Real Life Story
We’re Gay Parents In Asia. Here’s How We Do It.
Contrary to what others might think, there’s just as much commitment and love in families with gay parents.
Gay parenting is still taboo, especially in Asia. Some might doubt how committed the parents can be to their child, while others might question how committed the parents can be to each other.
But dads Bobby and RJ from the Philippines have fully committed to their relationship with each other and to raising their daughter, Bianca—showing other parents, themselves, and even their daughter’s mom that gay parents can raise kids just as well as straight parents can.
When the couple first met, RJ already had Bianca with his now ex-wife, and he was dividing his time between raising her and managing his business. Bobby, on the other hand, was a self-described “non-stop party and travel person.”
Neither was sure their relationship would work, but it was a non-negotiable for RJ that his partner accept and embrace his daughter.
“I just kept my fingers crossed,” RJ said. “Because Bianca is my priority over everything.”
Luckily, Bobby was ready to make that commitment, too.
“When Bobby committed to being RJ’s partner, [he] was also committing to being a parent,” the couple said.
Perhaps the only thing more nerve-racking than talking to a partner about a child is talking to a child about a partner. Maybe we should cut kids more slack, however, because then 10-year-old Bianca didn’t need a lot of explaining to understand her dads’ love.
“There was never a formal introduction to tell her that Bobby was my partner. I first introduced Bobby as my ‘friend,’ and she slowly figured out who Bobby was in my life, and eventually her life,” RJ said. “She never showed any resistance, and in fact has shown nothing but acceptance of this lifestyle.”
Gradually, RJ, Bobby, and Bianca spent more time together. Bobby would sometimes sleep in RJ’s home, hang out on weekends, and join their out-of-town trips.
Now, Bobby plays a unique role in their family.
“RJ is the disciplinarian, so [Bianca] tends to open up to Bobby more,” the couple said, adding that Biaca now even likes to spend time alone with Bobby.
“I always like to joke around with her. I can’t say that I’m the most caring, hugging, kissing person, so my language of love is my jokes,” Bobby said. “Whenever I go out of the house, I always try to bring back something for her, which are usually her favorites. I probably know her favorites more than RJ.”
Aside from her dads, Bianca also spends time with her mom, with whom the couple has made sure to also build a good relationship.
“We have always kept a healthy relationship. We even go as far as discussing rules together so that they’re applied in both homes.” They added that it’s important for them that Bianca see that they all get along, to fill any gap that may have been caused by RJ’s separation from her mom.
Initially, Bianca’s mom had doubts about RJ’s relationship with Bobby, and their relationship with Bianca, but she came to see how RJ and Bobby both made Bianca their top priority. Here, RJ and Bobby think being gay was an advantage.
“I think the fact that this is a gay relationship makes it much easier since there’s no feeling of the mom being replaced by another woman,” they said. “It could have been more difficult if it was in a hetero situation.”
Last year, RJ, Bobby, Bianca, and her mom all celebrated Bianca’s birthday together. They said it turned out very well and will probably not be the last time they do it that way.
Of course, RJ and Bobby have had to prove themselves as co-parents to other people, too.
RJ said attending school events became uncomfortable when other parents found out he was gay. “Parents would stare at me, and I could feel their smirks and doubts. You’d always have eyes on your every move,” he said. There were hesitations with some family members, too.
“The only way to combat all of these doubts would be to be proud of who we are and prove them wrong,” the couple said. “We had to both prove to our families first and foremost that this is a healthy relationship for us, and [it] would trickle down to our daughter.”
RJ and Bobby said Bianca seems very happy with their family set-up.
“She has three families who love her—her mom’s, RJ’s, and Bobby’s,” they said.
RJ and Bobby describe their family as “positively unique.” Laws in the Philippines do not recognize their relationship, but these dads hope that, one day, they will.
“We can give as much love and care as any straight parent out there,” they said.
Source: Romano Santos, VICE Author
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