Thousands of Foster Kids to Benefit From Boycott of American Girl

November 27, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF
American Girl boycott benefits foster kids

Amaya signs copies of American Girl magazine and meets new fans at Comfort Cases packing parties.

Earlier this month I shared the story of 11-year-old Amaya, featured in the most recent issue of American Girl magazine, chosen from among thousands of submissions because of her inspiring story. Part of her story is that she and her brothers were adopted from the foster care system by two loving parents, both of whom are men.

This ruffled the right-wing feathers of One Million Moms, who called for a boycott of American Girl Doll and parent company Mattel over this supposed furthering of the Gay Agenda. From One Million Moms’ web site:

“The magazine… could have chosen another child to write about and remained neutral in the culture war.”

Yet One Million Moms were fighting a one-sided war, as their boycott all but backfired. Due to the group’s homophobia, the story gained momentum and went viral. Amaya, her family, and American Girl were discussed, interviewed, and featured in an endless number of publications and news outlets, among them local Fox and NBC affiliates, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Yahoo, ABC News, Good Housekeeping, Upworthy, Slate, Perez Hilton, and The View. Even Ellen DeGeneres posted in support of the family on her show’s Facebook page.


Ellen shows her support for Amaya and her family, temporarily crashing the Comfort Cases web site!

The other part of Amaya’s story is Comfort Cases — the charity co-founded by one of her dads — and its work supporting foster kids. As a result of the boycott and the related coverage, Comfort Cases is ending 2015 on a very, very good note.


Comfort Cases held its annual Holiday Packing Party on November 21, assembling 500 more cases than the previous year, a 70% increase.

The total number of cases collected and distributed in 2015 topped 10,000 — 4,000 more than 2014, and an increase of 65%.

With contributions coming in from all over the world, monetary donations to Comfort Cases will triple what they were in 2014. That’s 300%, folks.

American Girl boycott benefits foster kids

Hundreds of cases filled with PJs, toiletries & personal items, ready for distribution to area foster kids.

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As National Adoption Month comes to a close and we enter the holiday season, please consider making a contribution to Comfort Cases or a similar organization in your area. Let’s keep showing those that boycott, fear or hate, that family, respect and love always win.

  Donate to Comfort Cases

Turning Hatred into Love: One American Girl & Her Forever Family

November 5, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

American Girl Amaya protested by One Million Moms

Five years ago today, a young girl named Amaya was legally adopted by her foster parents.

Two weeks ago, Amaya was featured in American Girl magazine. In her own words she shared the story of coming from the foster care system, becoming part of her permanent family, as well as the charity work she and her parents do in support of other foster kids.

Not long after the magazine was published, right-wing watchdogs One Million Moms called for a boycott of American Girl Doll and their magazine, warning parents against exposing their daughters to such a family.

And such a family it is.


A Thank You Note to Straight People

July 6, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

The Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage couldn’t have happened without straight people — and not just the five Supreme Court justices that voted in favor of it…

Thank you Straight People, Love, A Gay Dad

Dear Straight People,

Thank you. Thank you for cheering right alongside us as we in the LGBT community celebrate a newfound, long-overdue measure of equality. Thank you for the endless sea of rainbow-colored photos. Thank you for voting. Thank you for teaching your children (and sometimes your parents) that not every family is the same, yet deserving of the same respect. Thank you for telling them that whether they grow up to love the opposite gender or their own, you will still love them. Thank you for encouraging them to be whoever they were meant to be. Thank you for trying to understand and to learn. Thank you for asking questions, even if you don’t always have the right words. Thank you for being fair and equal in your schools, your jobs, your churches, and your neighborhoods. Thank you for defending us in a fight, even when we’re not around. Especially when we’re not around.


28 Reasons Being Legally Married Gay Dads Is Awesome!

June 18, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

Marriage equality currently sits on the Supreme Court’s docket, awaiting a final ruling. Though not assured, all signs point to same-sex marriage finally being legalized in the entire United States by month’s end.

I’ve put a lot of words on this site about same-sex marriage — about mine and others’; about the depiction, support and condemnation of gay marriage in the media and politics; and about its slow progression to acceptance…one ponderous magnet at a time.

Waiting with hopeful anticipation, I’m (nearly) at a loss for words. But many others are not — men who have shared their stories and their families with me over the last few years. Many who have become friends in this herky-jerky journey of being a gay man and a father. I’ve pulled together a fraction of the tales that have paved the long, bumpy road to equality — and the reasons these dads love (or look forward to) being married.

So as we await SCOTUS’ decision, please join me in wishing these dads and their children a long-overdue, exceptionally, abundantly awesome (and legally married), Happy Fathers’ Day!


1. Your Love Knows No Bounds…or Boundaries

Brian & Ferd, married 6/10/13, Toronto; moving back to New York City in July. [Photo courtesy of Brian Rosenberg]

28 Reasons Being Legally Married Gay Dads Is Awesome!

Brian and Ferd were married on their 20th anniversary as a couple. Several years earlier they had moved to Toronto from New York, as Ferd was coming on the end of his legal status in the US (he’s Dutch). Six days after their wedding in Canada, SCOTUS ruled that they could now get married in the US and both be eligible for federal benefits of marriage. Brian can now sponsor his husband for permanent residency, and the couple is moving back to New York next month. Welcome back, guys!
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Fridge Wisdom: Same-Sex Marriage Legal in Ireland, Lots of Eyes Smiling

May 26, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

same-sex marriage in Ireland

A hearty congratulations (and a lifted pint) to the people of Ireland! On Saturday, The Emerald Isle became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. With a turnout of 60% of the population, the marriage referendum was approved by a 62-38% majority.

While it’s encouraging to see a sizable number of its citizens voting to legalize same-sex marriage in Ireland, it’s still a shame that such a vote had to happen at all. Not just a shame, unethical. Someone’s freedoms shouldn’t be determined by the will of the masses — especially when the individuals in question are well in the minority.

Can you imagine having to allow millions of strangers vote whether or not you could marry the love of your life? I can. It happened three times in my home state of Maryland. Only after the third vote passed (by a small margin) was I able to legally marry Papa… whom I’d been with for 17 years. Maryland was part of the first (and only) batch of U.S. states to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. While the eventual result was wonderful, the process was humiliating and frustrating, leaving myself and many others in the LGBT community feeling powerless and without advocate.

Still, I’m happy for Ireland. And with our country’s highest court deciding the fate of same-sex marriage very soon, I hope Ireland’s progress helps sway SCOTUS in the right direction.

Another thing Ireland can teach the U.S.? How not to be a sore loser. Several groups opposed to the Marriage Referendum showed good sportsmanship in the face of defeat.

“Congratulations to the Yes side. Well done.” was tweeted by a conservative Catholic think tank.

Mothers and Fathers Matter, another group opposing same-sex marriage, stated, “This is their day, and they should enjoy it. Though at times this campaign was unpleasant for people on all sides, nobody who involves themselves in a campaign does so with anything but the good of their country at heart. There is no better way to resolve difference than the way we are using today.”

Can you imagine an American politician (on either side) saying anything even remotely similar? How about a Supreme Court justice? Certainly not Scalia.

Here’s wishing on a four-leaf clover…

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A handy map showing the progress of same-sex marriage in the world. And you thought it was frustrating looking at the U.S. map…

same-sex marriage in ireland
Click to biggefy. Source: Wikipedia

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Every time a country or US state legalizes same-sex marriage, I post a photo of a magnet from either my fridge or that of a reader. Take a look at previous magnet posts.

For more family-friendly(ish) fun, visit Designer Daddy on Facebook!

Marvel’s Iceman Comes Out as Gay; Area 5-Year-Old Thinks It’s ‘Cool!’

April 23, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF, POP CULTURE
iceman comes out as gay

Iceman comes out (with the help of psychic pal Jean Grey) in All New X-Men #40.

Yesterday one of the original members of Marvel’s X-Men came out as gay; and despite the usual online cynics and haters, I’m pretty stoked. While Iceman (aka Bobby Drake) isn’t as well known as fellow mutants Wolverine, Cyclops or Storm, he’s been consistently well-represented in and out of comics since the team of super-powered outcasts debuted in 1963.

marvel's iceman comes out as gay

My 5yo knows Iceman from versions both animated and “real life.”

In animation, Iceman was one of the “friends” on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and he makes appearances on Cartoon Network’s The Super Hero Squad Show. On the big screen, Iceman has been portrayed by actor Shawn Ashmore in four of the X-Men movies. He had the most screen time in X2, where his strained relationship with his parents after he reveals he’s a mutant is a not-so-subtle allegory of a teen coming out of the closet.


3 Reasons We Need A Religious Freedom Restoration Act

April 1, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF
Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act LGBT

Indiana Governor Mike Pence, unintentional champion of equality

Disclaimer: This is not an April Fools’ post.

Less than six months after same-sex marriage became legal in Indiana, Governor Mike Pence passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act — a law that many believe will allow businesses to use their faith as a reason to deny service. Now Arkansas has followed suit, an almost identical bill passing through the state legislature and needing only Governor Asa Hutchinson’s signature to become law. These men are clearly threatened by the strides LGBT rights have made in recent years, and are using taxpayer dollars to legislate the equivalent of “My mom made me invite you over, but you can’t play with any of my toys.”

Yet these RFRAs are anything but child’s play. And neither are they meant to protect or restore anyone’s freedom, religious or otherwise. They instead reward ignorance and legalize hatred in a way this country hasn’t seen since the 1950s.

Are they really that worrisome? Hasn’t there been a national RFRA in place since 1993? Yes, but Garrett Epps explains in an article for The Atlantic that these laws are different in two important ways: with the Indiana version giving businesses the same rights of refusal as non-profits, and barring any business for ever being sued for refusing. Epps reassures that the uproar over this bill is warranted:

“The statute shows every sign of having been carefully designed to put new obstacles in the path of equality; and it has been publicly sold with deceptive claims that it is ‘nothing new.'”

So why would the LGBT community (or anyone, really) need these awful pieces of legislation?


Similac’s Formula to End the Mommy Wars Falls a Bit Flat

January 26, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, POP CULTURE

A new video from Similac does a near-flawless job of illustrating — and then defusing — the so-called “Mommy Wars.” Yet by excluding half of all parents from the name of their campaign, they undo much of the goodwill built up during the ad.

Take a look, and be sure and watch all the way to the end.

Founded in human nature and fueled by the Internet, the Mommy Wars have been raging in full force for quite a few years. Mothers, physicians, psychologists, educators and all manner of experts and amateurs weigh in on all manner of parenting-related topics: circumcision, vaccinations, diet, working or homemaking, spanking or time-outs, “cry it out” or co-sleeping, attachment parenting, Tiger Moms, helicopter parents, etc., ad nauseam, ad infinitum. Often perched atop the list: breastfeeding vs. formula.

Similac, a primary purveyor of formula, tackles this titular issue (and several others from the list above) in their new spot, set within an initially humorous gang war between multiple parent posses. In addition to the bottle- vs. breast-feeders, you see baby carriers & stroller-pushers, stay-at-home-moms & corporate office moms, disposable & cloth diaperers – all posturing on the playground. A bunch of dads can even be found rocking baby carriers and (natch) manning the grill.



Leelah Alcorn and Too Many Lost Children

January 8, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

leelah alcorn - designerdaddy.com

Two stories. Two lost children.

A girl born in a boy’s body, into a family not willing to see her.

Leelah was born Joshua. By her account (now removed, but not silent) she opened up her deepest, most intimate self to those that brought her into the world – those that protected, clothed and fed her. Yet they only saw a him — the him they created 17 years prior — and would see nothing else. They sent her to counselors who did nothing of the kind; and in spite of that, she still stood by her new self. And since those that made her could not have their boy, they removed all she held dear: her school, her friends, her connections, the things that helped her stand.

So she ran from her 17 years, and she fell and didn’t get back up.


Fridge Wisdom: Same-Sex Marriage Shines in Florida*

January 6, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

same-sex marriage ruled legal August 21, 2014. Law went into effect January 6, 2015.

Despite being home to gay-friendly Disney World, Fort Lauderdale, and scores of left-leaning retirees, Florida is just as well-known for its ultra conservative politics. As recent as 2010, same-sex adoption was still illegal — thanks in large part to Anita Bryant and her homophobia-disguised-as-Christian-concern Save Our Children campaign. Florida’s had a Republican governor since 1999. And Miami Beach didn’t have its first gay pride parade until 2009. Seriously?


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