Being Gay Is Not An Option

April 5, 2021Rich

I wasn’t sure how to explain my journey as a 34-year-old married gay man, with two children through adoption and living on the most part a completely carefree life in a short blog, because sometimes I feel so accepted in society, that it blinds me from seeing how difficult things can still be for our community. So, I’m going to try my best to open up a bit in this blog, in the hope that it may help someone reading it.

Growing up

I grew up in south east London on a council estate, with my Mum, Dad and two sisters (me being the oldest) and can honestly say I have great memories of my upbringing and childhood life. There was always something in the back of my mind telling me that I fancied boys rather than girls, but with my Dad being a professional boxer, me being a really keen young footballer and on the outside being what people would describe as a ‘typical young lad’, it just wasn’t an option to allow these thoughts to become anything other than just thoughts in the back of my mind.

I don’t feel bad about this, as that was my normal at the time and has led me to where I am now. As I say, I really did enjoy my childhood, my teen years and early adult life but for a very long time, I had to pretend that in the situation of relationships, I was someone else.

For the purpose of this blog post not being a novel, I will now fast forward through childhood, teenage years and arrive at me as a 23-year-old, having been in numerous relationships with girls, desperately trying to make them work but always knowing deep down that it was just never going to make me happy. It was at this point in my life that I realised that ‘being Gay is not an option’ and that if I wanted to be truly happy, meet someone who I love and have them love me back, then I had to start being honest with myself and everyone else.

Meeting my husband

I started to go out and date in secret, which felt like I was living a double life for some time but now I just feel it was my transition into acceptance of me. Luckily enough, I met my now-husband Lewis in a pub. I gave him my number on a piece of paper at the bar without anyone I was with knowing, as I wasn’t out as gay at the time and two days later, he texts me (yes, I know he kept me waiting) and that is where life as the complete me truly began.

After months of dating, we both knew that we couldn’t go any further with our relationship while it was still a secret. So, I built up the courage to finally tell my family and closest friends, which sounds easy but I’m not sure that anyone truly understands the worry and anxious feeling that this creates.

Coming out to my family and friends

The build-up to telling the people you love the most was worrying and lonely, and I went through stages of genuinely believing that I would lose everyone. It may be completely irrational thinking, but we have all heard the stories of people being disowned due to being LGBTQ+ and as much as I didn’t want to believe this would happen to me, I had to make sure I was prepared for the worst-case scenario.

The moment of telling them was the scariest thing I have ever done. There was a couple of weeks of trying to understand it, with questions from my closest family members like “are you sure?” or “has something happened?” but it wasn’t very long before everyone got their head around things and very quickly, I felt completely accepted and feel lucky that I only ever received positive support.

Realising something was missing

Time to fast forward again, me and Lewis spent the next couple of years doing what young couples do, having lots of fun, making memories, enjoying lots of holidays and buying our first home together, but there was something missing.

The thing we were missing was the need to want to have a normal family life, which both of us were used to. As individuals, we both always knew that we wanted to be parents, but as younger adults we never truly believed it was possible. We certainly never imagined it would happen, which is why we probably never spoke about the idea of whether we would want kids in the future seriously.

We had always joked about having kids from early on in our relationship with that sort of awkward laugh together – that was secretly our way of building up to the real and important conversation of ‘do you actually want kids?’. Two years into our relationship, we had this very conversation and the short and simple answer from both of us was yes of course, we would love to have kids of our own but were worried about how easy or not this may be.

Starting a Two Dad family

Being a Two Dad family, the options for us to start a family were limited. In some ways, this may have helped make the decision a little easier for us on how to go about it, as the options were adoption or surrogacy. Our decision was based on two things: one that we wanted to be completely equal as parents and not have one being biologically related and the other one not, and two we knew there were so many wonderful children in care who need a family to love them and we knew we had more than enough love to share. So that was it, the decision was made, adoption was the way forward for us and so we started to attend adoption events.

We knew just how full on the whole adoption process would be, so we knew we had to tell our closest family and friends to get their support early on. Up until this point, it had just been the two of us knowing about this whole idea of starting a family. I think both sets of our parents had written off the idea of grandchildren from us, but things are so different now and we were so excited to tell them but also extremely nervous at the same time.

The worry of the people who are the closest to us, potentially not agreeing with the idea of a Two Dad family could have gone horribly wrong and we went through periods of considering not putting ourselves or our families through it, but the want to be parents outweighed the worry, so we went for it and told our parents who were all so supportive and that is where the journey to our family began.

Happily, ever after

I promise this will now be the last fast forward of this blog, as it brings me to today, where I am happier than ever before in being me. I have a gorgeous husband, the most amazing son, a little princess for a daughter and our family dog Belle, the crazy cockapoo, which basically means I really do have it all.

I feel so lucky to be in this position thanks to the work done by all of the LGBTQ+ community and allies out there, who have often had to really fight hard for things to change, which is why it is so important to remember the history behind why I feel like we are a normal family, just like any other family out there. I mean what is normal anyway 😊

Comments (64)

  • Jeni-Lee Pollock

    April 5, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    I can’t imagine better parents for the boy & girl. I hope my son turns out like any of the pair of you. Shining examples of normal gay men living a happy life. Just the way it should be ❤️

    1. Rich

      April 5, 2021 at 3:32 pm

      Thank you so much for saying that, how lovely of you. We are doing our best and if it helps anyone out there that reads this, then it would have been worth it.

      1. Catherine Casey

        April 5, 2021 at 10:33 pm

        I really love the blog and admire you both so much. I’m from Cork in the South of Ireland. I look forward every morning to watch your Instagram. I feel I know ye personally.

    2. Louise

      April 5, 2021 at 9:06 pm

      What a story, so well written. I’ve only recently found you guys on the gram but your already one of my faves. You really are an inspiration and obviously the best parents the boy and the girly could ever wish for. Love the blog keep it going xx Louise

  • Sandra Monaghan

    April 5, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    Rich you and lew are amazing, as a couple and as parents, I look forward to your posts everyday, they really cheer me up, keep being yourselves, love and hugs, xxx❤️💙🤗

    1. Rich

      April 5, 2021 at 3:33 pm

      Glad we cheer you up daily haha, although today we feel we are a bit boring but just so tired haha, parenting problems. We will certainly keep being ourselves 🙂 x

      1. Katy

        April 5, 2021 at 9:32 pm

        Hey Guys,

        Your posts are simply amazing. I’ve only been following you all for the past few months and have to say, you have me hooked!! Your posts have certainly helped lift the spirits of many during lockdown, I can definitely vouch for myself. I find myself smiling at your life, thinking what a lovely family you all are. Having just spend some time reading the blog which highlights just a few of your magical moments as a family, it never actually dawned on me the experiences you have had to deal with to get to where you are today, you should be so very proud of all the moments that have led you to such an amazing family. Amazing! Keep the posts coming xx

  • Marie Telfer

    April 5, 2021 at 3:32 pm

    Love this ,very honest very open love you guys and your boy and girly .
    Thankyou for letting us be part of your family 🥰🥰

  • Summer Smith

    April 5, 2021 at 3:32 pm

    Absolutely love seeing your guys’ day to day life, but it’s lovely to hear more about ‘how it all began’! I think we definitely need some young pictures of you both when you were dating! Lots of love, thank you for sharing x

  • Jeanette Montgomery

    April 5, 2021 at 3:35 pm

    Beautiful story and great Dad it also made a lot of people like me realise 2 same parent family is just the same as any family and your 2 children could not be more loved and they are having a much better life with you
    Keep up the great work amazing parents xx

  • Ruth

    April 5, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this, your story is such a positive one x Maybe you could write this into a book?!
    Love following you guys x

  • Charlene

    April 5, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    Aww rich , I have followed you guys doe a year now and do know most of your story, but this first part resonated so much with my son telling me he was gay at 13 , the fear o knew he must do had to say this at his age . I have never been more proud of him and sad at the same time that it is something that he has to say as he doesnr need to tell me he is straight. I do worry for him in life but I know society as a whole is accepting . There is always that minority. Thank you to you and to lew for always being so open and honest about your journey, xx❤

  • lorraine swazey

    April 5, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    So very happy for you both!! Your way was paved in part by a dear friend of mine-50 years ago we were living in NYC- he would have made an awesome dad- he came out and was totally cut off from his entire family…. I can’t even imagine such a horror… but he knew he had to do it . I think about him often when I see you all snd so happy for you! Shine on!!

  • Kerry Connolly

    April 5, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    😀😀😀😀

  • Zoe

    April 5, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    This was really lovey to read, you and Lew quite clearly are fantastic parents and it’s so lovely to feel part of your world through insta, you really have given the boy and girl everything they could want and more, you should be proud of that, keep up the good work loving following your day to day life xxx

  • Julie Berry

    April 5, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    It’s nice to hear your story and it’s refreshing that you’ve not had a hard time of things, being accepted for being who you are, and that’s lovely. I know when I first came across you on Insta, I’d had no experience of anyone I knew being a same sex parent family and I thought it’d be interesting. I’m not sure what I was expecting, lol, but you’re just like any other family. I love the banter you guys have with each other, how you wind each other up in the videos, in a lighthearted way, you both make me laugh and its nice to feel like you’re sharing that side of you with us all.

  • zoe evans

    April 5, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    My daughter is 13 and went through a moment where she was unsure if she liked girls or boys, I’ve told her that she doesn’t need to be definitive and can just love who she wants to love, she follows you and I féel you guys have been detrimental in making her accept that love is love not gender specific, thank you for being integral to the evolution of society xxxx

  • Pia

    April 5, 2021 at 3:48 pm

    Your happy family glows out of every post. I absolutely love seeing you all in your posts and you relationship with your children is just wonderful to see. I may be wrong but Lew has such wonderful bond with your daughter? What a lucky girl to have two amazing daddy’s! Both are very lucky children though and you are both doing such great job ❤🤍❤

  • Carole Griffiths

    April 5, 2021 at 3:58 pm

    You are both amazing parents to your children, you were meant to be together. Love your blogs looking forward to the little princess’s story.

  • Karen

    April 5, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    This is a great read and much better than a 20 second vlog. Lovely family xx

  • Wendy Walton

    April 5, 2021 at 4:05 pm

    I love you guys, sharing such precious & private moments is just amazing to help and support others. Love creates a family and the boy & girl are so lucky to have such amazing loving parents and family ❤️❤️

  • Zoe

    April 5, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    You two are an amazing couple and even better parents xx

  • Kellie-Ann Perry

    April 5, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    This is just so lovely to read and really touching too. You are WONDERFUL Dad’s to your beautiful children not forgetting Belle🦮 I think it’s great that Gay men and women can be parents just like heterosexual couples. Lots of love xxxxx

  • Beth

    April 5, 2021 at 4:17 pm

    I’m so proud of you Rich (even though I’ve never met you) you and Lew are a beautiful example for the young men coming into adolescence and adulthood.

  • Stacy

    April 5, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    You both are amazing parents x you both make me laugh so much x keep on doing what your doing x and am sure other couples out there take alot from your story ❤💙❤💙❤

  • Melanie

    April 5, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    Aw Rich you and Lew are fabulous people and parents from what we see! You’re so blessed to have the girly and boy and they are so blessed to have you too! Beautiful family 🥰 My son’s 28 and still lives at home. Imo he still struggles with society’s expectations of “normal” thank you and Lewis for being open and sharing your every day experiences 😘

  • Kelly

    April 5, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    Guys you two are truly an inspiration to others out there and also put some fathers to shame .
    I absolutely love your videos and seeing the way you parent you wonderful children .You both are truly beautiful fathers inside and out .
    I have 8 boys and my eldest has been battling cancer for 6 and a half years (9 times) and his father has vanished and never ever asks if he is ok .It’s is devastating but I am with my partner who treats him as his own and that’s all that matters .Bless you all and I wish you all the love and happiness in the world xxxx♥️❤️💙♥️❤️💙♥️❤️💙♥️❤️💙♥️❤️💙♥️❤️💙

  • Kelly

    April 5, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    Guys you two are truly an inspiration to others out there and also put some fathers to shame .
    I absolutely love your videos and seeing the way you parent you wonderful children .You both are truly beautiful fathers inside and out .
    I have 8 boys and my eldest has been battling cancer for 6 and a half years (9 times) and his father has vanished and never ever asks if he is ok .It’s is devastating but I am with my partner who treats him as his own and that’s all that matters .Bless you all and I wish you all the love and happiness in the world xxxx♥️❤️💙♥️❤️💙♥️❤️💙♥️❤️💙♥️❤️💙♥️❤️💙

  • Nicki

    April 5, 2021 at 4:53 pm

    Amazing parents and couple. Setting a great example for same sex or basically any couples that are planning an adoption that dreams can come true

  • Sheena

    April 5, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    Must be so hard to act like someone you know your not and live a lie good on you for building up the courage to be you love following you guys and reading your blogs never stop being you x

  • Emma

    April 5, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    You guys are just amazing I know you guys feel lucky to have the boy and girlie but they are so blessed to have a dad and daddy like you and Lew xx

  • Helen Tucker

    April 5, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Amazing post! Loved hearing about your journey inc the boy and girly! Truly inspiring and fantastic role models ❤️❤️

  • Letitia Davis

    April 5, 2021 at 5:13 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Rich, you and Lew are amazing parents and amazing people. The boy the girly and Belle are very lucky as are the two of you. Together you are a gorgeous family and I very much love being able to share some of your lives through Instagram. You make me laugh daily, I cry when you do and I’m really excited to see the kids, Belle and you guys living your best life. Xoxo

  • Jackie Jarvis

    April 5, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    What children could ask for more loving parents than you too, a true fairytale romance! Love you both xxx

  • Samantha

    April 5, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    Such a lovely blog, You guys are such positive role models for your children and for all your followers xx

  • abi Smith

    April 5, 2021 at 5:40 pm

    What a wonderful story and the children are very lucky to wonderful parents, providing them with a loving family. I bet they are spoilt written by the grandparents. Carry on worrying York blogs please xx

  • Jackie Campbell

    April 5, 2021 at 5:43 pm

    What a wonderful blog thanks for sharing.

  • disneykayik

    April 5, 2021 at 5:45 pm

    rich non of us are perfect parents but you are setting out a good example how it’s not got to be 2 straight people to be parents as 2 gay parents can do a better job and you both prove that daily you are bringing up your boy and girl brilliant and give yourselfs more credit as youse are doing it just how you should be youse will have your tired days and your good days thats what us parents get used to your children couldn’t wish for better parents and keep being yourselfs thats why we love youse because youse dont hide nothink youse are very open about life godbless you all xxx

  • Conor Mcloughlin

    April 5, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    I hve only started following your Instagram and Facebook the last 6-9 months and you and lew are amazing parents and should be very very proud of everything you have and the love you give to the boy and the girlie.

    Tbh you hve inspired me and my husband to start and look into the adoption process for us as we just thought we would never have kids. But seeing your we family it’s so heart warming and inspiring to us.

  • Conor Mcloughlin

    April 5, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    I hve only started following your Instagram and Facebook the last 6-9 months and you and lew are amazing parents and should be very very proud of everything you have and the love you give to the boy and the girlie.

    Tbh you have inspired me and my husband to start and look into the adoption process for us as we just thought we would never have kids. But seeing your we family it’s so heart warming and inspiring to us.

  • Lynda

    April 5, 2021 at 6:27 pm

    Loved reading this and so nice to help others who may be going through the same situation.
    You are both amazing parents and i love seeing your stories each day x❤

  • Estelle

    April 5, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    Such a great story and you being your true self means that others will see all that is possible and the boy & girl and you and Lew with Bella are the most wonderful family.
    Well done dad and daddy and thanks for sharing the family life with us.

  • Janet

    April 5, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    You are a lovely family and one of my favourites to watch on Instagram xx

  • Laura

    April 5, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    Loved reading your journey to now. You and Lew are an amazing couple and I love watching you both on Insta, you’re both wonderful dads too.
    In answer to your question, I love reading blogs! X

  • Loesje White

    April 5, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    You two are amazing dads to the boy and girl!
    I love watching what the four of you get up to everyday including Belle. Thank you for sharing your lives. 🥰

  • Rachel Bennett

    April 5, 2021 at 7:08 pm

    The best lesson in life is to be you
    The second lesson is having your kids and all that It brings
    The third lesson is your husband (third because let’s face it kids always come above)
    The forth is hiding the Disney account
    Xxxxx
    You both are amazing. Live your best Iives and never regret anything xx

  • Amanda Day

    April 5, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    I have followed you guys from the start and you are both amazing parents to both the boy and the girly, you are both so funny, Rich it’s lovely seeing you more confident on Instagram you used to shy away from it in the beginning, it’s lovely to see you more

  • Sarah Jones

    April 5, 2021 at 7:47 pm

    Such a lovely blog post to read. I’m so glad for you that you found the courage to be who you always were and just in time to find Lew too! You’re such a lovely family and clearly come from loving families. The happiness and love in your family is palpable and wonderful to be able to see you all grow.

  • Sarah Wilkins

    April 5, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Rich…love this story, loving following you & Lew and yr beautiful family on IG, I think you are wonderful parents. Its lovely to see you struggle like everyone else with work/kids/building work/Lew working in the NHS….it’s just like looking at my family, and it clearly shows how accepting everything is now as I forget you are two Dads, to me you are just a regular family like mine! ♥️

  • Suzanne Holmberg

    April 5, 2021 at 8:42 pm

    ❤️

  • Sharon

    April 5, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    What a beautiful story. I am so glad I found your IG and your blog. I love seeing such happiness and those two kids of yours are adorable! And there is no denying how much you and Lew love them. You all brighten up my day every day. 💖🏳️‍🌈🇨🇦

  • Sarah Healy

    April 5, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    Ahh you are both so genuine.. a family has made u complete ❤️💙 great role models for ur children.. xxx

  • Mary Dunningham

    April 5, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    You guys need to write a book! You both have a gift for writing and expressing yourselves. Member of my family should read your titled ‘being gay is not an option’ your family make me smile, thank you for your honesty and openness and basically what every other positive comment says!

  • Linda

    April 5, 2021 at 10:23 pm

    I don’t think it makes any difference whether it’s two dad’s, two mum’s, mum and dad or one mum or dad. Children need to feel safe, loved, listened to and cared for. You and Lew do this in abundance. I’m glad you got your dream to be parents. You are both amazing ☺️

  • Katle Wicls

    April 5, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    Loved this blog, you guys really are the most wonderful parents & sharing your journey to get there is probably going to help so many couples & children

    Great blog post, love you guys so much x

  • Beth Jeffries

    April 6, 2021 at 1:25 am

    Rich this is a beautiful story I love you both so much and seeing the love you have for the children is just something else you smash it everyday the children are so very lucky to have you. Please don’t stop the blogs and when will you add to the girlies adoption one xx

  • Lou

    April 6, 2021 at 6:38 am

    Morning! Just read your blog Rich. I am so happy you’ve found your happy. Sometimes it takes a while, but when you know you know 😉 I’ve followed you & Lew in Instagram for a while now & just live watching your stories with the boy & girlie & have commented a few times at how lucky those little treasures are to have such wonderful, loving, fun parents. I think at 1 point I even asked Lew to adopt me!! 😂

  • kirsty Palmer

    April 6, 2021 at 7:05 am

    Beautiful story of a beautiful family

  • Claire

    April 6, 2021 at 8:42 am

    Rich this is so lovely to read your journey. I love following you. Thank you for sharing xxxx

  • Maxine

    April 6, 2021 at 9:09 am

    Love you guys, you have a lovely family and are wonderful parents. I’m so glad you have found happiness with each other, when I watch your stories I can feel the love between you all and it makes my day, thank you xxx

  • Francesca Caddell

    April 6, 2021 at 9:10 am

    You and Lew are honestly so incredible. And the boy and girl are so lucky to have you as their daddy and dad.
    Best thing to come of of Instagram was stumbling across your account (thanks to my sister) after hearing all about the naughty Christmas Elf 2019 😂

    I’ll never get bored of your story and your journey! Much love to you all xx

  • Joanne Haley

    April 6, 2021 at 10:00 am

    Such a lovely little story and it just goes to show that this is exactly where you should be and need to be. X

  • Mike C

    April 6, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    Thanks for such an open and honest blog Rich. For as long as I can remember I always said I didn’t want to be a parent but something recently has changed inside me and now I am starting to really think about it properly. Maybe I do want to be a dad after all.

    I know my partner would love to be a parent so the biggest obstacle has until now been me, but your blog and seeing how happy you and Lew are is really inspirational.

    Please keep up the great posts and blogs. 😁 x

  • Tracy

    April 6, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    Thanks Rich, loved reading this episode of the blog. I love catching up with you, Lew, the boy, the girl & Belle each day! Your stories are entertaining & I love when the boy feels the need to join in and have his say! Your 2 are such characters I love them! Keep it up! xxx

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