Father’s Day: Lessons we can learn from having a gay father
Gay fathers share with us the lessons they hope to teach their children.
By EBONY MONTENEGRO
In Ricky Martin’s 2010 autobiography, Me, the Puerto Rican singer delved into his new journey of fatherhood and how he wanted his children to grow up.
“I want them to feel perfectly free, and there will not be anything — not even their father’s life — that will affect them,” he wrote. “They have to feel completely proud of who they are and where they come from, and I never want them to feel the need to keep a secret from me or from anyone. “
Armando Correa, the Managing Editor of People En Español and father of three, has been able to teach his children tolerance because they come from a non-traditional family.
“First of all, it is very difficult to become a father being gay. After you become one — in my case via a surrogate mother and an egg donor — everything else is not a problem,” Correa said.
“My children, especially Emma (who is six years old), know that many different types of families exist,” he said. “She is learning to accept those differences. We are all human, in that we are the same, but at the same time we are very different.”
Correa, 52, lives in New York City with his partner Gonzalo Hernández and their children, Emma, and 2-year-old twins Anna and Lucas.
Hernán Valverde, 36, of Miami, feels that his children have an advantage by having a gay dad.
“I think they will be able to see the world in a more open form,” he said. “In my world they get to see people loving each other regardless of who they are. They open their horizons to more.”
The father of two boys, Zack, six and Tyler, four, Valverde will celebrate this Father’s Day like any other family, surrounded by those he loves. Valverde, a marketing manager for a liquor company, was married to the children’s mother. Now they stay with him every other week.
Despite the circumstances of the divorce, for Valverde being a gay father has not been hard. “The most difficult part is to explain to people that I am gay and I have two kids and to have to explain how that works,” he said. “I am lucky to live in a great city that allows everyone to be who they are.”
In terms of general fatherhood, “probably the most difficult part is being their role model, because I don’t’ want to disappoint them,” Valverde said.
Correa also expressed that his household is just like many others.
“Our family is like every other family in New York, with the difference that we are Hispanic, immigrants and my children have two parents,” he said. “Up until now we have not had a problem. But in our society being different could be impertinent for some. I always say that I don’t have problems, it is other’s people’s problems whether they accept us or not.”
In the end, the universal lesson whether we have one dad, two dads, red dads or blue dads the message parents want for their children seems to be pretty clear.
“To love all kinds of people, to be good to everybody — to me that’s the most important thing,” Valverde said.