Designer Daddy’s Top 15 Blog Posts of 2015


Designer Daddy Best of 2015

2015 was quite a year for me, for my family, and for several communities to which I belong. A flurry of sticky-note success; a milestone in equality; venturing into kindergarten; the return to a galaxy far, far away; the tragic loss of a friend — all of these contributed to one of the most eventful 12 months in my recent history. And it’s been exciting, fun, cathartic, intimidating, and inspiring for me to chronicle it all here (and a couple of other places) in word and doodle.

So if you’re a new reader curious to know what this site is all about, or a familiar friend sharing some moments of reflection, welcome. These are my 15 favorite blog posts of 2015.


Yvonne Craig as Batgirl: A Gay Boy’s First Favorite Superhero

August 21, 2015 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES, POP CULTURE

Actress Yvonne Craig passed away Wednesday at the age of 78. She was most well-known for portraying Batgirl on the über-campy Batman TV show… and she was my first* favorite superhero.

Batgirl Yvonne Craig

Like many superhero-loving adults of a certain age, Batman was my favorite show growing up (just to be clear, it was already in reruns). I didn’t get most of the jokes or recognize the rogues gallery of guest stars, but it was awesome because it was “real people” (not cartoons), and oh so bright and colorful.


Welcome to the Party: Gay Men Have Been Appreciating ‘Dad Bods’ for Years

May 14, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

dad bod or gay bear

By now you’ve no doubt heard the term “Dad Bod,” and have subsequently seen a marked increase in the number of paunchy, fuzzy man-tummies in your strolls through the Internet.

The term was coined by a college student to describe her ideal guy: a less-ripped/more average fellow who she could cuddle up to and ultimately settle down with. This phenomenon has had beer-bellied men rejoicing, some women crying foul, and me wondering why this is news.

Dad Bods aren’t a new trend, at least not with the always-ahead-of-the-curve Gays. Gay men have been celebrating their stout brethren for decades, declaring definitively that Fat + Hairy ≠ Undateable. They’re called Bears, and as a card-carrying member of this cuddliest of gay subcultures, I want to officially welcome you to the party!

While not without their flaws and stereotypes, Bears pride themselves in being more accepting of the average-to-overweight man. Bears are the “real man’s” alternative to the cliché of a smooth, sculpted Adonis. And as a gay bear and a dad, I am undoubtedly the ultimate expert on what constitutes a “Dad Bod” …and how to make the most of it.

So to my hefty, hetero brothers, let me offer you some of my unsolicited expertise.


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.


Sometimes I Wish My Son Was Gay

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


Even before I became a father, I would read stories about little boys who didn’t like sports, or preferred Barbie over Boba Fett, or wanted to dress like Daphne for Halloween, or enjoyed having their toenails painted pink. Invariably there was an antagonistic relative, neighbor or onlooker going head-to-head with a proud, resolute parent who was coming to the aid of their atypical son. I’m sure these moms and dads went through a period of adjustment to reach their own place of acceptance, but in these stories they’re already proud Papa and Mama bears, stopping at nothing to defend their cub’s right to live outside society’s rules. One dad even wrote a letter to his hypothetically gay son, which melted my heart, as well as that of the bazillion other people who read it. These stories are beyond inspiring and give me hope for humanity.

So yeah, sometimes I wish my son was gay.


A Gay Dad’s Letter to His Younger Self

December 2, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

Dear Younger Gay Self
Dear Younger Me,

Well, it looks like same-sex marriage is about to be legal in the entire U.S. And although it seems like it’s taken an eternity for all 50 states to come around, it’s pretty amazing when I stop and think about it. But you probably have no idea what I’m even talking about, do you? That’s why I’m writing you — to let you know how things will be when you’re an adult, so you can be encouraged and have hope and just hang in there. I’m also writing to remind myself how lucky I am and how far I’ve come.

Remember when you were about seven years old, and you started having thoughts that made you think you were different, not quite right, broken? And how you inherently knew you were doing something wrong, even though you weren’t doing anything but being yourself? And then you started looking in the index of every Bible you ever came across for mention of the word “homosexual” — hoping above all hope for an answer to what was going on inside your head and heart. I’m sorry you had to go through all that.


Reader Response: I Want to Be a Father

July 6, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED, LGBT STUFF

I apologize if this smacks of bragging, but I wanted to share a particularly sweet note I got from a reader a bit ago. Okay, so maybe I’m bragging a little. Yet I’m also putting it up here to remind me, on days that I’m discouraged, that my words do get heard; that I’m not alone in my feelings of aloneness; and as a motivation to keep on keeping-on — as a writer and as a dad. Plus, his comment about Stepford gays was perfection.

So if you send me a particularly sweet (or sassy) note, you may very well make my day…and I might publish it. You’ve been warned.

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You don’t know me, and that isn’t the point of this message. And I promise there is a point to this message, so please just stay with me as I can get a bit long-winded.

Just recently — this past week in fact — I’ve decided that I want to be a father. This has been something I have gone back and forth on for years as a gay man. I have been filled with so much worry about this or that: Do I adopt or do I find a surrogate? Am I capable as a person to raise a child? What will I do about explaining to him about where he comes from having no personal points of reference in my own life? Did my parents screw me up too much to raise a child? All of the standard questions I would imagine plague most would-be parents. However in recent days I have focused less on the impact to me and my life and more on the positive of having a child. But still I worry [if I] will I be a good dad. Will my child know how much I love them and that no matter what happens that love will never end?

As a result of these feelings I started writing letters to my future child, as writing has always been an outlet for me. So as the afterglow of wanting to be a father started to fade, I wondered again how I would deal when my little angel is reaping my mother’s revenge upon me for one reason or another (lack of nap, saying no to a toy or candy, whatever) — and how am I going to keep my sanity? And just as these questions started to boil to the surface, I found your post “Hide-and-Seek with Mr. Moon” and I am not gonna lie: I cried just a little bit.

I found myself crying — not just for the heartbreak of a small child, but because of the line about you expending so much energy to keep from “throttling” your child.

I have read some parenting blogs, and specifically followed two over the past couple of years (more for the hilarious insights on life than the parently portion), but all of them were from the points of view of heterosexual parents. And let’s be real — as sad as it is, gay men are still not properly portrayed in media. Yes, we have moved past a good portion of the stereotypes, but there are still some there that bug me. I think we as a culture are entering the Stepford portion of our media portrayal.

So with all of this said: thank you. Thank you for granting me insight to a seemingly random moment in time that has shown me that not only is it possible to be a good parent while still making mistakes, but that life really can be normal as a gay father.

With gratitude and sincerity,

P.S. I am totally going to steal and use the Hide-and-Seek with Mr. Moon game when I do have a kid. 🙂

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See? Toldya it was sweet. For more sweet and sassy and stylish conversation and long walks on the beach (except that last part), check out Designer Daddy on Facebook and follow along on Twitter.

Is Being a Dad Turning Me Straight?

February 25, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED, LGBT STUFF

It’s late February, and once again there’s ice and snow on the ground. And once again I’m hauling my kid to the mall to burn off energy (and preserve my sanity) in that germ-infested swarm known as the Play Area. As soon as we step off the bottom step to the mall’s lower level, JJ immediately charges in the direction of the indoor plastic playground. Out of instinct—and fear of him running headfirst into an adult crotch—I start the awkward walk-jog of an exhausted, out-of-shape dad in hopes of snatching him from the jaws of danger or a lawsuit. I haven’t shaved or bathed (it’s Sunday – when cleanliness is far from godliness), and I’m wearing a slight variation of the clothes I’d worn the previous day. I’m blending in quite nicely with the other beleaguered parents, walk-jogging through the mall like suburban zombies.

is being a dad turning me straight


Dad Bloggers of the World, Unite!

January 1, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED, LGBT STUFF

About a month ago, a clever fellow named Oren Miller started a Facebook group for dad bloggers and invited me to join in. Since then, our numbers have grown to about 80 and it’s been great “meeting” all these other fathers, sharing our voices and experiences of parenthood, and generally being networking nerds.

As we neared the end of the year, I floated the idea to Oren of having everyone share their favorite post from 2012, as a way of further introducing ourselves (and to get more readers and comments and such). Seems like everyone dug the Best Of idea, as there have been over 20 shared so far!

So if you get a moment while the year is still shiny and new, click through a few of these (after the jump) to see what a bunch of thoughtful, hilarious, imperfect, awesome dads have to say. It’s a very cool cross-section of geography, family makeup and parental insight, as well as a broad array of thought and emotion. From a bunch of men. Who knew?!?

For my own Best of 2012, I was considering this one, as it documented one of the most celebratory moments of my year/life. However, I decided on one that preceded it — partly because I’d like to think this post and the subsequent funds raised helped achieve marriage equality in my state, and partly because I wanted to show off my crazy collage one more time…

Gays, Muppets, Chicken + Jesus – Brent Almond/Designer Daddy


I’m Super, Thanks for Asking! or Why Gay Superheroes Matter

May 29, 2012 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF, POP CULTURE
Why Gay Superheroes Matter

The last time I heard this joke, I fell off my dinosaur laughing…

Gay comic book characters seem to be coming out in full force these days. DC Comics revealed last week that they’d be re-imagining one of their established heroes as gay in the near future; Marvel will feature a wedding on June 20th between one of its X-Men and his non-mutant boyfriend; and Archie Comics’ first gay character Kevin Keller got hitched to his BF in January. While gay and lesbian characters have existed in comics for a couple of decades, this recent batch of outings seems to be garnering more attention due to their close proximity to President Obama’s public support of same-sex marriage. As a gay man, a father, and a comic book fan, I couldn’t be more excited about the worlds (both real and imaginary) JJ’s growing up in!

Why Gay Superheroes Matter

Same-sex marriages are popping up in Marvel and Archie comics.

However, it’s been frustrating to see some of the reactions these stories have elicited. Of course there are the detractors, boycotters and general poopheads who think all of this is inappropriate, overly political or just plain icky. This post isn’t about them. What bothers me are the comments I’ve seen either A) griping that it’s all a publicity stunt or B) asking with superior indifference, “Who cares? It’s just a comic book.”

Okay, so A) yes, these comics are obviously trying to create buzz and increase sales. The current CEO of Archie Comics admitted as much in a recent article in The Washington Post. The same article quotes the editor of Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men as saying the gay-related storyline evolved from the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York last year, and is an attempt to keep Marvel on the cutting-edge. DC pulled a whopper of a publicity stunt in September with a company-wide reboot of all its books and characters, even resetting iconic titles like Action Comics and Detective Comics back to #1 (they were in the 900’s and 800’s, respectively). This also created the perfect opportunity to rewrite the sexual orientation of a well-known hero. Who am I to complain if a little opportunism brings out, proud (and married) a little further into the mainstream?

As to B)… I agree there are more pressing matters in the world. However, my son is not yet 3 years old and he’s going to have plenty of time to learn about the hardships and heaviness of life. But for now, I’m trying to instill — rather successfully, I might add — my love of superheroes and comics to him. To his toddlery brain, the day’s biggest concerns are pancakes, his new swing set, and playing with/watching/dressing up as superheroes. And being that JJ has two dads, it would thrill me to no end for him to grow up having even a few examples of gay heroes or same sex couples in the comics universe. Because they’ve yet to show up on Sesame Street, Dora or Yo Gabba Gabba. And before someone else says it, those shows would do well to have gay characters. There are numerous examples of married couples, “hetero” animal parents, and mommy/daddy combos on pretty much every kids’ show out there. Hey Diego, I’m sure there’s a baby penguin needing to be reunited with his two dads somewhere… just saying.

So, Mr. So-Above-It-All Commenter, to answer your question: I care. I don’t care who the new gay character will be, just that there is one. Unless it’s The Joker — poor Robin would never hear the end of it.

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So who do I think the gay DC character will be? I’ve read quite a few articles on the subject, and you can tell which were written by non-comics fans. Their speculations have been both obvious (Aquaman is married folks, even in the reboot) and misinformed (the current version of Robin is Batman’s son, so… ick.) It’s looking like it will be someone from Earth 2. They’ve just started to bring those characters into the reboot, and it seems the previously senior members of the DC Universe are now spry, young things. So why not have one of them switch teams as well? All signs are pointing to Alan Scott (the original Green Lantern). His one brief appearance so far (he’s yet to don any super-powered jewelry) shows him as a hunky, jet-setting tycoon, trading sassy banter with his female assistant. Plus, it will make for juicy headlines: “Green Lantern Now Gay!” Green Lantern’s name is fairly recognizable, and the casual reader won’t get past the headline to realize it’s not the same character Ryan Reynolds played in the not-so-stellar GL movie, making the news not as earth-shattering as it sounds. After all, it is just a comic book.

Why Gay Superheroes Matter

JJ enjoying his new swing set and proudly sporting a Green Lantern shirt.

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