“In my twenties I thought being a gay dad wasn’t an option – I don’t want that for anyone else.”
Two dads are on a mission to normalise same-sex and trans-parenting by launching London’s first LGBTQ+ exclusive family planning event.
Michael and Wes Johnson-Ellis, who met eight years ago at Birmingham Pride, and were engaged within three months. The loved-up pair tied the knot two years later and decided they wanted to start a family.
With so many options, and not all of them very welcoming to the LGBTQ community, the couple from Hagley, West Midlands did not know where to start.
After months of heavy research, they finally decided they wanted to have their own biological children and opted for gestational surrogacy.
Michael Johnson-Ellis said: “We decided on surrogacy because we knew we wanted our own biological children. People do question it as to why we didn’t go for adoption but that just wasn’t for us.
“We knew people at the time who tried adoption but had bad experiences with homophobic social workers. The process was daunting enough without the worry of further prejudice, we’d both spent most of our twenties thinking having a family as a gay man wouldn’t be an option.”
Creating their family, they welcomed the first arrival of Talulah in October 2016, followed by their son Duke in August 2019. The couple have spent more than £60,000 creating their family and now want to help others in the LGBTQ plus community to learn their options.
Michael said: “We still get questions that can feel intrusive or questions about ‘taking the baby away from the mother’. But this is our fight – we want normalise LGBT parenting further and create a safe space for people in the community to ask questions, unjudged. Being two dads, two mums, trans parents shouldn’t be an issue as long as a child is loved.”
The couple weren’t always so public about their family life. According to their TwoDads.UK. blog, Wes found it difficult to be so vocal about their private family life but they realised how much the world needed to be educated on this side of family planning.
Recent research by the Family Equality Council showed 63 per cent of LGBTQ+ millennials are considering family creation.
With a surge in thirty-somethings seeking out advice on becoming first time parents or looking to expand their families further, surrogacy advocates Michael and Wes, it was time to make information more accessible.
Michael added: “We started our blog to educate people on same-sex parenting and de-stigmatise surrogacy. The Modern Family Show is an extension of this, helping people learn the best way to start a family for them.”