Black gay dads reflect on the meaning of Father's Day during an intensely emotional time: 'We take it very seriously'
Rodney Chambers, left, and Ron Covington with sons Charles and Carlos. The family was one of six who participated in a now viral video titled "Don't Rush Challenge: Black Gay Dads Edition". You are now talking about the importance of Father's Day. (Photo courtesy of Rodney Chambers)
Like many parents during the coronavirus pandemic, O'Brian Banner turned to social media to stay healthy - as did his husband and their close-knit group of other gay black fathers who joined their creative forces in April To create a video (below) celebrate their families and their ties, at Easter and as part of a TikTok "Don't Rush Challenge".
But the joy that the “Black Gay Dads Edition” radiates makes it perfect for another vacation: Father's Day. In honor of this, Yahoo Life spoke to some of the fathers featured in the video that has since been blown up on all social media platforms. They reflected on the importance of the day, especially during these particularly intensive parental leave periods of the swelling Black Lives Matter movement, the LGBTQ Pride Month and a pandemic.
O'Brian Banner and Daryl Fields
Fathers to 3 year old twins, Keithen and Camden Bannerfields, Maryland
O'Brian Banner, left, and Daryl Fields with sons Keithen and Camden. (Courtesy of O'Brian Banner)
From O’Brian, who works as a special assistant to Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser -
Regarding the meaning of Father 's Day: "It is something special and important for me because I did not grow up as a constant father figure. Ultimately it is only the constant celebration that we now have the opportunity to offer this and to let our backgrounds influence how we influence ours Raise children as best as possible. "He adds," For me, Father's Day is a celebration of the gift of having children. "
To the black father in America: "We were blessed and happy that they are still a bit young, so they don't have many questions. ... We live in an area that is predominantly African-American and is quite wealthy. That's why they see constantly people who look like them, in powerful positions ... and their friends are very different. But there will come a time when we have to talk about it ... "
“I think that as an African American culture, we get so used to internalizing things, taking and taking them and never letting them out. ... My job has created a space in which everyone can talk. I only realized when it was my turn to talk about how emotional it made me ... I was emotional, it made my colleagues cry, I said: "It could be a little too raw right now." Everything I do looked Before the kids I got dressed - thank goodness I am not. But now everything I see is a reflection of what could happen to my children. I am constantly worried about it. Here came the emotion.
"At the moment I can float and they have this huge support system and I just want to make sure we go on like this. ... At the end of the day, we can only give them the resources they need. Give them the know-how and at the end of the day we leave them with a prayer. "
To the gay father in America: "We were concerned about this, but the neighborhood we live in is extremely gay-friendly. We were blessed." ... Although our first experience [with homophobia] with schools was, we have taken it to different schools, and many in the area are private-religious and have had the problem that there were two fathers. But they would find smart ways to put it like ... they weren't sure how our family dynamics would fit. Our thing was, that's your loss. Our children are brilliant, I may be biased, but they would only help your school. If you can't look beyond who we love and who we marry, that's not a good school anyway. "
Richard and Carlos Seigler-Carter
Fathers to Timothy Seigler-Carter, 3, Orlando, Fla.
Carlos, left, and Richard Seigler-Carter with son Timothy. (Photo courtesy of the Seigler-Carter family)
By Richard, who works as an educational advisor -
On the meaning of Father's Day: "I did not grow up with my father. I never met him. We try to make it a point ... to avoid some of the individual trauma that we felt because of the absence of our fathers. ... And making a commitment when we adopted our son to honor him and make sure we provide the best possible resources and all the love he needs to know he belongs to it. I think [Father's Day] is every year a renewed commitment ... and it is also a day to think about fathers or father figures that we have lost or that we have never met. "
On the black father in America: "We always recognize that we are both visibly black men who raise a kind of racially ambiguous child, and although our son is black and Puerto Rican, he does not present himself as black. It is a reminder for us, that we not only have to protect him, but also to educate him about his culture and his biological parents and where they come from ... and at the same time recognize the struggles of his fathers because we present ourselves as black people, so we often say that we have to talk to him undo - most black parents with a black son say, "You will do that if you are stopped by the police, etc." We will do it to explain why we may be run over for our presentation ... He will be a passport because depending on how he styles his hair, he will happen white. "
To the gay father in America: "Where we live is a kind of upper middle class ... so not so different in terms of race structure. ... There are gay fathers on the street ... So the collective support to be a same-sex parent is pretty high, but somehow missing from those who look like me. We have a kind of double strike, Black, who brings up a child as a same-sex couple. … I think where the look comes from is that I look and present very young, and I see and present very trendy, even though my level of work and education doesn't match. ... I think they just surprised someone who looks like me with the type of family I have and the type of car I drive. It's like they see you as a scam, even though no one said it openly. "
Regarding parenting through a pandemic: “I've been locked up in my office for four months and I'm doing my doctoral thesis… which has forced us to be much more structured when they get home. ... His school tried to learn virtually, but for a 3 year old it's a joke. We took the time to try potty training. "
Rodney Chambers and Ron Covington
Fathers to Charles Chase Covington-Chambers (11) and Carlos Carter Covington-Chambers (9)
Rodney Chambers, left, and Ron Covington with sons Charles and Carlos. (Photo courtesy of Rodney Chambers)
From Rodney, who, together with Ron, owns a government contractor and an upcoming family entertainment center, Party HQ -
On the meaning of Father's Day: “It just means so much because as fathers we can celebrate something that you may have thought grew up young and gay that you couldn't have - that you had no family. … We originally wanted to do surrogacy, so we got advice, paid our deposit, then came home and said: “Let's see if we like it. Maybe we should take care of it first. "
“All the time we were waiting for the care, we said: 'Our sons will be called Carter and Chase. 'When we got the call with our internship, we got a little nervous and almost didn't do it. But I asked what are their names? And she said, "Carlos and Charles." So we had to try and they stayed with us. They were 2 and 4 when we got them. On the first night with us, the oldest said, "Is this our new home?" And my partner said, "Don't say anything," but I said, "Yes, that's it." We had a relationship with their biological family, so they have my mother as a grandma, Ron's mother as a grandma, biological grandma, grandpas, all these aunts and uncles - their family has literally adopted us. "
To the black father in America: "I'm a news fan, so I'm just watching CNN and MSNBC ... so my kids will be sitting there watching and they are pretty savvy about what's going on with everything." We had a conversation with them about two weeks ago when this happened to Mr. [George] Floyd that you are still a black man and need to be aware of it, no matter how educated you are, how much money you have Surroundings and if you have good or bad interactions with the police, please just stick to them. ... We told them different things as if I had been run over for no reason, just to drive while Black. … I was very offended, but I kept to it. My parents always taught me to be respectful only. "
To the gay father in America: "It's always difficult for them on Mother's Day. They still have a mother, but they don't see her that often. ... You have all these grandmothers you love and aunts you love. So don't be sad - you are safe, you are in good hands ... and there are several things you have to be thankful for. "
On parenting during a pandemic: "We go to Amazon Prime to do exercise videos. We like the hip hop jazz exercise where we all sweat and try to do pushups!"
Algernon Cargill and Ronaldo Coxson
Fathers to Elle Cargill-Coxson, 16 months, New York, NY.
Algernon Cargill, left, and Ronaldo Coxson with daughter Elle. (Photo courtesy of Algernon Cargill)
From Algernon, a pediatric emergency doctor -
On the meaning of Father's Day: "It is a dream come true, because being a father is something that I wanted to be for so long and I thought because of my sexuality that it would not be possible."
To the black father during this time in America: “It is a time for big changes and I think that these changes were long overdue and I hope that my daughter as a father will not have the same challenges or experiences that I have had have. ... It is a time of change and the necessary changes. … It is very important that I include different pictures of characters that look like them during our story. We are very aware of this. "
Regarding parenting during a pandemic: "I think that has had a bigger impact on my career. I go to work full time regularly and it was more difficult to find childcare. Our nanny didn't feel comfortable when she came to our house. Therefore it was very difficult to find people watching them while we were at work. We have a routine to protect my family [when I get home from work]. ... I am very strict about this social distancing. "
Aaron Clay and JaRel Clay
Fathers to Noah Clay, 4, Maryland
JaRel, left, and Aaron Clay with their son Noah. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Clay)
By Aaron, a lawyer -
On the meaning of Father's Day: "I never celebrated Father's Day because I didn't have a father. Four years ago it became a thing ... And he not only has the father that I didn't have, but also two. It changed everything - not for him, but for us, so we take it very seriously. Many of the families you see in the video went on group trips to Father’s Day to celebrate all of us ...
“And Father's Day is doubly important: It gives us not only the opportunity to celebrate our children, but also ourselves and what we have achieved through adversity, especially when we are black and gay, and especially during this time, that of us for the first time we started talking to our son biracial but also black. It's more difficult to be a black gay man than other LGBT people. I just have the feeling that this is a very special time, not only for us, but also for our country. "
To the black father in America: “We saw the CNN Sesame Street Special and they did a really good job. ... It's difficult because it's like children aren't born racist and they don't see the problem, so it's a double-edged sword ... we didn't want to create a problem that wasn't there. However, we had a very serious conversation with our 4 year old because we don't want him to be in danger if he experiences a situation that he doesn't want to respond to. Unfortunately, as black children, we have to be prepared at a young age.
"We talked about not treating people differently because they look like this ... he looks Caucasian, he's mixed but very fair-skinned, but he honestly believes he's black and he doesn't understand the difference in his skin tone. It also shows that children are not born racist, but are brought up like this. ... But we are part of a very diverse group of friends, which includes biracial children, colored people and Indians. It really spans the entire spectrum. It was a delicate one "Interesting dynamics. Having no father figure somehow makes it difficult because I don't really have an example from which to start."
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
Carla Hall hopes that on June 19, Essen will be part of our healing process: "Diplomacy takes place at the table"
Inspirational stories: Virtual celebrations and the "bright spot" of a black doll designer brought a smile to our faces this week
How fathers can talk about races with their children
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