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Gay comedian plans Diverse Dads talk

Mon 25 Aug 2008 In: New Zealand Daily News

Gay and disabled comedian Philip Patston says he's about to delve into the experience of the men we may not always think of as fathers – disabled and gay dads. Discussing dads: Philip Patston In a light and informal panel discussion in west Auckland next week, Patston will introduce six men with alternative and important, yet surprisingly common, perspectives on fathering. They will share their highs and lows, joys and frustrations as disabled and gay fathers. Questions to be addressed include: "What are society's attitudes to gay and disabled men fathers? What is the impact on their kids? Are their responsibilities similar or different? How does diversity impact on their relationships with their children? How do they respond to the macho, mainstream idea of what a father is? And what might these diverse dads have to offer mainstream dads?," reveals Patston. "As civil union becomes more common and disabled people strive for inclusion, this event is an important glimpse into the future of fathering," he says. The panelists include Ian and Erik, who met each other at the Hero Parade in 1994. In the last ten years they have raised over twenty children from two generations with up to seven children at one time living with them. Patston believes both gay and disabled men have valuable experiences, attributes and life learning to share with children. "Certainly my life has been about awareness and resilience, communication and negotiating boundaries – I think that sets you on the path to good parenting. "I think there are many unspoken assumptions underscoring society's attitudes to fathers. There's still this macho, mainstream idea of what a father is. I think a lot of people still think gay men and disabled men haven't quite got what it takes. We want this panel to challenge those stereotypes and celebrate diversity in fathering." The panel discussion, which takes place as part of Waitakere City's Focus on Fathering Week, is scheduled for Tuesday 2 September, 7.30-9pm at Kelston Community Centre, Cnr Great North and Awaroa Rds, Kelston.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Monday, 25th August 2008 - 12:38pm

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