When Andy Miller and Brian Stephens set out to become parents, there were very few examples to follow. While they were extremely grateful for the guidance and mentorship of the few gay fathers they knew, they often spoke about the need for access to more robust information and varied experiences to help them make decisions. In addition, they felt a strong desire to connect with other gay dads as they found their support network was drastically changing. On one hand, they were enjoying closer connections to family and straight parents, but they also felt increasingly cut-off from the larger gay community. Other gay parents, especially gay fathers, were especially rare and those they found also often expressed desire for more connections to gay parents who could relate to their daily lives and challenges.
Six years following the birth of their son, Clark, and in the midst of the increasing momentum of the marriage equality movement, Andy and Brian left successful careers in the non-profit community to begin their own consulting practice and create the space in their lives to found The Handsome Father. It was their hope to create a sustainable organization that would provide access to comprehensive information to gay men wanting to become fathers and connect them to the resources and services that could help them. They also wanted to elevate stories of gay fathers and their lives and help them connect to one another in order to provide greater support and reduce the isolation many reported feeling. Finally, they wanted to ensure that no man sacrifices his dreams of fatherhood simply because he is gay and understood that being an out, gay father was a “handsome” proposition. In the process, they have also built connections to straight, bi and trans* men and fathers and The Handsome Father will be a place where their issues and needs are also explored and resources are identified. The Handsome Father will challenge the myths and stereotypes about gay men, their relationship with children, and outdated views on what it means to be a father. But most of all, it will be a community of support for fathers, no matter who they are or who they love.
May 31, 2007 – Co-Founders Andy Miller and Brian Stephens welcomed their inspiration (their son, Clark) to the world.
June 1, 2007 – Co-Founders first began talking about creating a “guide” to help gay men navigate the adoption process. From 2007 to 2013, they continued to discuss ideas and research resources and information available to help gay men build and nurture their families.
December 7, 2012 – The U.S. Supreme Court announces it will take up the Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act cases, motivating the co-founders to finally decide it was time to take a leap of faith, leave their jobs and commit themselves to creating a non-profit organization to help other gay men build their families.
February 16, 2013 – Held strategic planning session to create our mission, vision and primary goals with Linda Glass of Glass Talent Strategies.
April 26, 2013 – Began working with Barry Silverberg and Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations to establish The Handsome Father as a nonprofit organization. Received Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service. Began recruiting members for the Interim Board of Directors.
April 29, 2013 – Filed and received our Certificate of Filing and Certificate of Formation as a Domestic Nonprofit Corporation from the Office of the Secretary of State of Texas. Introduced our logo and launched our Facebook and Twitter social media channels.
May 16, 2013 – Held first Board of Directors meeting with the interim Board members to adopt the organization’s by-laws and elected Andy Miller, Brian Stephens, Chris Long, Phil Hills and Jayson Dreckshage to the permanent Board.
May 31, 2013 – Submitted application to the Internal Revenue Service to be designated a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.
June 6, 2013 – Worked with Leslie Wingo and Sanders/Wingo to conduct market research on gay-friendly adoption agencies and resources.
June 26, 2013 – Supreme Court overturns Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, significant accelerating marriage equality in the United States and empowering LGBT families to share their stories like never before!
Aug 8, 2013 – Began working with Lindsey Tyner and Alt Creative to build The Handsome Father website.
September 9, 2013 – Held first fundraising event in Austin, TX and raised $7,000.
October 30, 2013 – Recruited Craig Peterson, Juan Luque, Scott Ballum, Duke Nelson and Manny Velasquez-Paredes to write for The Handsome Father Blog.
November 2, 2013 – First Op-Ed from The Handsome Father published on The Advocate Online.
December 6, 2013 – Began working with Anne Nagelkirk and Alpheus Media on The Handsome Father video.
December 7, 2013 – Held the first #handsomefamilyphoto shoot with Michael Thad Carter in Austin, TX.
January 18, 2014 – Held second #handsomefamilyphoto shoot in New York City.
January 28, 2014 – Steve Flores, Garret Higley and Manny Velasques-Paredes elected to the Board of Directors.
February 6, 2014 – Began working with Alex Davidson to write biographies to accompany the #handsomefamilyphoto project.
March 31, 2014 – Mark Maxwell and Duke Nelson elected to the Board of Directors.
April 15, 2014 – The Handsome Father officially launches!