I’m Proud To Be a Dad, a Husband, But Most of All, Me

When I was a young gay man, I had no “role model” to look up to.  Living in Kentucky, I was sheltered from the real word.  Now I know how hard activist Harvey Milk was working in San Fransisco to keep crazy, religious zealots like former singer and Miss Oklahoma beauty queen Anita Bryant from having teachers fired just because they were gay.  This was the late-1970s.

The sad thing is that here it is 2012 and people like South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint are still shouting that same crazy crap.  As recently as 2010, DeMint told a church rally group that openly gay people and unmarried women who are sleeping with a boyfriend shouldn’t be in the classroom!  As much as things change, some people and some things will always stay the same no matter how hard activists, like myself, work.  But, that fight must never end.

That is all that I’m saying political today.  Those comments were just to lead me into today’s blog.

I started sneaking into the local gay bar, Club Rumors and then Club DV8, in Paducah, Kentucky, in 1985, before I turned 21-years-old, the legal drinking age.  What an eye-opening experience for me.  I already knew that I was gay, but it was awesome to be around other people like me and the music was incredible!  In my hometown, I only knew three other gay people, two men and a woman.

At that time, I was only concerned with being out and proud.  Becoming a television meteorologist was always something I wanted to do, but I didn’t want to compromise who I was and what I was to achieve that.  The last thing on my mind, during those formative years, was becoming a dad.

When I was in my 30s and I landed my first weather job, I thought about becoming a father and adopting.  That never materialized as my 9-year relationship through my 30s ended when I moved to Salisbury, Maryland, in 1994, and turned 40!  The prospects of being a dad, other than to Miss ABBA, the golden retriever, diminished.

I’ve heard the joke that if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.  I guess God had different plans for me because on February 22, 2009, Ray walked into my life and he’s still around today.  🙂 When we started talking, he told me that he had a daughter and an ex-wife.  I waited almost two months after we started seeing each other to meet Gretel, who was turning 8 that summer.  She didn’t know why her parents divorced and I didn’t want to be just another in a string of her Daddy’s friends (and there really wasn’t a string!).  I wanted to know if we were serious and compatible with each other before the big meeting.

Another reason that I waited is that I was scared of her!  The prospects of becoming a “dad” was real now, at age 44!  Gretel came over to my house and met Miss ABBA and Mr.Panda, the shar-pei that we doggie sit for from Chicago.  He was in town that week.  Gretel had never really been around dogs and Miss ABBA scared her, at first, because she was more than happy to show love and demand attention.  Mr. Panda was much more subdued and about one-third of ABBA’s size!

Shortly after I met Gretel, we went out to eat Chinese at the Hy-Vee on John Deere Road in Moline, Illinois.  On our three-year “friendiversary” (Gretel’s word), she and I went there again to celebrate with Chinese.   During that first dining experience, she and I walked to the other side of the store to get ice cream and while holding my hand, she said, you’re “like a dad”.  And, that’s been my title since then.  She still calls me “Anthony”, but lately, I’m graduated to “Dad #2”.  In time, I hope it’s just “Dad”.

I hope that I can instill into Gretel that she can be anything that she sets her heart to and we’ll be loving and supporting parents regardless of the good or bad decisions she makes in life.  And, most of all, that we’ll love her just the same regardless of who she falls in love with when she’s an adult.

I’m very proud of my life as a professional doing what I chose to do when I was child and for having a voice to speak out for matters that are near and dear to my heart.  I have an amazing husband, a beautiful daughter, a loving sister, and I have Betty, in Ohio, that I call “Mom”.  Yes, I wish that I still had my mother, my grandparents, and, of course, Miss ABBA, but I will see them again.  I love you all,  but I hope it’s not too soon! 🙂

In the last paragraph, I said I’m “proud” and I am.  If someone knows me and doesn’t like me, I wish they would say something to me and tell me why.  Maybe we could work it out and maybe we couldn’t?  If someone doesn’t like me because of the way I present or forecast weather, there’s always the internet to find a forecast and two other channels to watch.  If someone doesn’t like me because I’m gay because of what they think God thinks about it, read your Bible and let God tell me when that time comes.  The God I talk to every night has blessed me with health, love, and prosperity, and I’m very grateful.

Today is my Monday, at work, and I have to make a public appearance at Niabi Zoo for Kid’s Fest.  I know it’ll be fun saying hello to people, but I’m totally honest when I say I’d rather be in Chicago this weekend celebrating Gay Pride with the LGBT community.

I can guarantee today that I will not see of the amazing, fun things that I saw two years ago when we attended Pride.

I’m stalling to give you a warning because a few of you may gasp at this first picture.  If you didn’t see this first picture when I posted it two years ago in my “Pride” photo album and, again, in my Favorite Photos of 2010 album, it still makes me smile today when I see this couple.

It’s all about being yourself, being proud of yourself, and loving yourself.  If people did more of those three things, this world would be a much better place.  Enough of a spoiler!

I guess if there’s any consolation for me not getting to attend Pride in Chicago this year, it’s that there are really no acts that I want to see perform.  Frenchie Davis, from “American Idol” fame, is there and Martha Wash (“It’s Raining Men) of the Weather Girls will be performing.  I saw Martha back in the early 1990s at the Vortex.

It was much different two years ago when I was thrilled to see Taylor Dayne, Tiffany, and international dance music singer Amber perform.

Here’s Taylor Dayne from Chicago Pride 2010 with my favorite song of hers, “I’ll Be Your Shelter”.

Happy Gay Pride Chicago!

Anthony

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Anthony~I am a Follower of Christ….I do not want to put myself into that same group as most Christians….I am ME, the only ME I know how to be. God’s greatest commandment is to LOVE~not hate or judge. I am happy being who I am, just as you are in being who you are. You are a super person & I am proud to say that you are my “friend”….Sending much love and many hugs to ALL of you. ❤

    Reply

  2. Awesome post Anthony, I am happy that we are friends also…I consider myself a ‘Christian’ but I was raised to be accepting of all and Carl and I have friends of all colors, genders and orientation…Kudos to you and Ray for being such great Dads!
    hugs from Barb

    Reply

    • Barbara,

      I’m very happy that we are friends, too. I’m glad you got to spend out special weekend together!

      I wish more people were like you and Carl! 🙂

      Take care, my friend,
      AP

      Reply

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