TNF: Tell me about your family.
Travis: My husband and I have two children, twins -a boy and a girl- who are 5 weeks old. We have a 6-year-old Bassett Hound mix named Sadie. I met my husband, Curtis, on March 13th 2007. He proposed Valentines Day 2009. We were married March 13th 2010 and then we had what we called a (re)wedding March 13th 2013 after Washington State voters upheld the state law legalizing full marriage equality.
We adopted Sadie from the Humane Society in 2008.
Our twins, Eleanor and Thomas, were born in November of 2013 after years of planning and preparing. We are so blessed and so thankful.
TNF: How did you meet your husband?
Travis: We met like many gay couples meet: online. I actually sent him a message on Gay.com (back when that was a thing) saying that I thought he was hot. We chatted over several months, but could never work out our schedules to meet in real life. So we both thought it likely wasn’t going to ever happen. Then by accident I went to a choir concert where a group that he sings with was performing and realized halfway through that the guy I was looking at on stage was the guy I had talked to, but never met, over the last few months online.
I went home and sent him a message saying I had seen the concert and that he was indeed hot and we should go out. By fate we both had the next evening open (March 13th) and so we met for sushi.
One funny story I often tell about our first date is about kids. I have always known I wanted children. But at the age of 29 still not having found someone to share my life with, I was convinced I’d be a single dad. So when I found this first date with Curtis going so incredibly well, I didn’t want to waste his time (or my time) by progressing any further if he wasn’t interested in kids someday too. So after dinner I told him I wanted to be a dad and if he didn’t want to be we probably didn’t need to order dessert.
We ordered dessert and we’ve been together ever since.
TNF: Do you feel different from other families?
Travis: We live in Seattle. We have a huge community of wonderful and accepting family and friends. We know families with two moms, two dads, a mom and a dad, just a mom and just a dad. We know families created through adoption, surrogacy, remarriage, and cohabitation. We care about our kids’ futures, their safety, and their happiness. We worry about the glorification of violence and the sexualization of everything in the larger culture. All the same things families of all kinds worry about. So on an everyday level we do not feel different.
But when we step back and we look at who we are and how we got here we do feel different. In college in the 90s I remember giving a speech about marriage equality and getting lots of great feedback from classmates and teachers. But no one really believed it would come to pass, at least not in our lifetime. Yet it has, thanks to hard work and sacrifice. It starts by being out to your friends and family members, then at work and in your neighborhoods. We did that. We have always ‘just been’ who we are. We changed hearts and minds day-in and day-out and that can be scary and exhausting. But so worth it.
But we didn’t stop there. When Domestic Partnerships went before lawmakers and then voters in Washington State we were vocal about what it would mean to us. We told people why and how it would protect our family. We literally marched in the streets.
When marriage equality made its way through the same process my husband gave money and we again told those around us why it mattered. I agreed to go on conservative talk radio and take calls live on the air to defend our marriage and tell our story in the hope that it would humanize the issue to those who might otherwise not believe they know a gay family.
Then the time, planning, and money that has gone into bringing our twins into our family has been a massive effort. I’ve often said that a couple of underage cousins somewhere in the backwoods can slip and get pregnant without intending to, but we moved heaven and earth to expand our family and somehow we are the ‘threat’ to the family unit?
No one can question the commitment we have to our children and to our family. No one can wonder about how deep our love goes. We were intentional about our family. We planned and we prepared. We faced setbacks and we fought on because we knew we wanted to be dads. Our love is no accident.
So in that sense we are different from many other families. I hope that we are able to help our children fully understand how we are the same as other families and how we are different. I hope that we are able to share with them the pride we feel at the struggles we have overcome and the battles we have fought to be a family. We live in an amazing time and I will always be grateful for that. I hope we are able to share that gratefulness with our children.
TNF: Is it challenging being a gay couple where you live? Do you feel accepted?
Travis: It is not tough being a gay couple here [in Seattle]. We are blessed to be surrounded by an incredible community willing to stand up and in an overwhelming majority at the ballot box affirm that our marriage and our family is equal. That’s an incredible feeling.
TNF: What has having a family meant to you?
Travis: It is all we have ever wanted.