Program Types: Community-Led, Family and Children,
Gay Fathers of Toronto is a peer support group run by—and for—gay men who are fathers.
Since 1978 Gay Fathers of Toronto has been helping men on their journeys. We are here to tell our stories and to hear yours. We do not tell you what to do or when; we are here to support you in the path you believe is right for you and your situation.
A Brief History
In 1978 a group of gay men who were also fathers banded together to establish a peer support group for themselves and other gay fathers. These men had created families the only way then possible, in a relationship with the mother of their children. Nevertheless, facing an unfriendly and judgemental world they wanted to reconcile their conflicted desires and emotions.
In 1981 the book Gay Fathers was written, apparently the first of its kind ever published. That collection of “coming out” biographies was based on the actual experiences of Gay Fathers of Toronto men, including several of the men who started this support group.
Canada today is very different from 1978 in many ways. Marriage regardless of gender became legal in 2003 in Ontario and by 2005 throughout Canada. Sexual orientation is not a factor when child custody decisions are made, and there are many ways gay men can become fathers. Yet thousands of men – for personal, religious, age, or cultural reasons – become fathers first and then later begin the process of coming out, and Gay Fathers of Toronto continues to support those men.
Description of a typical meeting
Maybe you have planned – several times even – to attend a Gay Fathers meeting and then cancelled at the last minute. Your hesitation is not uncommon. That first meeting is significant. What am I doing? Why? I am too old for this. Who says I need “support”? What kind of men will I find there? What if someone sees me?
There are hundreds of reasons NOT to join. That first meeting is big step. Maybe it is the first admission of your secret to another person or even to yourself. It is also a chance to talk openly, without judgement, to men who understand and who “have been there” and understand.
In person and virtual meetings