Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka on Oprah

Tonight I watched Neil Patrick Harris and his fiance David Burtka on "Oprah's Next Chapter". (http://www.oprah.com/own-oprahs-next-chapter/Oprahs-Next-Chapter-Neil-Patrick-Harris-David-Burtka--Their-Twins) Oprah visited them and their twins at their modest home in "The Valley". (Damn, are the four of them cute!) The men each fathered one child with an anonymous egg doner, and the kids were carried by a surrogate at the same time. Since my next two posts will have Gay Pride themes, I though today I'd wish you all a Happy Father's Day, and these two young daddies inspired me.
Oprah had an "Ah-ha" moment when she realized how much effort the couple went through to have their children - but during an interesting conversation. It wasn't when they talked about the process of conceiving their kids, but afterwards, when one of them commented in passing how they weren't some straight couple who accidentally got pregnant, so "just got married". That was the sentence that made Oprah realize that any same-sex couple who has children has to go through many steps to accomplish that goal. 

I had my own, unrelated "Ah-ha" moments during the show. The first was when they were discussing the pressures they feel as 'role-models' for gay couples. They said they never saw themselves as examples to others, but were both grateful for the examples of the relationships of their parents. David's parents were together for 40 years until his mother died shortly after being diagnosed with cancer, while Neil's parents are still together. Monogamy and fidelity were expectations, and they both grew up with example that divorce is not a solution - mature couples work out their problems together. My parents and those of my hus-bear were far from perfect, but they were together until our dads passed away, both of them suddenly. This may explain why we've managed to stay together over 31 years.
The other "Ah-ha" moment came when I listened to the two of them talk about their personal process of coming out. I had the idea that the coming out process was easier today that back in the Dark Ages, when I was struggling with defining myself and my identity. David an Neil both dated women even after personally accepting being gay. Neil had decided when still fairly young that he'd never be able to have a meaningful relationship because of his career, and because of the image of 'Dougie Howser' . "America watched me go through puberty."
Damn! These cute young guys had similar struggles to mine! Who knew??

Both of their parents had difficulty dealing with their sons being gay and in a relationship with a man, but love their son-in-law now. 
What really impressed me was how AVERAGE these men are, even though they are stars.
Their kids are lucky to have such loving and fun dads!
I lost my father in 1992, and I miss him frequently, so I just want to say:


  1. I have followed NPH on and off over the years and I absolutely adore him. Smart, funny, cute and seemingly at ease with himself. I think it is wonderful that him and David have been able to have the family they so richly deserve.

    1. One BIG difference between their experiences today and what would have been common when I was dating back pre-AIDS - they discussed the desire to have children on their first date!
      In my day, adopting was impossible, and creating a family by AI as they did was very rare even for married couples.

    2. I was attempting to discuss this very thing with my husband the other night. Just how much has changed and yet it still takes an astronomical amount of work and money(I'm guessing on the money) for this to be possible for a gay couple. To me it makes no sense. For instance, I could at any moment (well before the tubes got tied >.<) decide that I wanted more children. And it would not have mattered if I was married or not, my income level, my home environment....... It simply should not be so difficult for responsible adults to decide to have a family. *shrug* Just my opinion.

    3. Kasandra: Not just decide at the moment - before I came out, I had an "accident" involving a birth control device with a girlfriend, who then was late... Talk about worried.
      I was prepared to "do the right thing" - fortunately, she was just late.

  2. What a great post! And, they make such a beautiful family. I am so glad to hear that they value family and commitment. I think people (especially "hollywood")have forgotten that you don't just give up on someone when times get hard. It takes real work. Glad to see they have a great relationship.

  3. Great post Ike. I think David and Neil are adorable. I'm so happy for them and happy for you and your partner as well.

    I'll have to find the episode somewhere. :D