TNF: Tell me about your family.
JERROD: My family consists of my daughter Shayla, 19 and myself. I am also very close with my two sisters, my Mother and my 2 nieces. We consider ourselves pretty fortunate in the friend department too having close friends who have been like family to us through the years. I am currently single. My ex partner and I broke up after five years together, as of May, 2013.
TNF: Do you feel different from other families? If so, how so?
JERROD: I think every family is different. We all find things that become our goals and focal points as we raise our children or work with our partners/spouses. I find that being gay is something that is less common, but not completely unique in this day and age. We all handle our families in diverse ways and it’s great because we can all learn from other families experiences, gay or straight!
I found, as I raised Shayla that I wanted to make sure she experienced the city, museums, shows, the world and also saw different versions of families as she grew. Many people I know, didn’t or don’t make that a focal point in their child raising agendas. In that way, I consider us different from many.
TNF: Where do you live? Is it tough being a gay parent where you live? Do you feel accepted?
JERROD: I live in the City of Denver now and I spent most of my daughters childhood, and much of my own living in Denver Suburbs.
I have experienced some anger, some comments, some ignorance both in the city and in the suburbs. However, for the most part i have made sure that my daughter and I were happy with ourselves and that we both understood there will always be people who don’t agree with everything we do! No matter what.
I have only ever been a gay parent, so I don’t know it if it is more difficult, or maybe easier compared to a straight parent. I included some lessons in my parenting that others who are straight may or may not have opted to teach, such as diversity in families and acceptance of others!
I feel accepted, even if I’ve had to lose some friends, or family members due to their opinions of my life and the fact that I am gay. For every one person who has shunned me, 30 have loved us… so it’s a pretty good life.
TNF: What has having a family meant to you?
JERROD: Being a dad is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I was young, and scared, and closeted when I started out. I didn’t let any of that get in my way and it means the WORLD to me. I am so proud of my daughter for being a good, stand up human, daughter, niece, granddaughter, sister and friend! She makes me so proud just by being herself!
I’ve had to adjust my days since my daughter is now at college and living her life more on her own… but it’s only gotten better! I am a fortunate man!
TNF: Tell us anything else we should know.
JERROD: I had help from her mother in the younger years, and Shayla is the oldest of four kids on her moms side. Shayla is close with her mom and siblings to an extent, and she loves her brothers and sister very much!
I couldn’t have been the dad I worked to be, if it wasn’t for the help of my Mom and sisters, my friends and the support of the community I chose to surround us with. I made sure we had great people for the last 20 years and I think it worked out wonderfully.
Jerrod, Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us!