When Reymon Leglise and his three children attend a picnic in Centennial Park with friends this Saturday, they’ll be just another group celebrating the Father’s Day weekend.
But they also hope to increase the profile of gay fathers and their children, as prejudice against some gay men who choose to have kids persists.
Leglise runs Gay Dads And their Young (GDAY), a social group he set up two years ago to support fathers like himself.
The biggest challenge has been if you’re gay and you have children, you’re instantly classified as being a pedophile, which is quite an ugly stereotype to be faced with, he said.
But I’ve found with time a lot of people are starting to come around as well. They’re realising now that [we’re] simply dads with their children, same as every other family.
GDAY now has about 20 families and includes around 30 kids.
Something which surprised me was the diversity of some of the fathers, Leglise, a father of three children from a past heterosexual relationship, said.
In the group now we have dads who were originally donor dads, we have foster dads and we’ve also got a couple from England who adopted their two children before coming to Australia.
Dom Gili, another gay dad and convenor of the Gay Dads NSW information and support group, agrees the gay fathers events are helping improve visibility.
Gay Dads NSW is co-organising this Saturday’s picnic with GDAY. They are expecting more than 20 families on the day.
I’ve heard a lot of dads say that their biggest regret in coming out is that they thought that they were giving up the opportunity of having kids, Gili told the Star.
We’re showing gay men that that opportunity still exists. That’s not something they have to give up in coming out.
After the picnic Leglise and Gili plan to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday at home with their respective children, just like dads across the country.
Hopefully I’ll get breakfast in bed, Leglise said.
The GDAY/ Gay Dads NSW picnic is on Saturday 2 September in Centennial Park from 2pm to 5pm. For more information email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.