Out in the Open

Gay dads navigate the taboos associated with single-sex parenthood

Michael Went and Doug Kerr find themselves facing the subtle stigmas — and self-censorship — experienced by gay parents.
Michael Went, Doug Kerr and their son, Malaki (Provided by Doug Kerr)

Doug Kerr and Michael Went are both dads to their adopted son, 6-year-old Malakai.

They consider fatherhood to be a very positive experience. But as gay men, they've faced unique stigmas, including the assumption that women can better parent children.

Doug says he and Michael are trying to challenge those assumptions.

"The idea of two men parenting in the context of modern society in Canada is fairly new. It's about the way we think about men in society, that men can be nurturing and caregivers," he says.

Michael worries about the stigmas he and Doug face in everyday life when it comes to parenting Malaki.

"Sometimes, depending on the context, I feel like the idea that you can hug your child, kiss your child...particularly as the child is a boy and you're a boy, it touches upon the fears of homosexuality and influencing the child to be gay in ways that other combinations of male-female parent-child don't have," said Michael.

"We have a challenge that's going to be ongoing for our son's life — that he's going to be on this vanguard of being the son of gay parents," says Michael.  

This story originally aired on January 29, 2017