By Shaun Miller
I am an out and proud gay uncle, or “guncle”. I have three nieces and three nephews. They often refer to me as the “sparent” (spare parent) or a PUNK (Professional Uncle No Kids).
Gay Uncles’ Day, also known as Guncles’ Day, is celebrated on the second Sunday in August. Yes, it’s a thing. Sunday, August 8, 2021 is the next Gay Uncles’ Day.
The idea for the day came from C.J. Hatter of Florida, who made a Facebook post on May 8, 2016 that said: “I hereby proclaim the second Sunday in August to be Gay Uncles’ Day! Hey, we deserve a holiday of our own!”
As a “guncle”, I share a unique bond with my nieces and nephews. The bond allows them to experience a special sense of mentorship, compassion and cultural awareness. And, most importantly, a confidante who is one step removed from their parents.
‘A Helper In the Nest’
As the African proverb attests: “It takes a village to raise a child”. An entire community of people must interact with children for those children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment. Gay uncles are part of that community.
My “guncle” role is not driven purely by altruism. As a gay uncle, I am able to ensure my genes will live on in my nieces and nephews. They share 25% of my DNA. When I came out of the closet, I also declared that I never wanted to have children of my own.
Many friends were perplexed as to why I didn’t have a paternal urge to pass on my genes to progeny of my own. Being a “guncle”, I’m able to have (what I deem for myself) the best of both worlds. I’m relieved of society’s typical assumption that people must “go forth and multiply” while at the same time still having my DNA pass on to the next generation.
Relationship Is A Two-Way Street
The relationship is a two-way street. Being digital natives, my nieces and nephews are my go-to people for any tech help or advice. They keep me updated on pop culture and trends. How else would I know about Tik Tok, for example? And they inform me on the latest sports news, even though it doesn’t particularly interest me. I confess I draw the line at attending their sports’ matches as I don’t care much for sport. After all, no “guncle” is perfect!
Being a gay uncle is an awesome honour, a privileged responsibility and a wonderful pleasure. I hope my nieces and nephews feel that I have admirably lived up to the role.