A support group for gay, bisexual and questioning
The Calgary Gay Fathers are an informal community
formed to support questioning, bisexual, and gay fathers. The group has a
wealth of experience in combining a gay identity with the role of father. The
group provides a safe, non-judgmental forum to work through these issues.
Roles the group plays include:
- Information: on family arrangements, parenting, interacting
with (ex)spouses, legal issues, integration into the GLBT community,
- Models: of the different family arrangements group members use.
- Discussion: of feelings, ideas, or ways to resolve
- Fellowship: with friends who understand.
The group has provided many men with their first
significant exposure to the GLBT community, forming a keystone in a new sense of
The group holds informal meetings twice a month, with
individual members in contact in between. Membership is free and confidential.
- The group is to support each other through discussion and sharing.
- Any questioning, bisexual, or gay father is welcome.
- Any information disclosed at meetings is to be held in strict confidence.
- Group members will not pass judgement on individuals.
- The group shares a commitment to support one another outside meetings.
- The group values open and honest communication.
- Group members will listen to each other.
- No member is required to contribute more than they feel comfortable.
- The group is not a substitute for counseling or professional care.
- The group is non-sexual.
Let us know if you'd like to add a contribution!
- If you've had problems getting a mortgage from you bank because of spousal support payments, try a mortgage broker. I got the mortgage I needed, and at a rate lower than my bank was offering.
- If you have access to an Employee Assistance Program consider using it during the coming out and/or separation process. If you find the right counsellor, it can be useful to be able to talk to an uninvolved and safe person.
- If you are separating or divorcing, consider finalizing agreements as soon as you are ready. Both situations and feelings can change over time, possibly leading to rediscussion of things that had already been decided. If you are having difficulty reaching an agreement, you might want to consider the use of a qualified mediator such as Alberta Arbitration & Mediation Society.
Being a Father
Men have followed a variety of paths to reach the Fathers Group. Group members have typically been in a heterosexual marriage. Frequently, but perhaps less now than in the past, gay and bisexual men have neglected, ignored, or denied their sexuality due to social pressure. Other men may not have developed their sense of sexuality until later in life. Some men have always identified themselves as gay but have children through a variety of circumstances, including partnerships.
For many gay and bisexual men who experienced a heterosexual marriage, a need to develop an integrated sense of self, wholeness, and honesty ultimately leads them to "come out". This can be a scary experience, and it can be helpful to have peer support through this process. As well, it is inspiring to hear the stories of other men who have successfully completed the transition while maintaining caring, supportive relationships with their families.
Men who are questioning their sexuality, or identify themselves as bisexual, may find that they share many concerns with the group. Also, discussing how members of the Fathers Group came to identify themselves may help them define their identity.
Gay men previously without children are thrust into a world of little people who sometimes have big demands. These men now share concerns with those men that had children through a heterosexual marriage. These men can draw on the experience and support of the group.
As society in general, gay fathers enjoy and love their children. They can be involved and supportive parents. Although some men have poor experiences, many fathers find that the coming out process forges a closer relationship with their children. Ultimately, gay fathers reconcile "who they are" with the needs of their biological families, the expectations of society of a father, and define their association with the GLBT community.