3 min

Pleasures of parenthood

Gay dad Curtis Vertefeuille feels lucky

Credit: Matthew Lister

Michael Venus: So how are you and what is the latest?

Curtis Vertefeuille: Well it’s the Christmas rush at toyland.

MV: Okay, since I am so excited to ask you this: how is it being a gay dad?

Curtis: I think being a dad in general can be a great thing. It also helps having such a great kid.

MV: Tell the readers about your beautiful daughter, Zoe, and your wonderful relationship.

Curtis: She’s such a well-adapted kid and we really got lucky to have her, considering that it’s an unusual setting. The relationship that I-we-have with Zoe is awesome. It is very seldom that we have to pull out the parental ‘big guns’ because she is such an intuitive, understanding person. She knows right from wrong and knows that everyone is different. It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, gay or straight, I don’t think she even sees those things. Those kinds of behaviours tend to be learned, and if you teach your child to recognize people’s differences as being bad, then I think you’ve failed them.

MV: Do you ever feel that perhaps because you are gay, Zoe actually has it better than, say, a child with an average straight-Joe dad? I do.

Curtis: I don’t know if I would say better, because there are a lot of great parents out there of all kinds. I know there are a lot of gay people out there who may not have what it takes to be parents, as well as many straight people. I think this works for us, and if we can raise her to see through all the prejudicial walls in society then we’ve done a good job.

MV: So how did you come to be a dad? And let us in on your new gay family.

Curtis: I was married. My ex-wife and I still talk all the time.

We have joint custody. It was rough for a while, but things are good now. The only thing I regret is hurting my ex but I think she and I would agree that having Zoe has healed that pain and taken away any regrets. If I have any advice for anyone questioning their choices in life, it is to not marry a women just because your parents tell you to. Do it because you love her and are in love with her. The last thing you want to do is come out when you’re 45 and resent her for wasting your youth and make her feel like shit.

MV: Okay, I just remembered that as a young one, you dazzled crowds as a figure skater. So, how on earth did people take you seriously at the altar with a woman?

Curtis: All the signs were there, but no one ever thought it. I think when you’re in an environment where people have not been exposed so much to a thing like gayness it doesn’t cross their minds. Nowadays it’s on TV constantly and everywhere you look. I believe when people are more educated they tend to be more accepting.

MV: What are some aspects of having two gay dads that you hope Zoe will grow from in her future?

Curtis: That she will be more accepting of all kinds of people.

MV: What advice could you offer any other hopeful gay dads?

Curtis: We, as gay people, don’t have many role models. There isn’t a handbook on how gay people should raise a child, but it doesn’t matter at all. It is just important to remember that kids absorb everything you say and/or do. If you provide the means for them to be good people, then you’ve succeeded.

MV: Do you feel society’s view on gay parents has changed drastically in the past few decades and what other leaps need to happen?

Curtis: Unfortunately, not enough, but it is easier now than in the past. Don’t fear what you don’t understand. I happen to sleep in the same bed as someone of the same sex. You don’t have to. But don’t tell me it’s wrong, just as I don’t tell you that your wife is ugly and the two of you should be sent to an island somewhere and have it blown up.

MV: What is a family-fun favourite activity?

Curtis: We take the dogs to the park, go to the beach, go to movies, visit with friends, practice reading, and all that stuff. I know a certain Auntie Cotton that we go for lunch with every Monday.

MV: Any other kids in the future?

Curtis: We thought about it a while ago, but Zoe is six now and by the time another baby would come along, the age gap would be too big. Also, our focus is on her and I think they broke the mold when she showed up.

MV: Any other smart-ass remarks?

Curtis: With all this serious talk, it’s hard to think, but I love you.