Here We Go


The very first flight we took with our son was when he was only a few weeks old.  We were heading to a wedding in Los Angeles.

Those who know us know all too well it was only fitting our son would be on a cross-country flight before turning one month old. We were new dads but as all parents know, it’s a learn-on-the-job type gig.  Spend twenty-four seven with anyone and you tend to figure them out quite well.

As we sat at our gate at Logan Airport I watched as two women across the way chatted and pointed at us. I hadn’t really thought about comments or stares. We were flying from Boston to Los Angeles after all, two fairly progressive cities.

After a few moments one of the ladies came over, took my hand, which at the moment was burping my child, moved it down and said, “No, you burp here.”

I just looked at her. Did she really just do that?

First off, it’s strange when anyone I don’t know touches me but even after just two short weeks of burping our child every two to three hours, we quickly figured out the “right spot.”

I moved my hand back, he burped, and I just simply smiled, hoping she would walk away.  Instead she asked, “So, where is his mother?”

I honestly don’t remember how I responded.  Does she go up to single mothers she sees and asks where the father is?  It was at that moment I realized that no matter where we are or where we’re traveling, we stick out.

This didn’t and hasn’t stopped us from traveling, of course.  Our son has now been on roughly thirty flights in his twenty-seven months on this earth.  He even has his own frequent flier card.

It was right before his second birthday, our last “free flight” as he was still a baby and we were heading from Los Angeles to Louisville, Kentucky to visit some of our dearest friends.  As we sat on the flight from Las Vegas to Louisville I immediately felt the stares.  If a woman in Boston has the gall to ask me about my child, what would they say in Kentucky?  I braced myself.

In the middle of the flight I got up to use the restroom and the flight attendants were all in the back catching up on the latest news and life updates.  As I approached they all smiled and said, “We are all sitting back here talking about you guys.  You guys are just such a cute family!”  It made me smile.

As we landed in Louisville the family in front of us turned around and welcomed us to Kentucky.  They told us everything we should do, see and eat during our stay and asked us all about our son.  Their conversation was genuine and again I smiled.

Today we’re headed home for Thanksgiving, on our way to Kansas City.  Walking through the airport, a now-familiar family routine, I know we still stick out.  We may not look like the other families returning home from their Disney World vacations but we aren’t so different.  We are just like them: proud parents taking a trip to Grandma’s house with our beautiful son.  As we board the plane our son shouts out, “Here we go!” Everyone, buckled in their seats, joins in, “Here we go!”  Our little guy starts to laugh.  I smile bigger than I ever have.

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Your husband?

It was 2012 and my phone rang. It was our neighbor letting us know that our garage door was still open. Being late at night he knew we must have left it open, and was being neighborly and looking out for us. They were a sweet family, always so polite when we saw them. We would talk about the weather, our yards and their kids. As I would leave the husband would always say, tell your brother we said hello. I always just smiled and in my head would think, “I’ll tell him later tonight when I’m sleeping with him.”

It wasn’t just our neighbors that thought we were brothers, it was a common occurrence while living in the south. Whether a neighbor, waiter or fellow passenger on a plane I never corrected them. At times I felt courageous and would say “partner” but all too often I quietly smiled and disregarded my relationship that I was so proud to have.

So returning to Jacksonville this fall I knew the time would come. Being away for four years and living in New England and California people asked all the time about our relationship, and over time I became more confident in saying “husband.” At first it was our neighbors in Massachusetts, then to our regular waiter in Los Angeles and eventually I even found myself correcting passengers sitting by me on a plane – when they would ask about my wife, I would proudly correct them and say husband. Now though, I was back in the south. Would that confidence fade?

I figured it would be at a party a few weeks in, or out at a restaurant a few months after our move. But it happened on day one. Yes, day one. We were outside our storage unit when an older woman pulled up in her SUV. She asked me if I would help her unload an old trunk from her unit. Without any hesitation, I must have forgotten I was out of L.A. and I said:

Me: “Let me grab my husband to help us.”
Her: “Your what?”
Me: “My husband. He’s right over there.”
Her: Looking puzzled and pointing at him, “Your….what?”
Me: “My husband ma’am, we’d be more than happy to help you.”

She continued to look puzzled while we helped her. As we lifted the trunk into the car and closed the hatch, we noticed the “Take Back America” bumper sticker on her car. She tried to give us a tip but we declined. We said we don’t want a tip, but asked her to do a good deed for someone else down the line. She then asked about the little boy she saw us with earlier. We told her about our son and she asked when we got married. We told her our story and then we politely said we had to go. As we drove off she smiled, still looking slightly puzzled, and waved. All we could think was, we may have been the first gay couple, actually gay dads, she had ever met in her life.

We may not have changed her life that day but we did expose her to our life and our family. My beautiful family – me, our son and my husband.


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New in “Voices:” Sophie and Holly Hanson


When the beautiful, intelligent Sophie Hanson from Sweden first moved to California in December 2011 to attend school, she had no intention of settling in the U.S.  “I couldn’t see myself spending the rest of my life in a country where I’d be treated as a second class citizen. Growing up in Sweden, one of the most liberal countries in the world, I just wasn’t ready to give up my freedom and go back into the closet,” she said.

Read in HL’s Voices how her and Holly fell in love, and ended up settling down together in the L.A. area.

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Deborah Cox Concert – Winners Announced!


Deborah Cox is headed back to Birmingham this month and 2 lucky Birmingham reviewers just won free tickets! Congrats to Lara Embry of Birmingham – thanks for submitting a review and entering into the drawing.

Also, thanks to Central Birmingham Pride for donating the tickets to the HL community!

Have fun at the concert Lara!

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HL’s Advocate of the Week: Kyle Pugh of Birmingham, Alabama


Congratulations to HL’s Advocate of the Week: Kyle Pugh of Birmingham, Alabama

What did Kyle have to say about Hayden’s List?

“I love having Hayden’s List in my community because as a person living in the Deep South many times our allies are not as “out” and noticeable as they could be even if their intentions are great! Likewise, our enemies are often wolves in sheep’s clothing! Hayden’s list helps us to choose wisely when trying to support those businesses that support our community! I use it weekly and refer friends to it daily!”

How has Kyle advocated for Hayden’s List?

Kyle is the President of Central Alabama Pride and has been instrumental in helping Hayden’s List come out in his community, through local events and by submitting numerous local reviews!

Thanks Kyle, for advocating for us in your community!

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“Tell Us Tuesday:” Heyyy y’all Nashville is coming out!

  “I admire this town a lot. They take care of their own. There’s not a lot of places in the world, much less America, that do that. It’s just a great place.”

-Justin Timberlake

Nashville is HL’s newest city on the list! We want to know what businesses in Nashville are LGBT friendly and not so friendly. Check out our Nashville page here. Let’s do as JT suggests and take care of our own. 

Click here and submit a Nashville review!

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