve around raising our son to be the best version of himself he can be.

Provided to BuzzFeed
Provided to BuzzFeed

8. "Thankful for being a married gay couple and being legally blessed to be able to be a Father and to share our lives with our two beautiful daughters is the greatest joy for us this year."

Daniel and Victor Gonzalez-Baltazar, with their daughters from Victorville, CA.What is your favorite thing about being a dad? Daniel and Victor: Being able to hold our daughters, watching them grow, seeing the excitement in their little faces when we get home from long days work and feeling like superheroes for them.What do you want people to know about your family?Daniel and Victor: We want everyone to know that we are just an ordinary little family that is unique in our own special way.
Provided to BuzzFeed

Daniel and Victor Gonzalez-Baltazar, with their daughters from Victorville, CA.

What is your favorite thing about being a dad?

Daniel and Victor: Being able to hold our daughters, watching them grow, seeing the excitement in their little faces when we get home from long days work and feeling like superheroes for them.

What do you want people to know about your family?

Daniel and Victor: We want everyone to know that we are just an ordinary little family that is unique in our own special way.

9. "Since the journey to fatherhood was not easy one, we appreciate being dads more than ever. We are thankful to live in a world where being two dads is possible and accepted."

Eli, 36, and Ido, 39, Bendet-Taicher, with their daughters Milo and Demi from New York, NY.What is your favorite thing about being a dad? Eli and Ido: Our favorite thing about being a dad is learning new things about ourselves every day through our girls. We re-live our childhood with every new thing our girls discover which makes us have a new perspective on how to enjoy the simple things in life. What do you want people to know about your family?Eli and Ido: Our family is just like any other family with the twist of two dads. We are both the mom and the dad in the family and we are both equally involved in our daughters day-to-day and upbringing. Our daughters feel proud and lucky to have two dads.
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Eli, 36, and Ido, 39, Bendet-Taicher, with their daughters Milo and Demi from New York, NY.

What is your favorite thing about being a dad?

Eli and Ido: Our favorite thing about being a dad is learning new things about ourselves every day through our girls. We re-live our childhood with every new thing our girls discover which makes us have a new perspective on how to enjoy the simple things in life.

What do you want people to know about your family?

Eli and Ido: Our family is just like any other family with the twist of two dads. We are both the mom and the dad in the family and we are both equally involved in our daughters day-to-day and upbringing. Our daughters feel proud and lucky to have two dads.

10. "It is particularly rewarding each year at church on Father's Day to be able stand up with all the other dads and receive the recognition and blessing of our church and the assembly."

Greg Bourke, 59, with his two adopted children from Kentucky.What is your favorite thing about being a dad? Greg: I guess it has been pretty cool not to be left out of the father’s day hubbub over the last 18 years. It is particularly rewarding each year at church on Father's Day to be able stand up with all the other Dads and receive the recognition and blessing of our church and the assembly.What do you want people to know about your family?Greg: Biology can make a family, but it is not required. Love makes a family. My family is particularly awesome because our kids were also plaintiffs with us in the Obergefell vs. Hodges case that won Marriage Equality for the whole U.S. Our family stood together strong and proud during the whole ordeal and we are better for it.
Provided to BuzzFeed

Greg Bourke, 59, with his two adopted children from Kentucky.

What is your favorite thing about being a dad?

Greg: I guess it has been pretty cool not to be left out of the father’s day hubbub over the last 18 years. It is particularly rewarding each year at church on Father's Day to be able stand up with all the other Dads and receive the recognition and blessing of our church and the assembly.

What do you want people to know about your family?

Greg: Biology can make a family, but it is not required. Love makes a family. My family is particularly awesome because our kids were also plaintiffs with us in the Obergefell vs. Hodges case that won Marriage Equality for the whole U.S. Our family stood together strong and proud during the whole ordeal and we are better for it.